Sunday, September 17, 2006


Cooking Mama

Cooking Mama is a game for the Nintendo DS where you prepare food and you're scored based on how well you do. And that's really all you need to know about it. If you like the concept, you'll enjoy the game. If you don't like the concept, you probably won't like the game. There. Now you're ready to make your purchasing decision. So let me ramble on about the game purely for my own amusement.

Warioware Cooking

You begin with fifteen different recipes, and you'll quickly unlock a grand total of 76. There are soups, stews, kebabs, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, hamburger dishes, seafood, and lots and lots of asian cuisine. Each recipe is presented as a series of mini-games that revolve around prepping, measuring, mixing, cooking, and arranging different meals. Some recipes call for only a couple different cooking events, others will call for a dozen steps or more. Some of the events have the simplicity of a Warioware game (chop an onion by smacking the screen repeatedly), others are more involved (prepare a stew by following the steps listed on the top screen within the time limit allowed). No matter how poorly you do at a mini-game, you go through each step in the process one after the other. (Mistakes are corrected by Mama between steps.) At the end of a recipe, your scores for the different events are averaged together, and you get an overall score and a bronze, silver, or gold medal to show how well you did.

Some recipes have variations. For example, once you've prepped all of the meat and vegetables for Beef Curry, you'll be asked if you'd like to make Beef Stew instead. If you take the fork in the road, the variation will become available as its own recipe. You can also earn new recipes simply by completing the recipes you already have available.

And that's about as involved as the game ever gets. There's really no overall plot or goal that ties the story together besides trying to get all of the recipes. You open the game up, pick a recipe, prepare it, and you're done. The closest this game comes to having a more involved play mode is in Let's Combine mode, where you basically just follow two recipes in a row and you're rewarded with a picture of the two dishes juxtaposed, often in an unnatural way.

It's not even very good as an arcade game -- there's a single perfect score that represents the best you can do at any given recipe, and most of them are pretty easy to earn with just a little practice. It's not at all like Warioware, where it's always possible to do just a little bit better the next time you play.

This game does only one thing, and it does it reasonably well -- it simulates the act of cooking and gives the player a respectably wide variety of foods with which to test his or her cooking prowess. And in that respect, it's fun and addictive. You get to chop and stew and deep-fry to your heart's content, and to hell with calories or leftovers or dishes.

And that's why I spelled it out at the top of the review -- if the idea of a cooking sim sounds cool, pick this one up. But if you're looking for anything else, you're in the wrong place.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?