The Nintendo Switch is fast becoming my go-to device for gaming. Each time a developer reveals a new game, I’m hoping for Switch support. Every other day, I’m making a mental list of HD remasters or ports of older games that I want to see on the Switch. Cave Story, for instance, fits in snugly on the Switch’s tablet, and I’ve played more of it here than I ever did on PC. Overcooked: Special Edition is the latest multiplayer game to hit Nintendo’s shiny new console and – surprise, surprise – it’s a perfect fit for it.
Overcooked isn’t a difficult game to explain. You take control of a chef, and you press two face buttons on your controller to move ingredients around and chop them up. It’s important to work with your partner chef because your food orders can pile up rather quickly, and you’ll need to stay on top of them at all times if you want to achieve the highest score possible. There’s a story here too; an evil spaghetti monster has invaded the Onion Kingdom, and the Onion King himself decides to send you back to 1993 so that you can improve your cooking skills in time to face down the evil threat. By ‘face down’ I really mean serving him enough food to keep him pacified.
While the game is playable by yourself, it’s pretty awful. Overcooked is meant to be experienced with a friend because that’s where the game’s appeal really starts to come through. Stages get even more hectic as you and your partner (or partners – the game supports up to four players) start shouting and insulting each other over who screwed up the order, or chopped up the wrong ingredients. Given the fact that you really only need an analog stick and two face buttons, it’s also an incredibly easy game for newcomers to jump into. This control scheme works very well for the Switch’s Joy-Cons, and playing through the game with friends using a single Joy-Con wasn’t that uncomfortable at all.
The real kicker is the fact that you can now take Overcooked with you anywhere you go. Over the past couple of days, I’ve enjoyed the game with my family by docking the Switch at home, and playing comfortable with the Pro controller. And I’ve also been taking the game with me to late supper gatherings, where many of my friends were easily enthralled by the sheer portability of the Switch, and the ease with which to get into a game like Overcooked. The Switch tablet may be small when you have it in handheld mode, but it certainly doesn’t diminish your enjoyment of the game – especially when everyone’s inner Gordon Ramsay persona starts to take over.
Overcooked: Special Edition also comes with two expansions: The Lost Morsel and Festive Seasoning. This means that there is a very large number of stages and challenges to partake in. And this isn’t even including the fantastic Versus mode where you and three other friends can split into teams of two, and see who serves up the most orders within a time limit. It’s very hectic fun, and a true test of your friendship and coordination skills.
Minor frame rate issues aside, I can see Overcooked easily becoming an icebreaker game of sorts when you’re traveling alone on a plane or a long train ride, much like Mario Kart was when it launched on the Switch a couple months ago. If you’re into the idea of turning your own life into a 24/7 Switch commercial as you pass your Joy-Cons around the dinner table, this is a game you definitely need in your library.
Overcooked: Special Edition is now available on the Nintendo Switch eShop.