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Anton Galang / Lifewire
Exciting, addictive gameplay
A blast with friends
Downloadable content adds replayability
Load times between most screens
Packed with quirky charm, Overcooked! 2 serves up fast and frantic fun that's best enjoyed with family and friends.
Our reviewer purchased Overcooked! 2 so that they could do a thorough play-through of the game. Keep reading for their full take.
If you're looking for a way to test the strength of your relationships, look no further. Pass a controller to your friend or spouse or potential business partner (or all three) and take on the cooperative culinary insanity that is Overcooked! 2. While it centers on cooking as a theme, the game is really more about quickly juggling a smorgasbord of tasks, not just in your own head but in communication with fellow chefs as well. It can be frustrating when you fail, but deliciously satisfying when you succeed. Your real-world relationships may just come out stronger for it.
I tested the Xbox One version (it's on all current consoles as well as PC), and it belongs firmly on the lists of best multiplayer Xbox One games and best Xbox One games for kids. While it includes online modes, the couch co-op experience in particular makes Overcooked! 2 shine as one of the best offline multiplayer games you and your squad can play.
Following a separate storyline from the original Overcooked, the sequel's Story Mode tasks your chefs with assisting the same two characters from the first game: the Onion King and his dog, Kevin. This time, the King's peril comes in the form of ravenous "unbread" creatures that he accidentally conjured up, and he needs your crew to go out into the world, learn new recipes, and hone your teamwork so you can fight them off.
This plot adds some structure to the game, but not in any essential way. You're basically only reminded of the zombies when you check back with the King at his palace hub between the story's main chapters. The rest of the time, you progress through plot-free levels themed with varying levels of kookiness, from sushi bars to underground mines to wizard schools.
A bit more story to drive players through may have been nice, but the game hardly suffers without it. The thrill of seeing what challenges lie ahead or simply improving your skills and scores will be enough motivation for most. There are also extra-tough "Kevin" levels that can be unlocked by meeting secret criteria within the regular levels.
Outside of the Story mode, you can play standalone co-op (Arcade) or head-to-head (Versus) matches, each with options for Couch, Online Public, and Online Private gameplay. These modes could use more incentives for repeat play, like point- or achievement-based rewards. As it is, online play is more for the fun of teaming up with strangers or far-off friends.
The game has plenty it can teach about teamwork and communication, so it has potential to be a bonding tool for all ages.
The core controls and gameplay in Overcooked! 2 are about as simple as you can get. One button picks up or drops items, one button chops. There's a button to dash, and—added to this second game—a button to throw items. You assemble the dishes indicated at the top of the screen and serve them up to earn points (in the form of coins that don't buy anything).
The game introduces you to the mechanics at manageable pace, beginning with an initial tutorial stage among the Unbread. Later levels begin with illustrated guides on new recipes, and some tips on how to use actions that might come in handy. But the real learning happens between you and your teammates, as you figure out the process for each recipe and how to best split up the tasks.
You start out chopping and serving simple salads, but the complexity soon ramps up to dishes like pasta and cakes. Now you're chopping and serving while also mixing, steaming, frying, baking, and washing dirty plates. Oh, and you're also running around navigating obstacles and distractions in your kitchen, from conveyor belts and fires to swamp monsters and, most challenging of all, other players. You're tossing ingredients across river rafts and hot air balloons and through magical portals. You might finally find your groove, only for your restaurant to literally fall apart and make you deal with something entirely different.
There may be a lot of yelling involved, too, whether your teammates can hear you or not.
You can play with friends locally or online in any mode, and the game is truly built for two or more players working together. Playing as a single player puts you in control of two chefs that you can swap between. The progress bar on most tasks take longer, giving you time to switch to the other chef to multitask. It's more of a headache than the exhilarating social mayhem of playing with other people, but it's at least an option available to solo players.
If you're short on local controllers, you can split a single controller between two people. On the Switch, this is built into how the Joy-Cons function, but on Microsoft's console, each player holds one half of the Xbox One controller. This makes each set of controls odd and unwieldy, and it puts you in very close, cramped quarters. It's not ideal.
