Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Couch co-op has increasing become a legacy in modern gaming. Multiplayer often opts for online only modes, taking out that crucial element of playing a game with someone in the same room. While that does offer a cooperative experience, being in the same room offers an unfortunately nostalgic experience for gamers.
Overcooked is a return to cooperative gameplay and in a big way. It’s easily one of the best cooperative experiences in gaming.
Following a ridiculous but somehow solemn story of stopping a spaghetti monster apocalypse,Overcooked has the player(s) prepare meals in 4-5 minute levels. Players prepare soups, hamburgers, pizzas and more while making sure ingredients are stocked and plates are cleaned. Each level offers star completions, allowing people to challenge themselves to max out each stage while not blocking progression to casual players.
Overcooked shines in its level design. Each stage has some gimmick that always manages to be clever and challenging without being pointlessly aggravating. Levels take place on ships, haunted houses, icy glaciers and space stations. As I progressed with a friend we found ourselves testing a level for a minute or so to discover what challenge lay ahead.
Gameplay stays brisk and doesn’t get old due to the variation the game throws at the player. Crisp sounds and catchy music helps keep the player immersed though sometimes icons depicting food items became difficult to make out while in a hurry. On top of the standard story,Overcooked has two free expansions, featuring levels in prehistoric times and a Christmas setting.
Overcooked can be played alone but it’s clearly at its best with a friend or three. When you get tired of working together several versus stages unlock during gameplay, giving you the chance to prove your individual skills in the kitchen.
Assessment: If you’re looking for fun couch co-op, look no further. Overcooked is a gem that reminded me of what makes gaming great.