A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this latest collection of cooking-themed mini-games includes 80 brand new recipes. No prior knowledge of food or cooking is needed. Players who also have Gardening Mama can transfer ingredients to Cooking Mama 3. The "Alcohol Reference" refers to "cooking wine" that is occasionally used as an ingredient.
What's it about?
COOKING MAMA 3: SHOP AND CHOP is the newest title in the extremely successful Cooking Mama franchise of culinary-themed mini-games. In this version, players use the Nintendo DS stylus to slice, stir, chop, and plate their way through 80 new recipes including chilli con carne, mushroom quiche, and pumpkin gnocchi. The game's cheerful host walks the player through each recipe step-by-step and awards a score and medal based on how perfectly they're able to prepare each dish. There's also Let's Cook! mode where players run through the entire recipe without any pauses, Let's Match! Mode where players choose any two ingredients and create a custom recipe, and Let's Shop where players shop for ingredients by guiding Mama through a supermarket while avoiding obstacles.
Is it any good?
Cooking Mama's gameplay suits the Nintendo DS particularly well. There's plenty to do and a ton of extra material to unlock – players can decorate a digital diary with stickers, dress up Mama in new outfits, and change in-game colors and backgrounds. For the first time, players can import food they've grown in the sister title Gardening Mama to use in recipes. The game also boasts a local multiplayer mode where friends can face off in 20 timed challenges.
The one downside is that instructions aren't always clear the first time around, but it's a small complaint since the mini-games are easily and quickly replayed. Like its predecessors, Cooking Mama 3 is full of cute visual touches, like batter that is stirred too quickly slopping out of the pan and then has to be rubbed off the screen with the stylus. Cooking Mama 3 not only challenges kids and adults alike with clever, surprisingly detailed cooking minigames, but payers might actually learn a thing or two about food prep.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether you would like to try cooking any of the dishes found in the game in real life?
Families might also want to review important food safety tips to follow in the kitchen, such as being aware of hot pans or washing your hands after handling raw meat.
What makes this series so popular? Is this the video game industry's equivalent to the popular cooking shows on TV?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.