Overcooked (PC) (2016)

Overview: A cooperative cooking game. Prepare orders as they arrive and serve them to earn points. Preparation includes chopping ingredients, cooking meat, and assembling the proper ingredients.

I recently saw Twitch streamer Dyrus playing this game and it looked like a lot of fun. In fact, it looked like so much fun that I purchased the game today after asking my wife if she would play it. Overall, I'd say our first run through the game was good and the main difficulties we had were not related to the game itself. First, we had gone swimming and the chlorine was still hurting her eyes a little. Second, she isn't an avid player and some of the levels require a finesse that more experienced gamers take for granted. Her fingers also get tired more quickly.

Making Onion Soup, Step 1: Grab an onion from the onion supply.

Steam Game Time: 101 minutes

[20180515][20181210 Edit]

Dates Unknown:
Ada and I eventually played more. We definitely played some on 20180517.

The game is actually quite difficult for someone not used to the controls. With that being said, the difficulty is not unreasonably high.

Steam Game Time: 7.3 hours (total game time)

Today I played with my friend Josh. We played from Level 1-1 to Level 3-3, moving most of them to three stars (though Level 3-2 was already three stars).

Making Onion Soup, Step 2: Chop the onion on the cutting board.

Still low (and before Level 3.3): Level 1-4 (2 stars), Level 2-2 (1 star)

Level 2-2 had these annoying rats. The level was particularly difficult be we had conflicting strategies; I proposed we each keep to our own side.

Steam Game Time: 9.7 hours (total game time)

[20181210 Edit]

Today I played more of the game with Ada.

We played up to Level 6-3, which was tough. We tried it a couple of times before taking a break and cook some food in the real world.

Making Onion Soup, Step 3: Throw the onion into the pot.

By this point, Ada was getting the hang of it and together we were achieving three stars on many of the levels. In particular, she was mastering the art of moving across the tricky ice platforms.

Still low (but didn't play): Level 2-2 (1 star)
Still low:* Level 4-3 (1 star), Level 4-4 (2 stars), Level 5-1 (1 star), Level 5-4 (1 star), Level 6-2 (2 stars).

*As mentioned, we've played up to Level 6-3.

Steam Game Time: 12.1 hours (total game time)

I played Level 5-1 by myself and got 2 stars.

Steam Game Time: 12.4 hours (total game time)

Making Tomato Soup, Step 4: Wait for the tomato to finish.

[20181210 Edit]

Date Unknown:
Today Ada and I managed to achieve three stars on several levels, including Level 2-2 (the rat level), and were able to reach the boss level (Level !!!).

Still low (but didn't play): Level 4-3 (1 star), Level 4-4 (2 stars), Level 5-1 (2 star), Level 5-4 (1 star)
Still low: Level 6-3 (1 star), Level 6-4 (1 star), Level !!! (0 stars)

Speaking of the boss level, after several tries it looked like we were on track to succeed. However, somehow we failed and the level reset. While I was so focused on preparing the food, I thought there was still time on the clock. Or maybe there's a limit on the number of failed orders? [20181210: After some searching, I learned that the level will restart when the timer runs down and there are still orders left to fill (the developer replied to someone with a similar question.]

Making Soup, Warning! Don't let it burn!
Or else it'll catch fire...
Quick! Get the fire extinguisher!
Or else it'll spread!

Steam Game Time: 14.7 hours (total game time)

I've been going through and checking to see if I had any games I needed to blog and Overcooked was one of them. As such, I went into the game on my own; I normally play with my wife, but she had to go to work.

Setup: Single player. Keyboard. It took a while for me to determine the keyboard controls. Besides the obvious movement (WASD or arrow keys) and Space for action, it's Shift to switch character and Left Alt to dash.

I started off tackling Level 4-3. However, it was hard and I decided to take some notes:
Start: inner / outer
: Gameplan: L cut meat ; R get bread to counter, R get meat, switch ; L deliver meat to pan ; R cut meat ; L get lettuce ; R deliver meat to pan ; L cut lettuce | finish L on top left , R bottom right || need to add collecting bread at top center counter

Level 4-3. Parts of the level will move around.

