A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Overcooked! 2 is a strategic arcade-style party game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows. The game, a sequel to the original Overcooked!, challenges players to work together in various crazy kitchens to prepare and deliver recipes to hungry patrons. The game is easy to learn in terms of controls, but communicating with other players and completing increasingly complex recipes ramps up the difficulty pretty quick. There's very little violence, though players can toss food at one another, and there's some minor slapstick humor in the cutscenes. The game is appropriate for all ages, with no offensive content or language, though it's still possible for players to engage in online voice chat outside of the in-game communication options.
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What's it about?
In OVERCOOKED! 2, the Onion Kingdom is in peril once again. After the Onion King accidentally uses the fabled Necro-nomnom-icon to cause the zombified forces of the Unbread to rise, only the culinary skills of you and your friends can stop their hunger for "grains." You'll need to take your food truck throughout the kingdom, picking up new recipes and testing your teamwork by fulfilling the food orders of all the kingdom's residents. You'll need to chop, carry, and serve your way to success in a variety of different kitchens, each with their own unique obstacles to overcome. Jump between chefs in solo play or pull in some big tips by working together with others in either local co-op or online games for up to four players.
Is it any good?
When the original game was first released, it served up a heaping helping of party game-style fun, but also left fans hungry for more. For Overcooked! 2, the classic recipe has been updated with new ingredients to add extra spice, while still retaining the familiar taste of the first game. Some of these additions are little more than cosmetic garnish, such as the slew of new chefs for players to unlock. Other additions add a little extra meat to the gameplay, such as the new ability to throw items around. It may not seem like much at first, but being able to toss that tomato to a fellow chef or workstation from across the screen can make a large impact. In a game where efficiency is everything, every second shaved off the clock can mean the difference between serving up a fresh meal or tossing out scraps.
The biggest change in Overcooked! 2 is the addition of online play. While you can play the game solo, Overcooked! has always been a dish best shared with others. With Overcooked! 2's online multiplayer, now you don't have to try to fill your couch with line cooks. Instead, you can jump into the kitchen with your favorite chefs from around the globe. Both online and couch co-op play are equally fun, though you do lose a little of the camaraderie that comes with having everyone together in one room shouting and laughing together. Unless you set up a party chat on whichever platform you're playing on, Overcooked! 2's built-in communication is limited to just a series of easily accessible emotes. No matter how you choose to play, though, expect a challenge. The game ramps up the difficulty fairly quickly, but thankfully, it never rises to the point of feeling impossible ... especially if you've got a good team together. Even playing solo, while much more difficult, still manages to stay entertaining without getting too frustrating. If the first Overcooked! was the party game entrée, then Overcooked! 2 is a fully stocked buffet of fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about positive life skills like teamwork and cooperation. What are some good ways to communicate when working as a team with others to accomplish a goal? What are some ways to be a good teammate, and what are some more toxic behaviors to avoid?
How is the violence of Overcooked! 2 affected by the slapstick nature of the game? Does it matter that all you're really doing is tossing food at other chefs? Does that seem like a waste considering their job is serving food, not tossing it?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Team17 Digital Ltd.
- Release date: August 7, 2018
- Genre: Party
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptors
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