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.