Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Release Date: August 7th 2018
Reviewed On: Xbox One X
Developer: Ghost Town Games
Publisher: Team 17
Overcooked 2 is the sequel to 2016’s indie hit Overcooked. Developed by Ghost Town Games and published by Team 17 who publishes a wide variety of Indie titles like The Escapists. The original Overcooked hosted some of the best couch co-ops that money could buy and after a surprise announcement at E3, I was very excited to dive in to see what Overcooked 2 could build on and improve from the original game.
The campaign is a fun jaunt that will take you roughly 5-6 hours to complete with a friend, and maybe 7-8 hours if you were to play the whole game solo. The story sees us return to the Onion Kingdom, where the king has gotten himself into quite the pickle. Legions of the “Unbread” have arisen due to the King dabbling in the dark culinary arts. It is safe to say this game will not be winning any storytelling awards, however, there is some hilarious dialogue in between the worlds when interacting with the Onion King. This all and all enhances the hilarious and goofiness of the world, as you dash around a kitchen as unicorn trying to cook burgers to feed the Unbread.
While not being a graphically demanding game, Overcooked 2 boasts a great cartoony art style, with some very colorful level design. The notable and probably most important aspect, especially in co-op, is that never once did I have any performance-based issues. Frame rate was smooth and I never experienced any frame rate dips the entire time I was playing. In a fast-paced game where every second count towards your final score I very much appreciated that, especially since there were small frame rate issues with the original game.
Ghost Town Games faced a big challenge heading into Overcooked 2. How do we make the game feel fresh and challenging without making the difficulty to high and just repeating the levels from the first game? They tackled this aspect beautifully, with the addition of new recipes, some new mechanics both in the base gameplay as well as changes in how the levels changed. It made for a very challenging experience solo, while still being achievable while making co-op feel insanely fast-paced and tenser.
One of the best additions that played heavily into the level design choices was the ability to throw raw ingredients either to your partner or into pots, or onto cutting boards. This made time management a little bit easier and also made playing by yourself a lot easier, with being able to switch between characters as you threw ingredients back and forth. This mechanic was crucial in operating an efficient kitchen, but when playing with friends could quickly become a mountain of raw ingredients being thrown back and forth with many laughs had.
The difficulty curve in the campaign was very enjoyable as it slowly eased you into all the different aspects of gameplay. For example, in the first few levels you do not have to wash your plates, they automatically appear rewashed for you. Then, later on, you have to manage your time more efficiently and wash the plates while also focusing on orders. This slow progression makes the game very easy to pick up and learn for new players, while the later levels will provide a challenge for even the most talented chefs.
I cannot stress enough that to properly experience this game you need to play it with a friend. While the game is enjoyable on your own and can be completed on your own there is a whole different level of fun if you play this game with a friend or group of friends. The amount of laughing, swearing and just all-around craziness that ensued from playing this game with friends was insane. This is one of the best couch co-op games that you can buy on console.
Aside from the campaign, Overcooked 2 features 2 separate multiplayer modes, which are Arcade and Versus. Now, one of the biggest improvements for Overcooked 2 was the introduction of online matchmaking and inviting. In the original Overcooked it was couch co-op only and you could not play online with your friends. Thanks to community feedback, you are now able to play Overcooked 2 with anyone on your friends list that also owns the game as well as versus against players around the world. Arcade mode allows players to play with up to 4 of their friends in co-op score attack style mode as you work together to set and break high scores. Versus can be some of the most competitive and tense moments of any game I have played in a long time. With the versus levels featuring tests that will push you and your partner to the edge as you try to coordinate versus the other team in a hectic ingredient throwing and chopping storm. Ultimately, it is a very fun mode, however it becomes very repetitive quickly.
Overcooked 2 is a straight up fun co-op experience that if you have a good friend, family member or significant other can be a total blast and laugh. Overcooked 2 did everything a good sequel should, building on core game-play mechanics and adding new ones. Making maps that don’t feel repetitive or recycled, and having a steady rising difficulty curve that can be managed by and learned by both casual and hardcore audiences.