Overcooked! All You Can Eat – Review
It’s time to enjoy two of the best co-op games ever made… again. Overcooked! All You Can Eat combines the first and second games together into a “remastered” pack on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, but it feels a bit like warming up leftovers.
If you’ve never played this series before and have somebody to play it with, disregard any negativity in the coming 900 or so words. They are fantastic fun and you’ll get an awful lot out of it.
But fans of the franchise beware – you’ll just be buying games you’ve already bought and that are already totally playable on your next-gen console.
Back in the Kitchen
Overcooked is wonderfully simple. A list of recipes will appear in the top left corner of the screen, and you must prep the meals and get them to customers before time runs out. Do them quickly and in order and you’ll get bonuses in the form tips. Get enough points and you’ll be rewarded with the coveted “three stars”.
Grab ingredients, slice them, fry them, plate it up. Repeat with slight variations over, in this case, hundreds of levels. It’s addictive, and great fun as a couple. I should imagine it’d be even more fun with a couple of kids.
Honestly, it’s about as close to the manic feeling working in a restaurant as you can get in a video game. Everything is so very immediate. If you work well with your partner(s), you can race through a ‘shift’ with no problem. Start making mistakes, and everything could fall apart.
This is made more difficult by dynamic levels that actively work to block your progress. Maybe that staircase disappears, or the bridge connecting the ingredients section to the oven just sinks into lava. It’s a health and safety nightmare, but who cares so long as food is delivered on time?
This pack contains the original game, its sequel and an absolute mountain of DLC, so there’s plenty of content here to get your teeth into.
Not so fresh
All You Can Eat is another game that falls into the “do we need remasters?” debate we’ve spoken about a few times over the last few months. Unlike Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, which was a victim of bad timing, Overcooked is more a compilation than a remaster.
It has improved 4k visuals and 60fps, online multiplayer for the original game and seven new levels. The online multiplayer has been added by rebuilding the original game in the Overcooked 2 engine, which sounds like a massive undertaking. It’s nice that everything’s uniform now, but as a player I didn’t necessarily see any direct benefit from it. If you play online multiplayer, you obviously will.
But however you slice it, this is the same content packaged up in a new way. Almost every level is perfectly playable on Series X and PS5. The visual jump, while nice, isn’t so major to warrant buying the new release if you have the originals and the 60fps thing wouldn’t have felt out of place as a patch.
It would be impossible for me to recommend this pack to anybody who has played the titles before, and certainly not at full price. There are better uses of £40.
There’s also an easier mode for younger or less experienced cooks and a host of accessibility additions, including dyslexia and colourblind options. It’s fantastic that these long-requested modes have made it to players, although it’s disappointing they will have to pay for the new set if they want the priviledge.
All of this is bad enough, but it’s also highly subjective. Some people will be very happy to shell out their cash in support of a developer that has made two very good co-op games, and all the more power to you if that’s what you intend to do. Overcooked is incredible and if the cost of getting more Overcooked is to re-release the old content over and over again, that is a price worth paying.
There are a few more objective issues. We came across quite a few glitches as we played, although nothing too gamebreaking. Occasionally we’d get somewhere we weren’t quite sure we should be – stuck in a table or somethig like that. It’d screw up our rhythm a bit, but it would soon sort itself out.
The accounts situation on Xbox Series X, however, is infuriating. My wife and I couldn’t log into our own accounts, else the game would throw a wobbly. If we both logged into just one account, with one of us as a guest, we could play. But if you earned an achievement at any point during your time in the game, it would ask you to rechoose your account. This not only put you off your rhythm, but on more than one occasion had us accidentally logging into the wrong profile and being kicked to the main menu. It’s more frustrating than it needs to be.
Lost in Plates
But none of this takes away from what is, at its core, an incredible base experience. The original Overcooked is still a joy to play, and its successor is a good attempt at building on that foundation. Any issues I might have with the way All You Can Eat has been pulled together cannot take away from that. It’s a bit like that Super Mario collection – I wish they’d done more, but that doesn’t mean these games are bad because of it.
The beauty of Overcooked is in its simplicity. Concepts are introduced slowly, but surely. Difficulty is ramped up in a way that feels fair. Recipes are different enough that, even with repetition, it doesn’t get boring. You’ll laugh and, yes, you’ll definitely cry. Maybe while chopping onions.
Graphically it’s nice and clean, and I love the style they’ve gone for. The chubby little characters are adorable, which is great news because there’s so many of them now. This set features a whole host of characters to choose from which, while not having any impact on gameplay, does let you flaunt your originality a little bit.
The second Overcooked is perhaps a little easy. You’ll feel you’re struggling before realising you’ve doubled the top score mark. This is made up for with the DLC, which by and large seems a more difficult affair, and with a “four star” mode which adds an additional score target once you’ve finished the game.
Faster loading is a godsend for this sort of game, and means only the occasional achievement will be impeding your progress. That’s the true hidden hero of this re-release. The original games could be a bit slow, and you don’t realise what a difference that makes until you’ve experienced it without staring at loading screens.
Overcooked! All you Can Eat Review – Conclusion
I can only reiterate: if you’ve never played this game before, this is the set for you. Grab your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, children, friends – whoever you have to. This is what co-op gaming is supposed to be.
But be cautious. Players already familiar with both games may be better off sticking to backwards compatibility. That is until a sizeable price drop.
With that said, it’s hard not to appreciate the things the developers have brought to this set. Multiplayer in Overcooked 1 has been long requested. Colour blind options have been long requested. These are things that can make or break these titles for some people.
It’s not the perfect recipe but when you’ve got the best ingrediants, what you’ve got is always going to be good.