It’s been a while since I wrote a review of a videogame, so I figured I’d reach back into my Steam archives and pull out an oldie-but-goodie (so to speak). This is one that I’ve been sitting on for a while. Let’s talk Cook, Serve, Delicious!
The concept is fairly simple. You’re a restaurant owner/cook opening your own establishment in some sort of office building. You start with a humble, hole-in-the-wall kind of establishment that serves corn dogs, pretzels, and so on. Your goal is to continually improve your restaurant and your menu.
There have been a lot of games that do the whole “manage a restaurant” thing (I’m looking at you, Diner Dash). But I don’t know of another game that puts you in the cook’s shoes. Basically, as patrons enter your restaurant, you have to take their order and prepare their food for them. It’s mostly a matter of memorizing the right keys to press and then hitting them in the right order. That sounds simple, but your customers won’t wait forever. And they won’t tolerate bad food.
Complicating factors are such things as “chores” that have nothing to do with serving food but everything to do with running a restaurant (such as taking out the garbage, setting rat traps, and even describing a robbery suspect to the police). You can take side bets to earn more money. You also can appear on TV as part of the Iron Cook show or make perfect dishes for food ninjas as part of the Hungry Games Festivities (seriously).
At the heart of the game, though, is the cooking. You start with basic recipes that are fairly simple to prepare, but in order to make more money and attract better clientele, you have to upgrade your food with better ingredients. This adds complications to the preparation of the food. For example, to prepare lasagna, you have to type in the combination of “P-S-C-R” three times (each letter representing a different ingredient). But then, as the lasagna recipe is upgraded, patrons can ask for meat, then vegetables, and finally for stuffed lasagna (the combination for which is P-S-M-C-R-P-S-V-C-R-P-S-C-R). You have to keep track of what your patrons want, make it properly, all while other orders are pouring in.
As strange as it may sound, this is a really fun game. The challenge is in keeping track of a lot of information and making sure you don’t make mistakes in what you type. This can get complicated, as the same ingredient will be added by different keys in different recipes. For example, if you’re making a pizza that needs onions, that’s the “N” key. But if you’re making a hamburger, onions are “O.” Knowing when to throw the lobster in the pot so it can cook is essential, since that can give you extra time to open a wine bottle for the customer that’s getting ready to leave. It’s a lot of little micro-management, but each “day” can be played in less than five to ten minutes, and there’s plenty of fun to be had in those little bursts.
This game is available through Steam, although you can buy it independently elsewhere.