There have been several times in my life where I have been convinced to purchase video games thanks to the lovely people at Penny Arcade. When I wasn’t sure about getting Prototype, I was informed that you could do a karate kick on a helicopter, and that was all I needed. When I didn’t know what Dokapon Kingdom was, they informed me it was Monopoly set in a fantasy world where players can murder each other—it became a must-own. And when I had only seen cursory glances of Ghost Town Games’ Overcooked, Penny Arcade assured me it was a game worth owning.
I had pretty high hopes when I grabbed a buddy to play Overcooked, despite not really knowing what to expect. What we got was a chaotically fun, sort-of-cooking game that tested the limits of our coordination and our friendship.
Now I won’t get too deep into reviewing Overcooked since CGM’s Jed Witaker already wrote a solid review for it, and the Nintendo Switch version is largely the same. Much like my Jackbox Party Pack 3 review, this is really more a case for the console than the game. The game sets the bar for ridiculousness pretty high as it begins at the end of the world, with a large onion man instructing you in the culinary arts as a giant spaghetti monster known as “The Ever Peckish” awakens to devour the world. But before it can, you are sent back in time to serve hungry customers in different restaurants around the world and throughout time; honing your skills to take on The Ever Peckish once and for all. It’s a hilarious and charming story, and it does its duty in creating a context for the game proper. However, it serves more as a garnish to the main course that is Overcooked’s gameplay.
Four chefs must co-operate in the kitchen to prepare ingredients, assemble food, serve orders on time and wash the returning dishes. While this sounds simple in concept, the game finds ever more elaborate ways to test your skills as kitchens become increasingly sophisticated. From cooking on a pirate ship as the waves shift the layout, too tight corridors where players are destined to bump into or impede each other in the heat of the moment, and even one kitchen where rats began stealing ingredients off the table which, for whatever reason, caused my friend and me to completely break down into hysterics.
The game is consistently fast-paced, and its simple controls make it easy for anyone to dive into. The only downside to this is that it is, at its core, a multiplayer game, and while you can play alone—shifting control between two chefs—this is mainly a test in futility. This is probably what suits Overcooked best to a console like the Nintendo Switch, given the system’s couch co-op design, ease of portability, and multiplayer capability.
Sound and visual design in Overcooked are minimalist and charming with adorable chibi style chefs running frantically around, and some pretty great character skins like a cat, a dinosaur and even a robot! While there isn’t a lot in the way of music, the main “kitchen theme” does create a frenetic pace while maintaining the jovial tone.
Being a special edition, Overcooked on the Switch comes packed with all the DLC including “Festive Seasoning” and “Lost Morsel”, both of which add new campaign levels, new kitchens, and new chef skins. However, while the game is still fairly solid, there are some technical hiccups on the Nintendo Switch version.
Framerate issues have been reported, however, I never experienced anything too jarring, and there are also reports of odd Joy-Con rumble issues where players will feel the actions of another player—causing a bit of confusion. I’m not entirely sure if this was an error, or perhaps a way of physically keeping other players aware of the actions of players on chopping duty. Thankfully, the Team17 devs have been working on a patch to address the issues.
In spite of these minor issues, Overcooked remains a fantastic game that is sure to deliver one heck of a good time, or at the very least help you drop a few of those “friends” you’ve been looking to cut out of your life. It’s a solid game that is only made better thanks to the Nintendo Switch’s unique design and is a must-have in the system’s growing library of portable party games.