Have You Played… Cook, Serve, Delicious?

I am going to regret reinstalling this. CURSE YOU RPS

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Cook, Serve, Delicious taps into the parts of my brain which are soothed by maxing out button press combos and also the parts which secretly think I would be brilliant at running a restaurant.

You, the restaurateur, must satisfy the demands of your customers, accepting and fulfilling food orders by pressing the appropriate letter and arrow keys at the right time and in the right order. The fact that each action or ingredient is boiled down to a key is peculiarly pleasing to me. Instead of trying to approximate the pleasure of real cooking, the letter pressing makes it clear that this is a game about the pleasure of pressing buttons.

Sometimes it throws you off – R is ranch dressing in a salad and then it’s parmesan in a lasagne recipe. The muscle memory confusion that created meant I bore a grudge against real-life lasagne for about a week. Also soup requires you to have like nine hands and superhuman reflexes.

Learning the recipes and keeping your customers happy means you’ll be earning more money and can upgrade your restaurant in various ways. Your end goal is to take the establishment from run-down diner to five star dining experience. Or master soup-making, obviously…

Ugh. Talking about it for this long has made me reinstall it. This can only end well for my workflow.

20 Comments

  1. Lagran says:

    50% off on Steam for the next 2 and a half hours, plus a new major update has been pushed for the beta branch. Adds in new challenges (both single and local multiplayer), engine and graphics changes. Think you’ve mastered the game? Let’s see how well you do in the never-ending Endurance mode.

    (Purchased straight on its release on Steam. Clocked in 26 hours. Lasagne was easy: pasta, sauce, [meat/veggies] cheese, parmesan. PS[M/V]CR. My bane is and always will be the soup and baked potatos, simply because of the sheer amount of variations of it.)

  2. phanatic62 says:

    This game has always looked super interesting to me, but it also looks like it would stress me the fuck out. Some pressure/stress in a game can be good, but I also don’t think I have the memory to make it very far.

    • Arkhonist says:

      I would argue the rounds are exactly the right length for them not to be too stressful.

    • Sucram says:

      It a good game to play in short bursts. Each round is quite well paced between normal service and ‘rush hours’ which are just short enough to be manageable.

  3. ThatParticularArgument says:

    It feels a bit like playing the piano when you are “in the zone”.

    • Frank says:

      I can’t play the piano, but that’s the same way I feel about the game. Good stuff. It’s surprising how rarely good games target psychological “flow”.

  4. Artificial says:

    Picked it up in a Steam sale a while back and I had a lot of fun with it. Got no where near completing it though. Love it when you’re nailing order after order, especially in rush hour. Gets pretty tricky with the more complex upgrades to the food though.

  5. Gargenville says:

    It was in a bundle a while back and I was expecting some flimsy line-up-three freemium mobile nonsense but it really delivers. It’s fun when it’s hectic but my favorite parts are the little lulls that happen sometimes where you’re just staring out the window and it starts to feel like such a real place after a while. You can almost smell your ill-conceived corndog breakfast special.

    edit: if this game could somehow pull a Euro Truck and fill the window with real-time webcam footage from a 32rd floor somewhere I’d be in heaven.

    also there’s a bug that makes the game run in slow motion that mainly seems to affect beefy nVidia desktop cards. It’s technically not unplayable on my desktop machine but it’s a pretty sedate experience to say the least.

  6. vorador says:

    The game looks like your typical casual game, but it requires some skill, specially when you’re popular and in rush hour things can get really hectic, and when you unlock latter recipes difficulty ramps up.

    My only pet peeve is some recipes are ridiculously complex. Soup haunts my nightmares.

    • Canadave says:

      Fucking soup, man. It just sits there in my recipes, never on the menu, because I’d rather be deep-frying chicken or slathering tomato sauce on noodles.

  7. Arathain says:

    Soup’s alright, I find. Not very many recipes, at least to start with. KWUYdowndowndown space or WUSTdowndowndownAdowndowndownYdowndowndown space. It’s a little time consuming is all. Now, pizza, or pasta, or baked potatoes, or nachos or any of those dishes with a dozen ingredients across two pages, most of which are the first letter, but not all! I find those much harder to learn.

    I love this game. I didn’t know I could love washing dishes in a game, but you can get so satisfyingly fast at that chore. I can have it done in three seconds or under.

  8. Jalan says:

    I have, thanks in part to all around awesome guy and the game’s composer Jonathan Geer.

  9. Person of Interest says:

    I’ve read some disagreement as to whether the authentic way to play this game is with a keyboard or with a gamepad. I tried 10 minutes with both, and the keyboard seemed much easier, almost unbalanced, since it didn’t need compound key presses or sometimes-button, sometimes-joystick decision making.

    Will I be cheating myself out of a challenge by not using a controller?

    • Frank says:

      It gets challenging even on a keyboard.

      • Person of Interest says:

        Thanks for the encouragement. I started a new game with keyboard, and after filling my menu with soups and such, rush hours are wonderfully intense.

    • Gargenville says:

      It’s like a completely different game on a controller because you trade the semi-intuitive approach where most ingredients are tied to their first letters for one where you have only 12 buttons but what they actually do is much harder to keep track of. Assuming the player has perfect memory the controller would likely dominate CS: D tournaments but in practice it’s way harder.

      In conclusion: play with a Guitar Hero controller or a dance mat.

  10. Fiyenyaa says:

    I love this game so very much. I went through a one-week period where it was basically all I played.
    Probably says more about me that I’d love for it have had much more detailed simmy aspects when it came to the running of your restaurant, but the package as it is still works amazingly well.

  11. iviv says:

    This is a fantastic game. Also, check out the game dev’s fantastic articles he wrote on gamasutra about the whole development, release and steam greenlighting of the game. It’s a really interesting insight into the game dev side of things:
    link to gamasutra.com
    (Link goes to the 5th article about it, as that links back to all the previous ones. I suggest starting from the first and going through, lots of interesting tidbits to be had!)

  12. Knurek says:

    Funnily enough, the game was shot down for distribution recently by GOG.com for being ‘too casual’.

  13. defunct says:

    I have about 19 hours in the game. I finally got up to 4 star, working on 5, and gave up. The game does ramp you up as you go along and you do get better, but I still found it a little extreme. Some recipes were effectively impossible for me (soup was already mentioned), so I wound up swapping out the same recipes over and over again. I couldn’t become the restaurant I wanted, because it was too insanely insane. Still, the almost 20 hours were almost fun.