Overcooked 2 finds you returning to the Onion Kingdom, once again teaming up with friends to save it in restaurant themed challenges. You and up to three others play as chefs, preparing and cooking dishes to complete an ever increasing pile of orders. This becomes more complicated with dishes to wash, more complex dishes, mixtures of different food and kitchen designs that segment game play. With an emphasis on multiplayer, it adds a co-operative flavour to the indie-atmosphere on Switch. As well as Switch it’s available for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.
Overcooked 2 sticks to the formula of the first title, but takes each gameplay idea and mechanic up a few notches. Kitchens have become even more inventive and hard to traverse. The food choices are vastly increased, giving a greater variety of challenges. The developers at Ghost Town Games have also added online based multiplayer and made changes to the single player, to varying degrees of success. This makes it a vastly improved package, but one that sometimes feels more like DLC than a brand new title.
New Kitchens and Throwing
The kitchens in Overcooked 2 grow increasingly elaborate. Compared with the first game, there is a much steeper difficulty curve and you won’t get as many early softball levels. These new kitchens are incredibly varied, including inventive new types of divisions between areas and fresh obstacles.
There is a new mechanic in the ability to throw items across the level, rather than running across and dropping them. This speeds up the gameplay up by letting you spend less time travelling, but doesn’t make it much easier. Hazards and layouts in each Kitchen are designed with this in mind. Sections of many levels are completely unconnected, making throwing food the only option.
Teleportation, conveyor belts and a hot air balloon crash also feature. Challenges caused by creative kitchen design have been seriously stepped up. The creativity in most of these is impressive, and the harder difficulty curve makes replaying levels to figure out a specific strategy a necessity.
The Cooking and Controls
Overcooked 2 features 9 different types of food to prepare. Most of the main dishes from the first Overcooked return. Some have been extended, like adding cheese to the burgers. Soup has been done away with. This isn’t much of a loss. Soup quickly became boring (Incidents like this aside) and isn’t necessary with the new additions. The new recipes that have been added will vary in difficulty, but are all wide enough in scope to freshen up the gameplay.
A lot of the core cooking will feel familiar as iterations on the previous formula. Your’ll still find new tools, like blenders, which are utilised well. However, with the more complicated ingredients and kitchens the controls can sometimes become a frustration.
The lack of percussion in picking up and placing objects was occasionally frustrating before. With more complicated kitchens and cooking it has become a bit of a problem. Imprecise presses and lining up objects to place can waste a lot of time and begin to feel like your fighting the controls as much as the clock. Elements like dashing into other players still work great, and for the most part throwing is precise.
Game Modes and Online Play
A big feature introduced is the ability to play online, either with friends or in public lobbies with anyone on the same system. This presents a challenge as the entire game rests on communication. Its hard to figure out how players are approaching the levels without the ability to talk. You have access to limited emotes in online play. These are a little tricky to use, and it can be difficult to get other players to notice them with the fast gameplay.
This makes playing with random online players a gamble. Maybe you’ll all fall into the roles you need and work well. Maybe you’ll bump into each other trying to cut the same piece of fish for one order, grabbing the same ingredient over and over again while everything else falls apart.
Lag can be difficult if your internet connection isn’t fantastic. The already fiddly controls can make the slightest lag quite damaging. Playing online can become frustrating, while it’s a fun inclusion is far from the best way to experience the game.
Throwing of ingredients has made the solo mode in Overcooked 2 less annoying. You use a button to switch between the chefs in the kitchen. You can even set one to chop ingredients while you do something else. Throwing gives you more opportunities to actually switch between chiefs in positions, rather than running around doing everything yourself.
Adding online play for the versus mode is a great inclusion. If you’ve been playing co-operatively you can test your ability with other groups of players. In arcade mode you can play stages and challenges outside of the main story. This seems a little unnecessary but makes pick up and play multiplayer easier.
- Fun simple gameplay
- Great multiplayer experience
- Great variety of stages and recipes
- Difficult online multiplayer
- No cross play
- Imprecise controls
Overcooked 2 can sometimes feel like a development of the first game rather than a fully fledged sequel. It does extend the familiar gameplay to its logical conclusion and adds an awful lot. Other areas like the controls and the online play are more difficult. The controls remain as fragile as ever and with increasingly complicated stages this becomes more annoying. The online play is difficult and really just reflects that this style of game is not the best for playing remotely. If you can get people together to play local multiplayer, its definitely the way to go. It still provide a lot of fun, and is one of the best local co-op titles of the year.