Order Up! Review

If there’s one type of game I never thought I’d enjoy, it’s cooking games. When Cooking Mama made it big, I could never understand why. Playing a bit of Hell’s Kitchen only cemented that distaste. So it was with trepidation I put in Zoo Digital’s latest, Order Up!.

Like most small-budget Wii titles, Order Up! focuses on using the Wii remote to its full potential. Obviously it’s a cooking game (it even comes with an authentic paper chef hat!) so most of your Wii interactions will be performing tasks like dicing, slicing, sautéing, baking, grating, boiling, and whatever other -ing words you can think of that relate to cooking.

For the most part, the Wii remote gestures are fairly accurate and responsive, and mimic what you’d be doing in a real kitchen. To flip burgers and other things on the grill, hold B, then flip the remote over like you’re using a spatula; to grate cheese, hold B and then move the remote up and down like a piece of cheese against a grater. For most of the actions, the way you’ll use the Wii remote makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, there are a few which can remain frustrating even if you’ve invested a lot of time in the game. Some maneuvers like peeling lettuce and folding things always have an element of frustration involved, as the instant you move your cursor off the center of the action on the screen you’ll find yourself scrambling to get back to the right spot. It’s these cursor position-based requirements which hold the gameplay back from being fully intuitive, and cause quite a few swear words as you’ll find yourself repeating the same task again and again to try and make it perfect. (Although, if I did learn one thing from Hell’s Kitchen it’s that swearing comes with the territory when you’re a chef.)

Thankfully, Order Up! has more than just cooking, and its depth gives it a big advantage over Cooking Mama. The game starts off with your chef (male or female) being dropped from a plane on to an island, where you’ll open up your first restaurant after a quick stint of training at the local burger joint. Each “day” in the game opens up with you having the option of traveling to the market to buy spices and new recipes, hiring assistants who specialize in certain tasks, upgrading your diner, and upgrading your menu. You’ll make money by preparing food better, delivering it hotter, and adding extra customer desires like spices, as well as serving chef specials (which are purchased at the black market, naturally).

As you make money, you can either upgrade your eatery, or save it to buy a new one. There are four diners in all: one generic American style, one Mexican, one Italian, and one fine cuisine. Each has its own list of recipes and its own independent goals to reach, meaning if you get bored of making burgers you can switch it up by making some guacamole at your other place.

It’s the variety and tasks outside of cooking (including the Diner Dash-esque handling of customers) which makes Order Up! a surprisingly addictive game. It’s not perfect by any means-and some of the food preparation actions do showcase that-but Order Up! has a unique charm to it. It may be a grind at times when you need to make money for that next upgrade or restaurant, but at least it’s a fun one you’ll be glad to come back to for some time.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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