Ghost Town Games' culinary co-op concoction finally has a sequel. Does Overcooked 2 provide a fabulous fine-dining experience?
Considering I already reviewed the original Overcooked (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and the fact that this sequel presents basically the exact same core gameplay, I won't go into too much detail about the essentials. So, if you're completely unfamiliar with Overcooked then please read my review of the original Overcooked before reading any further so you can understand the fundamentals of this wacky co-op game. With that out of the way, I'm glad to say that Overcooked 2 provides familiar fun for up to four simultaneous players. Discussing strategies and dividing up tasks while making dishes as fast and efficiently as possible is great fun. The graphics are similar, too, although things are more detailed and visually appealing this time around. Overall, it's familiar stuff for anyone who already enjoyed the first game.
Overcooked 2 features some new mechanics in the form of dynamic stages and the ability to throw ingredients. First of all, these new elements add a welcome layer of complexity to the gameplay. There's something oddly satisfying about throwing chopped potatoes over a gap only to have them land directly in the fryer. On the other hand, accidentally tossing them in the garbage or having them fall down to the abyss below will make you feel like smashing your controller. The same could be said about the dynamic stages. It's awesome to see levels shift from one style to another but that spectacle is much more enjoyable for someone watching you play as opposed to the folks who are actually trying to get the dishes prepared. However, I have to give the devs credit for at least trying new things.
Even though the new mechanics can be both enjoyable and irritating, there's no denying that the stage designs themselves are much more frustrating than they were in the original game. Whereas the first game had you trying to optimize your efficiency as a team, Overcooked 2 throws ridiculous curveballs at you that'll have you fighting with the various stage designs themselves. This is a huge shift in focus and occasionally turns what made the original special into an irritating mess of a game. Having to wait around for things to happen or watching stuff get stuck in places where you can't reach is annoying to say the least, even if it's temporary. After all, the gameplay is all about acting quickly, right? To make things even less rewarding, the score thresholds to earn stars are quite low which is presumably to make up for the frustrating stage designs but getting 3 stars when you performed terribly simply never feels right.
Overcooked 2 also includes online multiplayer as well as new recipes and chefs. It's great to be able to enjoy the chaos online with friends but playing in the same room will always be much more fun as communicating online just doesn't offer the same sense of comradery. I liked cycling through the unlockable chefs and picking my favourite and there are a lot to choose from but my chef of choice was never selected by default as it assigns a random chef every time you boot up the game which is weird.
In the end, I don't mean to sound too negative about Overcooked 2 because it does provide a fantastic amount of cooperative fun but after playing the phenomenal original, I can easily say that this sequel isn't quite what fans like me expected.
The original Overcooked is a cooperative masterpiece and this sequel simply tried a little too hard. It's still enjoyable but the frustrating stage designs and easy scoring system make for a far less satisfying meal.
- + Fun and familiar cooperative gameplay
- + New gameplay mechanics add welcome complexity to the established formula
- + Online play is a cool addition
- - Stage designs can be downright irritating
- - Some mechanics make the gameplay too cumbersome and counterintuitive
- - Scoring system is too forgiving