Overcooked proved what it means to have too many cooks in the kitchen. It usually results in chaos. The Shacknews staff learned this lesson again at E3 2018, when Asif Khan, David Craddock, Donovan Erskine, and myself all stepped into the Overcooked 2 kitchen for the first time. We stumbled through the kitchen, we tripped over ourselves, we clumsily created half-edible dishes. It was a mess, but it was hilariously fun.
What we didn't realize is that there's much more to Overcooked 2 that we did not get to check out at the time. That was remedied at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, where Shacknews prepared for a second helping of Team 17 and Ghost Town Games' chaotic cookery game on Nintendo Switch. And yes, things got even wilder.
Just as with the first game, the concept of Overcooked 2 is simple. Up to four players work a restaurant and deal with orders that fly in fast. The idea is to prepare ingredients, chop them up, cook them on the stove, combine them on a plate, and take them over to a nearby conveyor belt. To some, that might sound easy and others might think this is already sounding complicated. It only gets crazier from there.
The demo's opening levels had me feeling confident. I was able to chop up cucumbers, cook up some rice, wrap them all up in seaweed, and deliver some freshly prepared sushi. Simple, right? The demo's later stages are where things started to get hairier.
That's where I suddenly went from a kitchen to a hot air balloon. The idea was to prepare cheeseburgers, as the balloon floated high in the air. Fires were starting to rain down from the balloon, with any part of the ground affected made impassable. So the kitchen crew not only had to navigate around fires, but also navigate around each other. That wasn't always easy and a couple of us did inadvertently knock each other off the balloon, forcing an agonizing respawn timer. Fire extinguishers were available to put out the fires, but between the burgers that needed to be prepared, the cheese and lettuce that needed to be chopped, and the dishes that needed to be washed, all of it became hilariously overwhelming. Things only got crazier when the hot air balloon suddenly exploded, leaving everyone in a whole new kitchen. These dynamic scenery changes should be expected in certain Overcooked 2 stages and kitchen crews will have to adapt quickly to be successful.
Fresh off the hot air balloon disaster, it was time to try out a completely different environment. The task was to prepare cheeseburgers in a wizard school. Different mechanics were introduced here, with a central platform and two side areas. There were staircases that could go between each area, along with a portal that could warp from one side of the stage to the other. Things got tricky when the staircases would randomly collapse, closing off that path. They got worse if anyone was on top of those stairs as they fell, because that hapless person would also fall into the abyss. This is where one of Overcooked 2's new features came in handy and that's the ability to throw ingredients. If a staircase fell, one of us simply chucked the raw ingredients across the chasm to a teammate, who would finish preparing the dish from there. It's another area where communication is key.
What other new features await in Overcooked 2? Team 17 and Ghost Town Games are implementing four-player online co-op, which means four chefs no longer need to be in the same local kitchen to prepare meals. They'll also find a whole new overworld, with levels that open up either nearby or along unreachable areas that need to be accessed with switches. The more stages that players are able to complete, the more they'll be ready to deal with the sudden outbreak of the Walking Bread, which is exactly what it sounds like.
While Shacknews had a blast with Overcooked 2 at Comic-Con's Nintendo booth, the game is also set to reach a handful of additional platforms. Get the catering table ready for Overcooked 2 when it hits Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on August 7.