Overcooked 2 – How To Make A Sequel

If you can’t stand the heat…

Get in the kitchen anyway! Overcooked 2 is a frantic, action-arcade styled cooking game. In this game, you and your friends, for now, try to fill the seemingly endless orders. Developed by two-person team Ghost Town Games, this 2018 installment is a sequel to the 2016 original.

Available on all platforms, the game is easy to learn but challenging to master. Actually, even masters will need help from their kitchenmates if they hope to achieve the highest score. The communication and coordination required for more violent games like Apex Legends are just as vital here.

Ideally, this game should be played with at least one friend. I have personally played 1, 2, 3, and 4 players. Each has its own strengths and challenges.

Some might argue that more people means more hands on deck and more cooking power potential. While this is not false, the other group would not be wrong in saying that too many hands in the cookie jar will cause unavoidable issues.

The game acknowledges both theories and requires a higher score (1 to 3 stars) for more players. It can be an entirely different experience depending on how many and which friends you decide to cook with.

How To Make A Sequel 101

Overcooked 2 does a fabulous job of building on the strong base of the first title. The first couple hours of the game I was pleasantly surprised with how much was added and refined.

Developing a successful game has its challenges to balance between adding enough and not changing the core of the game. I’m looking at you, ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron.

Less is more. But more is even more.

When you first start, the Onion King and his pup, Kevin, again ask for your help to defeat a new threat. You then are given access to an open map (though the levels are linear) to explore and defeat kitchens.

Veterans of Overcooked will have no trouble picking up Overcooked 2. The core mechanics, style, and gameplay are basically unchanged. There are still buttons that:

  • Pick up and drop items and ingredients.
  • Perform actions like chopping and scrubbing.
  • Scoot around the kitchen faster.
  • Emote. There’s always a need to express yourself.

Overcooked 2 adds the ability to throw ingredients around with the same action button to chop and wash. Simple, right? In fact, this is so simple, on consoles, there is an option to play this game with your friend holding only one controller.

Are both hands coming from the same person?

Fortunately, and maybe, unfortunately, I have yet to try this way. Maybe one day I will grab a few drinks and give this a try.

Bigger and dynamic levels

The first “wow” moment came on a kitchen that started in a hot air balloon/aircraft hybrid kitchen. Midway through the level, the kitchen caught fire and came plummeting down onto a street-level kitchen.

Rather than performing triage on the chefs and potential bystanders of the accident, the orders never stopped. Nevermind the fact that the appliances still work.  You may have a few questions about the practicality of my last series of sentences. Don’t ask.

Seconds before crashing to the ground

Dynamic stages are now a thing with Overcooked 2. Not always just the entire level but sometimes parts of the level will change and alter what types of orders are demanded.

Magic also plays a bigger role in the sequel. Magical stairs and portals make an appearance creating one directional workflows for your cooks. These took a bit getting used to, especially once there were two different portals with the output oscillating back and forth.

Secret Levels

Dynamic levels aren’t the only level-related addition. On specific levels, if you reach the threshold for 3 stars, a nearby secret level will be unlocked.

These secrets levels are no joke.

They are much harder than the levels on your original path. On the first secret level that I attempted with my fiancée and her friend, we got 0 stars. This pretty much kicked off a shouting match for the rest of the night. Every subsequent level we attempted was filled with blaming, cursing, and even sabotage to one another. I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable night.

What’s greater than 3? 4.

After beating the game the first time, an additional mode is unlocked where you must obtain a hallowed fourth star. The score requirements are astronomical.

That’s quite the leap…

After attempting the very first level again and failing miserably, we laughed and called it a night. Tip: It appears these levels require nigh-perfection and perhaps some pre-work. The clock to levels doesn’t actually start until the first meal is delivered so prepare as much as possible before the first.

If this is needed for most of the levels, I’m not really a fan. This feels like gaming the system rather than being perfect with orders and delivery time.  In the next couple months I’m sure we will explore this mode more.

DLC

A game like Overcooked relies on DLC. While I said who you play with can greatly alter your experience, you will get bored of the same kitchens over and over. The original had two great DLC entries that added more challenging levels with more recipes to learn. Overcooked 2 adds more and more!  

As of this writing, there are a few DLC options. Chinese New Year was released for free and included new chefs and recipes for a fruit platter and a hot pot (one of my favorite recipes in the entire game).

There’s also a Surf ‘n’ Turf DLC available to purchase for $5.99. Once we need more content we’ll unquestionably be getting this as well.

If you’re a sucker for the cute chefs, for $2.99 you can grab the “Too Many Cooks Pack”. This unlocks 5 unique chefs including a unicorn, walrus, and alien.

I fully expect more DLC to be available as we approach summer. How about a summer bbq themed pack? Ribs, barbeque chicken, shrimp and bell pepper kabobs, fruit salad, hot dogs. Now I’m getting hungry.

Other Game Modes

Returning to Overcooked 2 is versus mode. Locally or online, you can challenge your friends to see who is a true iron chef. Kitchens are laid out to either provide individual sections to cook plate for plate or a more chaotic conjoined kitchen where nothing is off limits. Feel like stealing the opponent’s perfectly cooked beef stroganoff and delivering it for your own credit? Go for it!

Overcooked 2 also has added a survival mode and practice modes. Both adding timeless modes which either hone or measure your cooking skills.

Undercooked Areas

While Overcooked 2 is great, it is not perfect. Here a a couple areas that are lacking.

Friends Required

If you aren’t playing with friends, the single-player mode will feel awkward and perhaps annoying. You are given a set of twin cooks you can switch between with the press of a button. This will make the game substantially more challenging to virtually everyone.

No longer will you have the benefit (and curse) of communicating with fellow chefs. You also have the sole responsibility of keeping track of orders, dirty dishes, critical ingredients on conveyor belts. You’ll also need to prevent starting fires due to overcooking meat and literally put out fires that may start at random.

Again, some may enjoy this challenge but it definitely plays differently than the intended multiplayer feel.

Final Level

Another area that fell flat was the story. Well, at least the final boss(es). In the first game, you faced a giant spaghetti monster that would satisfy King Kong.

Frightening…

The final stage required you to demonstrate your cooking prowess by completing all the recipes you had learned throughout the game. While navigating between a moving platform and random fires starting, you were often presented with every ingredient possible and given orders spanning from burgers to burritos. Instead of delivering the orders as usual you threw them into the spaghetti monster’s mouth directly. The level raised the stakes in size and demand.

In Overcooked 2, I believe the final stage gave you even more time than in the first. From 10 minutes to 15 minutes. That is where the improvements stop though. The zombie-like bread enemies, cleverly named the Unbread, surround the final kitchen. That’s all that was added in terms of final enemies. I suggested to my fiancée that the gates at the bottom of the kitchen would open and the bread (almost wrote breads) would walk around.

That bottom door never opens.

Whether that was to push us off our tasks or even steal and/or eat ingredients, like the rats in the original, to make everything that much more difficult. Sadly that never happened. We beat the level on our first try. On the first game, we took at least 10 tries. As I said earlier the sequel was more difficult than the original overall but to have the last level be this much easier was a letdown and anticlimactic.

Hey Ghost Town Games and team17, hire us when Overcooked 3 is under development!

Ready to put on your apron?

What do you say? Have you played the game and agree with these strengths and weaknesses or does Overcooked 2 come up short? Or did this article tickle your culinary senses? Let us know below in the comments and enjoy my nail-biting playthrough of one of the final kitchens!

Ready to start your journey?

It's dangerous to go alone! Join us!