Melanie De Los Santos/Courier Illustration of the game "Overcooked 2" on Friday, May 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Get the tomatoes! Hurry up and chop it! Turn the fire off, the patty is going to get burnt! The ingredients are uncut, the plates are dirty and the food is burnt. If only there was someone to help out with the cooking in the kitchen. 

Well, there will be help in the virtual kitchen in “Overcooked!” which is a cooking simulator that can be played in solo or co-op mode. Up to four players can join in on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. 

The gameplay is simple: grab the necessary ingredients, chop, cook and serve them. What makes the game challenging is the increasing number of ingredients and different combinations to make the dishes while on a time constraint. 

Every step of the process needs time to complete, so time management is essential. Depending on the level, there may be other obstacles like holes in the kitchen floor, fire, pests that steal food and more. In addition, the ingredients, chopping boards, ovens and stoves, serving windows and plates are spread throughout the kitchen, which can be an obstacle on its own.

In “Overcooked!” there is an Onion King trying to save the Onion Kingdom from a meatball monster, Ever Peckish, which was constantly hungry and planned to consume the entire kingdom. 

To fill its belly, the Onion King has called upon chefs (you and your friends) to cook meals and feed it, only to fail. To train the chefs, the Onion King then sends players back a few years to “practice” and eventually the game will lead back to the present time to face Ever Peckish once again.

“Overcooked! 2,” the sequel, has new controls like dashing and throwing, more default characters to choose as avatars, an online play feature and is faster paced. These additions may make it seem way better than its original since it is basically an upgrade, but the new mechanics come with new challenges. The kitchen layout is more complicated, and there are special levels where the difficulty surpasses any of the ones in “Overcooked!”

In “Overcooked! 2”, the Onion King read aloud from the Cookbook of the Dead, a spellbook which raised the Undead Bread army, also known as, The Unbread. Again, the Onion King called upon chefs to cook and feed the hungry enemy.

The Onion King, with his clumsy yet friendly character, guides the players along the gameplay as the story progresses. This personality encourages players to empathize with him, since he wants the best for his kingdom, but clearly does not have the brave personality to do so.

“Overcooked!” has 45 levels, while “Overcooked! 2” has over 36 stages (including additional downloadable content). The gameplay in “Overcooked! 2” may be considered more intense as there are new challenges that require using the newly added mechanics like sprinting and throwing. But in regards to getting points, the scoring in the sequel is more generous compared to the original. 

Overall, with the new mechanics, “Overcooked! 2” is more polished and has online gameplay, making it possible to play with friends without having the need to get together in person.

Both “Overcooked!” and “Overcooked! 2” are enjoyable in their own ways. Those who start with the sequel may find the original annoying with the lack of its throwing feature, but that may serve as an additional challenge to face. The total hours for each gameplay just on the story itself may take up to six hours, but that time will be spent only with fun.

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