A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game communicates the value of following recipes carefully, taking pride in what you cook, and the joy of cooking for others. Vegetarians might find it off-putting to prepare some of the meat dishes – such as slicing open a fish and cutting around its rib cage. One of the new modes, Let's Shop!, involves shopping for ingredients so it has a consumerism theme.
Positive Role Models
Mama is a cheerful guide who doles out positive reinforcement.
Ease of Play
It's not always clear what to do in a mini-game, but the penalty for "failure" is not severe at all, and all mini-games are easily practiced and replayed.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.