“Tomato, tomato, tomato!!!”
“GET ME A PLATE!”
“Goddamn it, the oven exploded!”
Anyone passing by my door while playing Overcooked likely was either incredibly confused or concerned by the screams coming from my side of the door. After all, a friend and I were aggressively preparing various dishes, and without communication (read: screaming) there would be no way we could make the foods fast enough to finish the levels well. If screaming “sausage” across the room was what it took to finish strong, so be it.
Overcooked is a Cooking Mama-like game where the goal is to prepare dishes quickly for hungry customers. The game is best played with two people, where both players must collaborate and multitask in order to perform well. For example, I might be responsible for cutting vegetables, while my partner would have to get the vegetables and bring them to me. Essentially, the levels would be designed so that each player would have specific tasks to perform and neither could wholly complete dishes on their own.
Overcooked isn’t all about communication and reaction skills, however. Each map has a unique design and layout, often requiring a level of ingenuity and brainstorming to complete with a good score. Some levels may have a barrier separating the two players, while other levels might have moving and shifting pieces. Part of Overcooked came down to a science. Not only were my friend and I fine-tuning our execution of each level, but we were conducting recon and actively testing out new strategies on how we could get more productive.
Due to the diverse skillset required for Overcooked, and the cooperative communication skills that it espoused, the game became one of the most fun cooperative experiences I’ve had in a long time. The first time I played Overcooked just to try it out turned into a 5-hour gaming session with a friend of mine.
Overcooked: Special Edition on Switch has the base game, which includes a campaign and a competitive mode, and two more challenging DLC packs included. There’s definitely more than enough content to justify the price, and its simple style and music is endearing rather than cheap.
Unfortunately, although Overcooked shines as a cooperative title, it is a tough game to recommend for those looking for a single-player experience. Without the cooperative element, Overcooked becomes far less special; my cooperative experiences with the game were defining of the entire experience. Going back to play Overcooked alone after playing with a friend was not only a lot more difficult and weird, but just simply was not as exciting as playing through with a friend. It’s unfortunate that the game doesn’t feature online cooperative play and voice chat to go along with it. Given the title’s cooperative nature, I would have expected that an online multiplayer mode with voice chat could have worked well and been a great solution for single-player gamers.
Overcooked: Special Edition is a spectacular downloadable title for Switch owners to play with their friends locally. I easily lost hours playing right next to a buddy on a couch, screaming obscenities and the names of food items. Anyone looking for a fun party game or a fun cooperative Switch experience should pick up Overcooked immediately. Unfortunately, the exciting nature of the game will wear off for those who don’t have others to play with, which should surely be a consideration for anyone thinking of picking the game up.