Are you sure this game isn't about cannibalism?
Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked is an interesting take on the burgeoning cooking simulation genre. Red Fly Studio succeeded in making a game out of a cookbook as players use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to make 12 meals that are based on actual recipes from the book "How to Boil Water."
Unfortunately, there are only 12 recipes. The game advertises over 30, but that number comes from the different parts of the recipes. For the first recipe, which is a hearty bacon and eggs breakfast, both bacon and eggs are factored into the count of 30 recipes.
The game does have a humorous premise, though. Susie Fogelson and Mory Thomas, both hosts on the Food Network, magically teleport outside of the television and into your kitchen. Sadly, the television wasn't too big so they're weirdly small. The duo provides witty and helpful commentary, and then critiques your meal at the end. Naturally, since they're small, the food is freaking huge.
As far as the gameplay goes, it's what you'd expect. Use the Wii Remote to simulate chopping, stirring, flipping, and many more motions that relate to cooking. The Nunchuk is used for less precise motions, such as when you have to turn an onion so you can cut it in a different way. All the controls and motions work fine, until you realize that you can just make small, indistinct motions for almost everything.
As I went through the two to three hours of gameplay, I found my original, grand gestures of chopping and egg-cracking devolving into tiny shakes of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. This is the type of game that works fine with the Wii Remote, but it really could have benefited from Wii MotionPlus.
The meals themselves are somewhat pedestrian, ranging from pancakes to grilled cheese. They're all still fun to make though, and the graphics are good enough that the meals are appealing. It wasn't too much fun playing this game on an empty stomach. Luckily, if you're hankering for some real food, you can take your gaming skills into a real kitchen as all the recipes are included in the instruction manual.
Each step of the recipes is broken up into different mini-games. You'll be swirling oil around a pan, chopping up vegetables, flipping pancakes, stirring stuff and more. They all tread the thin line between being similar to the real life activity, and being fun in a video game. Since the recipes aren't abbreviated, they can take a long time. Luckily, you can speed up time so you don't have to wait an hour for your tuna to sear. During that time, you can also take advantage of one of the game's addictive scoring concepts. You get a big multiplier for multitasking.
That's one of the things that will have you coming back, at least for a little while. You get scored and graded by the two hosts, and you get medals depending on how well you do. The goal is to do everything as efficiently as possible while still making the finished product taste great. Sometimes, this can get pretty difficult.
Also adding to the game's length are a few multiplayer modes. There's a one-controller multiplayer mode where players alternate steps with their friends, and there is also a cook-off mode where two players go head-to-head in split-screen multiplayer. There is no real difference between the multiplayer and the main recipes, but the experience is fun with friends.
The game's sound design is quite good. Designed by Gl33k, who also worked on Mushroom Men, and Ghostbusters Wii, it works fantastically with the tone and setting. Everything changes very subtly and organically as you do different things, and it truly adds to the overall experience.
Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked is a good cooking game. It is fun, uses real recipes, and has decent controls, but it only has 12 different recipes to prepare, which equates to about three hours of gameplay. There's not much to do and that's the game's huge glaring miscue after that. Still, there might be some games in the genre out there with more content, but I doubt they are as enjoyable as Cook or Be Cooked.