Masking the game's deep (and sometimes anger-inducing) gameplay is Overcooked! 2's colorful, cheery aesthetic, well executed with cuteness and charm. The chefs you can choose from are lovably designed with oversized heads and floating hands, and they come in a diverse selection of ethnicities, age groups, and animal species that make them a joy to unlock.
Traversing the Story Mode's overworld map is another pleasant visual highlight. Elements pop up or fall over like miniature models on a hexagonal grid, as you putter abound in the "Royal Sage Coach"—an RV from the Onion King that transforms on-the-go depending on the terrain you're driving on. Complementing these cartoony touches are pleasant, plucky, xylophone-y background tracks, all coming together to help counteract the stress some of the levels can bring about.
Less pleasant are the loading screens that appear between essentially everything, whether you're going in and out of levels or different menus. The load times themselves aren't overly long, but the irritation adds up when you consider their frequency—and when compared to the relatively short time you spend in levels and between them.
After you've worked through the Story mode's 40 or so levels (about 7 to 10 hours, depending on how many stars you try to earn), odds are that you'll be hungry for more. Fortunately, Overcooked! 2 provides DLC that can go a long way in feeding your appetite, including free content updates on a periodic basis. Based on seasonal themes like winter, holidays, and Chinese New Year, these new levels and recipes freshen the game by adding new—usually more difficult—gameplay elements for you and your friends to master. Other content sets available for purchase include beach, camping, carnival, and Halloween themes.
New levels typically come with new playable chefs to unlock, but there are also dedicated packs of chefs to expand your cosmetic selection. My game came with an All at Sea pack that included pirates, mermaids, and various adorable marine life.
All of Overcooked! 2's presentation and content is kid-appropriate. Even situations involving the zombified Unbread, while designed to be dark and spooky, are imbued with cartoonish charm that keeps them from being genuinely scary.
The controls and gameplay concepts, too, should be simple enough for most kids to pick up, making it a great choice for family gaming sessions. How happy everyone will be to play with one another is another matter. Younger children may have trouble keeping up with the more demanding recipes and overwhelming pace of some levels, which could lead to some frustration in older siblings (or parents). For example, my 5-year-old has gotten better at tackling simpler tasks, but her parents find her limited focus to be a liability in their kitchen.
As long as everyone can stay patient and keep tempers in check, the game has plenty to teach about teamwork and communication, so it has potential to be a bonding tool for all ages. Plus, it gives kids the chance to throw food around and fall into pits, which is a recipe for a whole mess of fun.
You might finally find your groove, only for your restaurant to literally fall apart.
With a base price of $30 and often on sale (especially digital versions), Overcooked! 2 is well worth a purchase for anyone looking for wholesome multiplayer fun. Purchasing some of the DLC levels may even be worthwhile if you find yourself looking for new gameplay wrinkles, but know that some content also gets added free of charge.
While there are plenty of restaurant and cooking simulators out there, none offer quite the same multiplayer-focused hecticness as the Overcooked series. It might be better to compare with other accessible co-op games, and the 2015 indie title Lovers in Dangerous Spacetime offers a comparably high-quality couch co-op experience. Instead of cooking up dishes in crazy kitchens, the colorful 2D shooter puts you in a team of up to four players in a neon spacecraft, manning various upgradable stations to fly around, fire weapons, activate shields, and generally survive the attacking Anti-Love forces. The mechanics are different, but the feeling of franticness that can only be overcome by precise communication and synergy will feel familiar.
The distinct art styles of the two games are both cutesy and eccentric, but different enough where one might appeal to you more than the other. Lovers also has randomly generated levels while all of Overcooked! 2's are carefully planned out. And if online multiplayer is important to you, you'll want to stick with Overcooked! 2 as Lovers doesn't support it.
Interested in reading more reviews? See our for the best co-op games for your next get-together.
With its delightful presentation and simple but intense gameplay, Overcooked! 2 is a cooperative multiplayer treat for all ages.
Its ability to enjoyably challenge communication and coordination makes it perfect for parties or bonding with family and friends—just try to stay patient with each other.
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