August 2016 brought about one of the most interesting and unique games we’d seen in quite some time. Developer Ghost Town Games brought Overcooked to the table — a delightfully entertaining take on the frantic chaos of cooking in a kitchen, with a helping of local co-op to sweeten the deal. The result? Many a game night ending with screams of “I NEED ANOTHER LETTUCE DAMMIT!” and “WHY WON’T YOU WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE FOR YOUR SOUP?!” Alas, for all of the incredible, albeit heated, co-op fun that Overcooked packed into its many bite-sized stages, there was one very clear drawback – where was the online co-op multiplayer option? Well, Overcooked 2 looks set to bring another helping of culinary co-op fun when it releases in August, and I don’t think you need three guesses of what’s included this time around.
After spending some hands-on time with a preview build of Overcooked 2, there’s one thing that’s immediately noticeable upon loading up a level. Ghost Town Games hasn’t gone about changing up the core fundamentals too much. You’re still trying to cook all manner of recipes with the help of your friends in kitchens that, let’s be real, are far from practical. To keep things fresh (we’ll try and stop with the food-related puns soon, we promise), a few new mechanics have been tossed into the mix (that’s the last). As if the chaos of four people blindly dashing around a kitchen wasn’t enough, you can now throw raw ingredients onto chopping boards or to your fellow chefs from afar. We had some issues with our chefs actually tossing ingredients to one another, but it was certainly a welcome mechanic thanks to the new dynamic element Overcooked 2 introduces to its levels.
In the handful we got to check out, we had one with a travelator that made general navigation of the kitchen that much more difficult. In another, a fire just kept setting sections of the kitchen on fire, requiring us to grab a fire extinguisher and put them out while midway through assembling an order, and another saw us literally fall from the sky and crash into a new restaurant, altering the layout of the kitchen, as well as the orders we had to cook altogether.
Considering a large part of finding success in Overcooked 2 comes down to communication and planning with your fellow chefs, having dynamic levels completely change things up on the fly as you cook can really throw a spanner in the works and I can’t wait to see what other nightmarish kitchens and scenarios Ghost Town Games has us cooking together in the full release this August.
With the throwing mechanics and new dynamic stages mixing up the gameplay enough to stop it from feeling too similar and repetitive, Overcooked 2’s final major new addition comes in the form of its online co-op. It’ll definitely enable more players to finish Overcooked 2 than its predecessor, as the more chefs you have alongside you, the easier it is, and by allowing us to play with friends and strangers online than just in local, there’s a whole lot more potential players out there to join you on your culinary quest. And that can only be a good thing for a game that shines brightest when played in co-op.
Suggesting that Overcooked 2 is merely more of the same may sound negative, but it’s quite the contrary. Overcooked was jam-packed with charm, unique ideas, and some incredibly compelling gameplay. To see this built upon further with exciting new dynamic stages, recipes, and mechanics should only be more reason for fans to get excited for its release come August. And now, at least if the inevitable shouting on your friend’s couch gets too much, you can go home and continue playing without the risk of a fight breaking out because you didn’t slice the tomato fast enough.
Overcooked 2 is heading to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on Aug. 7.