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This Diner-style cooking game has a funky retro feel with a great story to back up the seriously challenging cooking tasks!
I played this a while ago and it stood out in my mind as one of the best games I've come across. Coming back to it again more recently, I was not disappointed. Even after playing a few good cooking games recently this one still stands our as being really well thought through.
Order Up's strongest point is a surprisingly engaging storyline which continues throughout the game. Happily gone are the sickly sweet cartoon style animations found in the likes of Cooking Mama 2 Wii. Instead we have really good quality animation - if you've ever seen the Christmas film Olive the Other Reindeer (from the pen of Simpsons mastermind Matt Greoning) the animation is really similar.
The games starts with you choosing your chef - who is then dumped out of the plane she or he is flying and lands on the Port Abello Island. Then ensues a cool tutorial in Burger Face diner, a place that has seen better days. There you learn to peel, slice and fry. It's all very easy going with on screen help every step of the way. The cooking actions take a bit of practice and a fair amount of skill to get the Wii-mote pointing in exactly the right place - but as they say, practice makes perfect.
I found this frustrating when my burger was fried to perfection but then burnt because I couldn't get the silly spatula under it properly. Or when I couldn't get the action to quickly chop my lettuce. But these niggles are soon gone with some practice.
After my training session I sadly left owing the diner money, dejectedly walking along the street I happen upon a dilapidated diner for sale and instantly buy it! So starts the game - with you as the owner of The Gravy Chug.
You have to think like a chef for this - do all your prep first (peel chop, grate) then tackle all the cooking at the end.
Before you enter your diner each day and start cooking for your customers you have a few options outside. A newspaper - from which you can hire your assistant chefs or buy new cooking equipment. A blackboard containing your menu, where you can buy new dishes and earn the stars for your restaurant and a phone booth where you can make calls or answer the phone. Now, all theses things (except answering the phone) cost money and at the beginning of the game you have none! So best ignore all that and get cooking.
You can choose a table to click on to take orders. This is where the fun begins, although the dishes start off simple (Macaroni Cheese or Burger and Fries) doing a few tasks at once is pretty demanding. You could of course do one dish at a time, but then you loose points for sending one out hot and one out cold.
You have to think like a chef for this - do all your prep first (peel chop, grate) then tackle all the cooking at the end. Getting this right leaves you free to concentrate your efforts in one area of the kitchen rather than whizzing back to the chopping board all the time.
As you progress you get to know what each dish entails, so you can think ahead. If it all gets too much and you've made enough money on your first day you can hire a cheap assistant chef like Crispin Brown - frying is his specialty. This makes life much easier as you can drag and drop any frying tasks to him. The game does help out in that when you've prepared or cooked an ingredient you can just drag it to the serving dome and at the end it magically appears all assembled!
Now it's time to get to know your customers, each one had different tasted. Salty Sam likes his food salty (funnily enough!) and Hootenanny Pete who likes things extra aromatic. As the game progresses you have the option of visiting the farmers market where you can buys spices to customise your food to your diners' requirements. This is tricky to do as you are already rushed off your feet, but the more you can please your customers the more they will tip and the better your restaurant will get.
If I didn't have to spend so much time cooking for my own demanding little customers I'd have time to see if I can reach the utopia of Chez Haute the ultimate dining experience!
To add to the fun there are also minigames thrown in, like dishwashing and knife sharpening. Even rat catching - heaven forbid my diner would ever get that bad. Though I did manage to burn something the first day and set off all the fire alarms - not a good start.
Phew I feel tired just talking about it, this game is definitely challenging and there is tons of scope to progress with new restaurants to own, equipment to buy, recipes to lean and new assistant chefs to hire. If I didn't have to spend so much time cooking for my own demanding little customers I'd have time to see if I can reach the utopia of Chez Haute the ultimate dining experience!
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