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3DS Download: Order Up!!
Started by rayword45
(2012-12-15 02:51:52)
rayword45 (2012-12-15 02:51:52)

Cooking games haven't exactly been a rarity on Nintendo consoles. We have had Personal Trainer: Cooking on DS, less a game moreso than an interactive cookbook, and we had Food Network: Cook or be Cooked and Hell's Kitchen on Wii. Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam made it to both WiiWare and DSiWare, and most famous of all we've had the Cooking Mama series on all Nintendo consoles DS beyond thus far. Notably, these games seem to suffer from low production values, as all range on review average sites from mediocre to poor to hideously atrocious. Those who search for a quality cooking game look no further as Order Up!! is a prime example of what a cooking game should look like.

Released on the 3DS as a retail title in PAL regions, the games premise is a mixture of Cooking Mama and Diner Dash. You prepare simplistic (4 or less steps) recipes, hire help, serve patrons (up to 4 per table), purchase specials and spices, improve your restaurant and finish off by pleasing the local food critic. Amongst those just listed are several other things to do and a good amount of mini-games.

The main part of the game, preparing food, is controlled via the touch screen, while scrolling through your kitchen is done with either the D-Pad or the Face Buttons. One of the major features of the game is time management, which is why navigating is a crucial aspect. In order to do things quickly to keep the customers happy and to ensure the food is hot, you must prepare several things at the same time. It's even more important when serving multiple customers, as leaving a completed dish out too long results in cold food and thus a lower tip. The controls may feel clunky at first, but are incredibly quick to warm up to and prove to be very intuitive.

The main goal of each level (excluding the final level and the tutorial) is to get a 5-star rating, completed by (in order listed) unlocking all recipes, purchasing an upgrade to clean the restaurant, purchasing half of the chef's specials, reaching a set coin goal, and lastly impressing the food critic. Along with the main game, there are several mini-games such as washing dishes for a health inspection, chopping peppers and slicing carrots to impress the spice market owner, and catching flying newspaper pages. These mini-games are all one minute or under, and while not all are very engaging, they do add a bit of variety and prevent the game from becoming too repetitive.

The game features a cartoon-like art-style, with vibrant colors, unique character design and great-looking food. The 3D effect isn't bad per say, but adds very little to the experience. While the art style may be off-putting to some, the game still looks fairly nice as a whole. The soundtrack fits the level you're playing at the time like an actual restaurant, and isn't particularly memorable. However, to make up for the boring music, there is a lot of dialogue. Patrons, assistant chefs and other characters all have distinctive personalities, and represent that through speech. A lot of the characters are based on stereotypes, but for the most part they're fairly mild and the game's humor is able to shine through without offending. The humor is one of the high points of the game, as it remains balanced throughout the game, without being too sparse nor overly abundant, and remains fairly clever throughout the game.

The game is not without its flaws, however. There are some moderate technical issues in the game, as loading times can be fairly long (around 15 seconds), doing too many things at once can lead to some minor framerate issues, character models occasionally stand still when going back to old restaurants, and players have noted the occasional dead pixel. None of these are glaringly bad, but are noticeable nonetheless. The game is also remarkably easy, as none of the goals nor the final level are hard to complete. A harder difficulty would've fixed this easily. The difficulty of the game also seems to shorten the game's length. Each restaurant takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete, so the whole experience lasts only about 5-8 hours. While not a bad length considering the price, it does definitely feel as if another level or two would increase the game's longevity before feeling like a grind.

When considering the game's origins as a retail title, the pricing is low, the gameplay is engaging, the production values are great and there's a lot to do. The game is a bit on the short side, and it does feel underwhelmingly easy at times, but overall it's well worth the asking price and currently one of the best eShop titles available. If all cooking sims were like this, perhaps the genre wouldn't be mocked as a crap haven.

SCORE BREAKDOWN (Not an average):

Graphics: 7/10 The style is well done, but some technical issues lower this and it may be off-putting to some.

Sound: 9/10 The music isn't particularly memorable, but there is a lot of dialogue of which all is entertaining and done well.

Gameplay: 9/10 A fine example of what a cooking sim should be like. Engaging, addictive, and well-controlled.

Difficulty: 6/10 The game feels underwhelmingly easy as a whole, which could've been easily fixed with difficulty selection.

Lasting Appeal: 8/10 For the pricing, there is a pretty decent amount of content, but overall the game feels a bit on the short side.

Order Up!! gets a 8/10

This post has been edited one or more times, the last time was:
2012-12-15 02:52:13

rayword45 (2012-12-15 02:53:12)
Any Paint regulars should note that this is just to fill my own self-quota though there are some changes (just like Madden). Expect another review soon, this one with a bit more effort.
pikarceus (2012-12-15 17:58:12)
Not a huge fan of cooking games but this one does look pretty decent.

@Man-"Don't need pictures for a good review?"

Please, don't tempt me.
TetrisDude335 (2012-12-15 22:55:44)
Not sure why it still gets in, assuming none of us know him, but whatever.
rayword45 (2012-12-15 23:58:09)
Because I talked with Robdeprop around a year ago, and he liked my writing enough to give me a job. Just I (and I assume he) forgot about it for about a year.
rayword45 (2012-12-18 01:33:27)
I normally add images, I just got lazy this time around.

And I've pretty comfortable with this style. I like having it sound very coherent without being broken up into direct sections.
THaT1GuY9001 (2012-12-25 05:03:46)
Dayum. I got the demo. It sucked.

I'll get it now.
NINTENDO64 (2013-01-05 01:17:03)
I downloaded the demo, it's ok. I'd give it a 6/10
"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"
-Steve Jobs

ChampionLeake (2014-08-18 13:55:46)
Cooking Mama is better than this.
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