Have You Played… Overcooked?

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

Overcooked [official site] is a silly, funny, joyous game about cooperative cooking. Each player handles their own area of the kitchen, or works at specific tasks, and instructions or calls for help are passed back and forth as the orders pile up. And then the dirty dishes pile up, and somebody burns the soup, and then the counters slide across the room because the boat has hit rough waters, and why are we on a boat, and will you please stop burning the soup you are the worst chef ever and I hate you.

It’d be wrong to say Overcooked passed me by when it was first released, but I didn’t find the time to take it for a proper spin. That’s sometimes the case with local coop games, even ones that look immediately appealing, because I work at home and am alone most of the day. And even if I could play Overcooked with my dog (he struggles to use a controller), my girlfriend would be furious if I didn’t include her in a colourful cookery game.

When we did play Overcooked, there was fury and it was mostly directed at me. Behind the pleasant, silly surface there’s a ruthless game that demands smart communication amid utter chaos. These kitchens are complex creations, full of trickery and obstacles, ensuring that you can’t simply delegate jobs and stick to your own area.

My problem, as ever with this sort of thing, is that I maintain my composure to a degree that my team-mates find infuriating. I’m panicking on the inside but I figure the best way to cope is to calmly tell everyone what to do and how to do it. They’d much rather vent their spleens in my direction as I throw another plate of food on the floor while telling everyone precisely how we’re going to win this level with a perfect score.

A pinch of positivity can spoil the broth, it seems.

16 Comments

  1. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Yes, and I loved it, the most fun I’ve had with a single screen multiplayer in a long time. I love how every level seems so doable “Oh, easy, you stay on the right hand side, you just chop vegetables and I’ll serve and clean dishes” then you realise half way through the level that NO ONE WAS GRILLING THE MEAT! And everytime we found a rhythm as a team the next level would just throw our setup out the window. Most memorable levels are the icey fish and chip ones, the sight of a friend frantically trying to deliver chips to the otherwise ready plate only to slide off the iceberg into the briney deep never fails to leave us in fits of laughter. Great game!

    • Catachresis Rex says:

      The ice levels are great fun. I’m also a fan of the moving truck levels:

      “I can dash across that gap before the meat burns, no problem!”

      “Please go get the fire extinguisher while I respawn.”

      Most fun my wife and I have had playing co-op. Great game.

      • wraithgr says:

        Played this co-op with my wife as well. Most fun we’ve ever had with local co-op, indeed! Managed to 3-star all the levels eventually, although some took some doing…

    • Premium User Badge

      The Almighty Moo says:

      Slightly off topic but can I heartily recommend affordable space adventures on the (please don’t hiss at me) Wii U as a co op game to play with non gaming friends? Utterly charming and pitched at just the right level.

    • Provender says:

      +1 on the ice levels being the most fun. Playing with my 3 kids and it’s omfg out of the way no aaargh as I careen into the water with plateful of food.
      See also gang beasts.

  2. Ben King says:

    Yes, these levels were all unambiguously fun apart from a couple where attaining decent scores was dependent on getting a combination of lucky orders and lucky level layout (looking at YOU haunted kitchen level). The horror of a mis-timed dash into the lava with a completed order, or fumbling a fire extinguisher pass along a conveyor belt as half the kitchen is in flames is always memorable. Attaining psychic powers playing beside my GF while we wordlessly pull off a flawless hamburger order is pretty great. We blew through the entire game and it’s handful of small expansions in less than a week and we’re both pretty bummed when it was all over. My default character was always the wheelchair raccoon.

  3. cpt_freakout says:

    This game is amazing, I played it with two gamer friends and my non-gaming girlfriend and we had a really good time. I thoroughly recommend it even if your friends are not interested in videogames – it’s super easy to learn and the challenges are just right in terms of difficulty, in the sense that you don’t need Mega Man 2 reflexes or Dark Souls tactical thinking to overcome.

    The first level with rats was memorable and hilarious: I ended up on “rat duty” just moving around punching the damn rats and throwing back stolen vegetables to my teammates while they tried to coordinate everything else, but they also needed someone to grab and clean the dirty dishes so by the end of the level (which we got 3 stars on!) there were sliced veggies, plates, and rats all over the floor. Hygiene – 0, us – 1!!

  4. RetroMG says:

    It’s easily one of the most fun multiplayer games that I have ever played, and the fun increases exponentially the more players you have. However, it is not fun at all by yourself. (IMO, of course.)

  5. Synesthesia says:

    So nice to see all the love this game deservedly gets. This and helldivers are my absolute go-tos when I got friends over and we’re a bit too tipsy for a boardgame.

  6. draglikepull says:

    Excellent couch co-op game. I wish there were more games like it. My only complaint is that there aren’t enough levels (although given the game’s price point that’s a minor complaint).

  7. Jerppa says:

    This game is the most accurate depiction of Trump presidency I’ve ever seen.

  8. Neurotic says:

    I just bought a PS 4 last week, and Overcooked was one of the games I bought and downloaded from PSN. It is indeed brilliant fun. The kids do it together, and I provide a Gordon Ramsay-style commentary on their antics. We’re frequently in hysterics. :D

  9. mpk says:

    I’ve played a bit with my eight-year-old. We are not good at it.

    I, having once run a commercial kitchen, try to keep things organised and bark orders at him like I’m a head chef. He’s eight. He keeps trying to cool me down with the fire extinguisher.

    It’s brilliant.

  10. Gomer_Pyle says:

    My problem, as ever with this sort of thing, is that I maintain my composure to a degree that my team-mates find infuriating. I’m panicking on the inside but I figure the best way to cope is to calmly tell everyone what to do and how to do it.

    Sounds just like me.

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