Overcooked

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Couch co-op games aren’t as common as they used to be. These days, if you want to play a game with someone, typically they will need their own console or computer as well as their own copy of the game itself. This is pretty different from generations past where all you needed was for your buddy to get their butt over to your couch and for you to have one extra controller, usually a third-party one with buttons in weird places. Your friend always got that one. Anyway, despite that being the norm today, some developers still believe that couch co-op is the way to play. Today’s game is Overcooked, developed by Ghost Town Games and released on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2016.

Overcooked can be played single-player but it’s intended to be played with up to three friends locally. There is no online multiplayer in Overcooked. The story begins with a hungry monster rampaging through the kingdom while you and your friends desperately try to make salads fast enough to satiate the beast’s endless appetite but to no avail. The monster destroys the kingdom but not before the wise and powerful Onion King tells you that you must become the greatest chefs in the world and sends you back in time, giving you the chance to practice your skills and eventually challenge the beast again.

The plot is goofy and ridiculous but fits perfectly with the tone of Overcooked. This is not a serious cooking simulator. Instead, it’s more of a chaotic arcade game where players must work together to find a rhythm and try to serve as many dishes as they can within the time limit. Each level gives you 4 minutes on the clock and usually has you make one or two dishes at most but each having some potential for variation. You and your friends are plopped in an insane kitchen and told to fulfill customers orders at the top left of the screen, which come in frequently and must be completed or points will be lost.

Assembling a meal is simple. For example, a burger requires that someone grab beef, put it in a pan and put it on the stove. Meanwhile, they get a plate, put a bun on it and perhaps lettuce and tomato, if the order wants it. When the meat is done, put that on the plate and serve. Easy. What’s hard is managing multiple orders at once with four players in the most ridiculous kitchens imaginable. Kitchens can look like any insane thing the developers thought up such as a kitchen split in two across two speeding trucks or being on a pirate ship that rocks back and forth, sliding your equipment all over the deck. Managing the chaos is the only way to get a high score and getting the maximum 3 star ranking. Earning stars throughout the levels unlocks more levels and allows you to progress through the game and eventually face off against the monster once more. 

Overcooked’s unique brand of managed chaos quickly earned it a cult following. The game’s reviews were mostly positive with critics, although single-player is noted as being decidedly less fun, but it was a big hit with fans. Overcooked became a popular video for Let’s Players on YouTube as it’s funny to watch or play. Ghost Town Games released a couple of DLC packs for Overcooked and has since released Overcooked 2 on all major platforms.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.