Next Phase: top + right edge / bottom + left edge
: Gameplan: L finishing lettuce; R collects ingredients for (meat + bun) burger at center right; L collects
Next Phase: left / right
Next Phase: left / right
Next Phase: top + right edge / bottom + left edge
Next Phase: left / right
Next Phase: inner / outer
Next Phase: top + right edge / bottom + left edge
Timer out.

After many attempts, I decided to pause the game frequently and think about what I needed to focus on next. Together with the help of my notes above, I managed to get three stars on it (114 points).

Making a Hamburger, Step 5: Put it on a plate and serve it. 

I didn't need as much planning for Level 4-4, but after several attempts, I did need to pause the game frequently. During my attempts, I focused on making small improvements and getting used to what ingredients were usually needed (e.g., dough, cheese, meat, and tomatoes; especially tomatoes because they're used in every pizzas and some burgers).

After successfully getting three stars for Level 4-4, I tried playing Level 5-1. I believe I was on the right path: focus on the meat. However, after many restarts and one complete round (on which I scored 112), I didn't feel like playing more.

On a positive note, today we managed to get three stars on Level 6-4. Hooray!

Still low (but didn't play): Level 6-3 (1 star),
Still low: Level 5-1 (2 star), Level 5-4 (1 star), Level !!! (0 stars)

Steam Game Time: 2.3 hours (session game time)

Today Ada and I played various levels. In particular, we spent a couple tries with the boss. However, our skills were rusty as we slowly tried to optimize the first two rounds (soup followed by burgers) and was barely relearning the third part (pizzas & fried foods). For the first two rounds, we did better with me on the left during the first round and then the right during the second round.

In any case, we decided to take a break after reaching and losing the third round for a second time. Playing some other levels, we last tried to tackle Level 5-1 and I tried to improve on simply alternating, but none of the ideas worked.

Still low (but didn't play): Level 5-4 (1 star), Level 6-3 (1 star), Level 6-4 (1 star), Level !!! (0 stars)
Still low: Level 5-1 (2 star)

Steam Game Time: 2.9 hours (session game time) / 19.9 hours (total game time)

20181213 AM Hours:
I went in to see what levels we tackled today and while I was at it took a crack at Level 5-1. I was very close to getting three stars. I then realized that the number of points required was lower than when playing as two players.

Steam Game Time: 0.4 hours (session game time)

Cooking, Step 6: Wash the dishes.

+ Easy to learn, even for non-gamers
+ Fun, even for non-gamers
+ One of the best co-op games available
+ Many controller options, including split controller for putting two players on one controller

~ The graphics for controls on the keyboard seem incomplete. (They are listed above.)

Minor Con:
- Playing this game with one player is possible but not nearly as great as with two (I've yet to play it with three/four)

Making hamburgers and pizzas.

Comparison (of Co-op Experience):
How the co-op experience compares to some of the best co-op games I've played:
Adventures of Shuggy (2012) / ibb & obb (2014): Limited to two players and more suited for those with some familiarity with platformers. Overcooked has up to four.
Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator (2012): This game can accommodate many players (3-6 per ship) but the set-up requires at least one device per person (tablet, laptop, computer) and coordination. Overcooked requires two input devices (e.g., one keyboard and one controller) and you're set for four people.
Dungeon Defenders (2011) / Left 4 Dead 2 (2009): Allows for online play (although each person needs a copy of the game) and each level (especially with L4D2) is longer. Overcooked is limited to local co-op and levels are around three minutes each.
Jamestown (2011): Very easy to get up to four people playing this shooter. Overclocked is a completely different genre and is arguably more accessible to casual gamers (defined here as persons who don't often or rarely play video games).
Trine / Trine 2 (2011): Up to three players, great visuals, and advanced mechanics.

Advanced Teamwork: Two chefs, one onion.
Advanced Teamwork: Two chefs, one lettuce.

I love co-op games and Overcooked is one of the best co-op games I've ever played. Among the various comparisons I made to other co-op games, the strengths of Overcooked include the simple setup and the game's accessibility to casual gamers. That's not to say, however, that the game is free of argument and frustration. Of course, if that occurs, just take a nice break or play another level.

Overcooked (PC) (2016)

Relevant Links:
Overcooked Page (Ghost Town Games Website)
Overcooked (Wikipedia.org)
Overcooked! (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Overcooked (Steam Store Page)

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