Overcooked 2 continues the culniary quality of its predecessor by evolving the franchise in new and exciting ways.
Overcooked 2 not only adds online multiplayer for the very first time, but everything has had a fresh lick of paint and the steaks have never been higher.
The big question is whether this is all too much way too soon.
Did Overcooked 2 arrive too soon?
I’d actually argue it didn’t arrive soon enough because online multiplayer is an absolute gamechanger for this franchise. True, you still can’t beat the fun and frantic nature of co-operative local shouting – that’s an eSport in the making if you ask me – but it opens up new possibilities for the game.
Because one thing quickly becomes clear in Overcooked 2. You’re not going to get very far on your own.
The kitchens are far more complex and disruptive for most people to handle solo with floorboards moving like conveyor belts and tiered stages which break up your flow and rhythm. And the recipes are more complex with more ingredients with orders pouring and combo multipliers to help improve your score. Overcooked 2 soon becomes semi-impossible solo but it has been tailor-made for well-oiled teamwork.
Not everyone’s friends live close enough to drop by for a spot of onion chopping and Overcooked already proved itself as one of the most original, entertaining multiplayer games of the last few years. So having such a fun, frantic online experience that everyone can play available across all the major gaming networks is a massive boon for Team 17 and the perfect next step for the franchise. The good news, it works marvelously.
But while everyone’s talking about online cooking, there’s plenty more going on under the grill in Overcooked 2 which seperates it from the original. For starters, Ghost Town Games co-developed it with Team 17 and you can tell the difference as everything gleams and glistens in shiny new ways. The production values are bigger as well with some levels larger in scope than ever before. For instance, there’s one where you start in a hot air balloon that eventually comes crashing down into a kitchen leaving chaos in its wake.
They’ve even worked on the story and level design to make it feel like Overcooked has a more purposeful campaign. This time around, the Onion Kingdom is under threat from the ‘Living Bread’ because the Onion King and Kevin have read the Necronomicon, the Ancient Book of the Bread.
So now you have to traverse a fully 3D, beehive squared map which also contains plenty of hidden secrets from Kevin carefully concealed by switches as well as fulfilling certain conditions in each level. It’s all very reminiscent of Super Mario World.
Kevin’s hidden levels are, of course, much tougher than normal and are not for the faint hearted. So we’d recommend them only for those who like a challenge. And when I said that I mean it, one level actually has you crossing a busy road!
The map is such a lively, important part of the game as it’s all fully animated with trees bristling as you drive past and birds swooping overhead. Plus it’s massive, at least double the size of the original game.
Something else I really love about Overcooked 2 is how well themed the kitchens are compared to the recipes you’re making. In the early levels, you’ll be tasked with making sushi and so the kitchen is surrounded by cherry blossoms and emblazon with a flashing neon sign.
There’s also some subtle tweaks to the Overcooked gameplay formula. For starters, you now have a mechanic where you and your team earn multipliers on your tips with a performance that is ‘on fire’. If you fulfill your orders in a timely manner as well as in the order you received them, your streak will increase, enabling you to earn double, triple, even quadruple points.
You can also throw food to one another which is so perfectly Overcooked and works so seamlessly that you’ll wonder why it wasn’t in the game to begin with. And it’s going to be vital in later levels as you and your buddy chef will literally be opposite sides of the screen from one another.
There’s also an assembly of new chefs – like octo chef – as well as old favourites like that grumpy old mouse. You can even emote when you successfully beat a level and show off to your new online buddy.
Overcooked 2 is just everything you loved about the original game but so much more, better presented, and even more entertaining. This sensational little game can now be played with anyone at anytime anywhere in the world and that’s just the most wonderful thing.
Whichever format you play it on, Overcooked 2 is an essential ingredient in your online gaming diet.
+ More of the same but better
+ Online multiplayer works a treat
+ Devilish new kitchens and delicious new recipes
+ Perfect new mechanical tweaks to enhance and enrich the game even further
– This really isn’t for solo gamers
– You might get into a fight with your flatmate and / or John from Liverpool
8.5 out of 10
Tested on Xbox One
Code provided by the publisher