We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.
Wii

North America

Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked

by Neal Ronaghan - November 24, 2009, 1:01 pm PST
Total comments: 7

7

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.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 9 7 8 4.5 7
Graphics
8

Everything looks like the food it's supposed to be. The two hosts have an art style reminiscent of Red Fly Studio's Ghostbusters Wii game. Their mouths also move more than they talk, which is weird.

Sound
9

Gl33k once again proves that they are one of the best game sound design teams out there with relaxing and calming music that subtly changes to reflect how and what you're cooking.

Control
7

It all works, but this is a case where it is easier to do little vague motions than to do the more realistic ones that the game encourages. Still, everything is responsive.

Gameplay
8

You'll be cooking indoor cheeseburgers, fancy grilled cheese, some Mexican food, and more. There's a fun high score element that encourages you to try to make the meal as efficiently as possible.

Lastability
4.5

With only 12 meals to prepare, there's not a lot of content here. However, some fun multiplayer modes add some legs to it. On the single-player side, the only replay value is in beating your best score.

Final
7

Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked is a lot of fun despite its brevity. The gameplay is solid, the controls are fine, and the sound is awesome. Unfortunately, there really isn't a lot of content, and that holds back the game considerably.

Summary

Pros
  • Amazing sound design
  • Fun gameplay
Cons
  • Only 12 meals
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

KDR_11kNovember 24, 2009

Quote:

Red Fly Studio succeeded in making a game out of a cookbook

"How to serve man"?

I feel like that would have made the shortness of the game perfectly fine.

But was the platforming delicious?

MorariNovember 24, 2009

This ultimately sounds pretty boring, especially given the lack of recipes. I hated Cooking Mama for much the same reasons I believe that I would hate this; boring, repetitive tasks with no real purpose. On the flip side, I thought that Order Up was great, as the progression and choice in assistants added a lot to the strategy and story. Now if only someone would create a game like Order Up but with more advanced restaurant sim-like mechanics. I want to choose the price of meals and handle order/inventory! :P

Surprised it turned out this well.  It was kind of terrible when I played an early demo, though I could see its potential.  I also had to laugh when I saw this advertised on TV.

Quote from: Morari

This ultimately sounds pretty boring, especially given the lack of recipes. I hated Cooking Mama for much the same reasons I believe that I would hate this; boring, repetitive tasks with no real purpose. On the flip side, I thought that Order Up was great, as the progression and choice in assistants added a lot to the strategy and story. Now if only someone would create a game like Order Up but with more advanced restaurant sim-like mechanics. I want to choose the price of meals and handle order/inventory! :P

As a bit of a casual fan of these kinds of game, I'd totally dig that game concept.

Quote from: MegaByte

Surprised it turned out this well.  It was kind of terrible when I played an early demo, though I could see its potential (the control was great, pre M+).  I also had to laugh when I saw this advertised on TV.

Share + Bookmark





Genre Simulation
Developer Namco Bandai

Worldwide Releases

na: Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked
Release Year 2009
PublisherNamco Bandai
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement