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Cooking Mama 2 is rather quirky and difficult to master and definitely more likely to make you want to break your wii-mote than master the art of filleting fish with it! A new cooking game? This is a job for the Domestic Gamer!
After seeing Cooking Mama being talked about in the same breath as Jamie Oliver's What's Cooking, my expectations were quite high. Now that I have my hands on it, I am pretty disappointed. I think it fits more happily with games like Order Up, a game loosely based on cooking rather than a cook book with games thrown in. Jamie's game was definitely a more serious approach to the games and cooking genre, with the focus on real food and real recipes with a bit of a game on the side to do while your shepherd's pie is in the oven! Order up is great fun, but gets you running around your diner and keeping the customers happy. Juggling orders with a great pace and excitement. Cooking Mama doesn't seem at home in either world.
We played this as family one weekend and to say were all perplexed is an understatement. Firstly we could barely understand ‘mama' with her broken english accent, but getting our heads (or wii motes) round the cooking was even harder. The chopping, stirring slicing actions needed in order to prepare the dishes were so difficult that we failed miserably at our first few attempts. Even my pro-gamer other half struggled!
There is a nice mix between baking, food assembly and other actions.
Eventually we found the co-op and solo challenges, which we should have played first, as this actually taught us how to prepare each of the elements for the different recipes. This part was actually quite fun, like dipping chocolate éclairs in chocolate and throwing pizzas by twisting the wii-mote round. After a few goes, we found we were actually getting the hang of it. This made the Cooking Mama section much more do-able and we actually unlocked a few new recipes.
All in all this was a little too quirky and random for my liking.
There is a nice mix between baking, food assembly and other actions like frying or putting things in the oven and setting the timer. Mama does seem to expect you to guess quite a lot, like how long to set the timer for your pizza, we chose 15 minutes, and burnt it! This was quite frustrating. Even more frustrating is the Let's Cook section where if you do something wrong you fail the task and have to start again. This is interspersed all the time by random mini games, again which you have to do by complete guess work.
All in all this was a little too quirky and random for my liking, not a patch on Order Up, which was a much better thought out game with challenging but do-able tasks and a much broader appeal.
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