Review: Overcooked 2

Much has been said about the demise of local multiplayer. As gamers move from the bedroom to online local multiplayer games have become less common, but amidst this some developers have created truly fantastic and innovative local multiplayer games. Nintendo of course has created many themselves, but titles such as Towerfall Ascension, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and Sportsfriends have all shown there’s still life in local multiplayer games.

Overcooked was praised for its ability to bring friends together and make them all turn into Gordon Ramsay at his most irate. Overcooked 2 is a second serving of the high-pressure team-based action, turning the heat up on even the most amicable friendships.

For those unfamiliar with the game, you are required to prepare and serve meals to some unseen patrons. This starts simple enough with some easy recipes that just require you to chop, combine, plate and serve. Soon you have to boil, fry, mix, clean and much more which would be difficult enough if the kitchen designers weren’t the most poorly qualified. The rice may be stored on one side of the kitchen, while the hobs are on another and the serving area in a different place still. As you’re running from one end to the other you may find that the rice is boiling over and about to burn, forcing you to run back. You must also manage your available space, which is a challenge unto itself.

Overcooked 2

If that wasn’t difficult enough, the levels are also fantastical and once again start off easy enough but soon start introducing moving platforms, separating areas and putting players into different separated areas resulting in you having to try and throw the ingredients around (thankfully the patrons only care about what you serve and not any basic food hygiene standards). If things really get out of hand you will literally have to put out a few fires too.

The top-left of the screen shows what dishes you need to make and what that contains, with an icon indicating what ingredient is required and what you need to do with it (e.g. boil it, cook it etc). These orders come in rapidly and there’s a meter on each one indicating how important it is, with some later patrons requiring their food more urgently (which is just poor manners). Thankfully you can serve them up in whatever order you wish, but a missed or incorrect dish gets points deducted.

While there is a single player mode, allowing you to switch between chefs using the shoulder buttons, Overcooked 2 is built around local multiplayer. There’s a new online option this time around, but given how much is dependent upon communication it's pretty much moot given the Switch’s online setup. You can use emotes - in any mode, not just online - but you'll often forget about them mid-game due to the chaos and it doesn't come near being able to talk to others (without having to use a separate service). Up to four people can play and it is ultimately easier with more people (for once too many chefs don’t spoil a broth) because you can focus on certain tasks but you can easily get in the way of each other, even pushing someone off the stage resulting in a five second time out for the fallen player.

Overcooked 2 is a game that takes pleasure in pressure. It is stressful, but in the most fun way possible. The art style, music and cringe-worthy (but amusing) puns help prevent the game from feeling like an intense job, but after a relatively simple start it soon turns the heat up and you find yourself feeling overburdened sometimes. However, rather than causing frustration or a desire to quit it makes you evaluate what you did and how you can improve.

Overcooked 2

The game features several modes - story, arcade and versus. The story mode is essentially a series of challenges strung together by a silly but entertaining story (the Onion King reading a recipe from an ancient tome causes the Unbread to rise again and you must make sure you’re not the one that ends up toast). You progress from level to level in a food truck (that turns into a plane or boat when required) and levels are themed into areas (such as air-based levels and fire-based ones). The world map itself is built from hexagons that unveil themselves as you go, giving a cartoony Catan vibe.

Arcade mode lets you play through the levels that you work through in the story mode. You can choose random or you can select a theme (such as Sushi City, Ravenous Rapids and Conjurers' Kitchen to name a few) and you will then get a level from that theme. Versus mode pits you against your friends - either 1 vs 1 (where you control two chefs and use the shoulder buttons to switch) or 2 vs 2. Usually competitive play is more challenging on friendships, but Overcooked 2 may be an exception to the rule whereby you actually get on better!

The art style is charming and cutsey, with strong character design and a visual style that really stands out. It helps take the edge off the pressure of the gameplay and it even features a dog as one of the main characters, which is all any of us can ask for from a videogame.

Overcooked 2 introduces new elements that will provide a fresh experience, even if you’ve played the original. The aforementioned online multiplayer will undoubtedly be a big draw for many, but there’s other smaller changes under the hood. You can now throw ingredients, which will come in handy during the new dynamic levels that change around you. You can even throw them onto pans and into pots - intentionally or not. Of course new recipes will bring new challenges and new chefs allow you to play as more animals.

Overcooked 2

The music adds to the atmosphere of each level, reflecting the theme of the world. You might soon forget about it as you're frantically running around the kitchen putting out fires, but it adds to Overcooked 2's charm.  The sound effect work is simple but effective, with your movements and actions brought to life by accompanying sound effects that even tap into the Switch's HD Rumble.

There are of course some problems to be found. Picking up and placing items is done on a grid-based system (although you can move freely) so it can result in picking up or putting down the wrong thing, particularly when you’re under pressure. I can’t count the number of times I said “no not that!” while playing. It’s part of the challenge of the game of course, but it's easier to think that upon reflection than it is in the heat of the moment. The throwing button being the same as the action one (i.e. chopping) saw a number of ingredients accidentally tossed, but again how much of this is down to me just being rubbish is open for debate.

All-in-all Overcooked 2 is a hilarious, challenging and thoroughly unique game that will leave you and your friends screaming at each other for more onions in order to keep the zombie bread at bay and really how many games can offer that? If you frequently have friends around it is a game that should definitely be in your catalogue.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Overcooked 2 is a must have title if you frequently play local multiplayer. It's stressful but fun and a great game to bring friends together - and then tear them apart. If you didn't get it you'd be an idiot sandwich.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Fantastic local multiplayer
Challenging but fun
Cute, silly and charming


Single player isn't as good
Online mode hampered by Switch's online setup

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