That may be a sticking point for some, as the lack of online play may feel like a limitation on the number of people with whom you can play. If Overcooked was like any number of other games that fell within the purview of a particular audience, or required everyone to be pro-gamers, then that would possibly even be true.
Without a doubt, much of the game’s appeal comes from pushing through the chaos with a group of friends to pull out a victory, or finally getting three stars on a particularly difficult level. The core of those experiences stem from a central idea: that we are engaging in an activity (i.e., cooking) that is inherently a cooperative experience. Think about the last co-op game you played. Was the co-op something that made you feel a little more connected to those with whom you were playing, or was it just a way to play something with friends? There’s nothing wrong with the latter situation, but the former speaks to something that’s a little more ingrained in all of us: that need to engage with our fellow humans in a meaningful way.
Whether it’s going to a play, watching a ball game with other fans, or joining a book club, we all pursue outlets that provide us with those social experiences we cannot otherwise achieve. Once upon a time, one of those outlets was cooking. People would gather together as a community and cook a meal for everyone. It was social and required cooperation. As time went out, we progressed towards a more individualized approach, but that sense of it being a communal event remained.
That idea is something Ghost Town Games is intentionally tapping into with Overcooked, and that gives them a little advantage. It allows them to start from a place of common understanding around what you’re supposed to do in the game (i.e., grab food, prep it, cook it, and serve it). They don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining what you’re doing, why this one thing in the environment is different than that other thing, and how you have to use the controller in order to do all that. In fact, the controls are straightforward enough that two people can share one controller to play two separate cooks.
More importantly, by utilizing a concept that has such a deeply rooted commonality, Overcooked is a title anyone can pick up and play. The barrier to entry is low and the resulting “fun factor” is high, making it an excellent answer to the question, “what’s a good game I can play with someone to introduce them to video games?” So, yes, it may be local co-op only, but that shouldn’t be viewed as a limitation; rather, it’s a challenge. There is undoubtedly someone you know that would be happy to game with you if it was “the right kind of game,” or if they didn’t feel like they were just bringing the team down. Find them and ask them if they’d be willing to give Overcooked a shot. Chances are good, you’ll both be laughing and high-fiving after a few levels. Who knows, maybe that will even lead to you both finding another game to play, and another.
And that is a co-op experience worth having.
The Co-Op Experience: Working as a team, you and your fellow chefs must prepare, cook and serve up a variety of tasty orders before the baying customers storm out
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.