Cook, Serve, Delicious!! is a game about cooking, serving and deliciousing. Your goal is to raise to the ranks of top chef by working in a variety of restaurants and using the money you earn to upgrade your own and make it the best in the world.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is a typing game when you get down to it. The way it works is the restaurant you’re working in has a number of slots for customers’ orders. You press a number and that brings you into the cooking and serving window. From there you’ve got to put the ingredients together the right way and you do that by pressing whichever letter keys correspond to the ingredients. For example, you want to make a burger and the customer wants a meat patty, onions, mushrooms, fried egg and a regular bun. So you’ve got to press M, N, hit space to move onto the veg section, E and R. That’s only 5 key presses and it’s not that hard initially. You just press the right keys in the right order and if you’ve been typing for years you won’t even have to look at the keyboard.
It doesn’t sound exciting but let me tell you once rush hour hits and the orders come flying in by the second it gets your adrenaline going. Each level has you preparing an assortment of different foods, none of which are prepared the exact same way. Customers can ask for different things on their burgers; different amounts of beef, loads of vegetables or none at all and three kinds of buns to choose from. There are also holding stations which allow you to prepare certain foods in advance. You can have a pile of hot dogs waiting so you can cover it in ketchup and stick it in a bun straight away instead of cooking a wiener up every time a customer comes in.
In Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! The holding stations actually add a good bit of depth to the gameplay. Now not only do you have to deal with orders coming in, you also have to decide what to prepare in advance. Food in the holding station will go off very quickly so you’ve got to time it right to avoid serving rotten meat. Additionally you can put salads in the holding station which aren’t served as orders but increase customers’ patience as they have a snack while waiting in line. The use of holding stations affords the player some extra choice in how they’ll tackle a level. You can prepare a boatload of meat loaf in preparation for a rush hour so it’s ready or you could just make one and have a bunch of salad so you can take your time with more difficult dishes.
And let me tell you, they get very difficult very quickly. The first few levels are pretty easy. Your dishes only have one or two levels of preparation. Funnel cakes have to be fried and then topped afterwards. Burgers have to be fried, topped with meat and onions and then topped with lettuce or ketchup. Chinese food can go to hell. You’ve got to pick the right oil, the right meat, fry it then wait, choose a flavouring, put the meat on the plate and cover it in the correct seasoning but also garnish it with the right vegetables and herbs. You’re looking at ten or more keystrokes just for a single plate and keep in mind they have be in the right order. What makes them especially trying is the fact that you have a bigger choice of sauces and garnishes so you’ve got more potential to get it wrong.
It’s a good thing then that Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! allows you to choose your own difficulty. It doesn’t do so through a difficulty setting but it lets you choose how you want to play. For starters, you have your own restaurant which you can upgrade with money earned from working in other restaurants. Upgrading your cleaning facilities will mean washing dishes won’t take as long while you’re serving food so example. You’re also given a choice of modes when you play in your custom restaurant. Classic mode, which is the same gameplay as the rest of the game, Zen mode which is slower paced and makes for a relaxing time. This mode is especially useful for practising recipes since you can take your time with it. Then there’s Stress mode. I think the name alone speaks for itself. These modes do not apply to the other restaurants but each one has its own difficulty rating.
You don’t get to customise the menu in these ones but each one has different levels that get progressively harder. The sheer variety of restaurants to choose from means you don’t have to stick with the easiest or the hardest ones. You can go where your heart desires and find what’s right for you. I think this is a great system because it prevents you from getting stuck and also ensures the gameplay doesn’t get stale. When it comes to making your own menu it’s easy to keep picking the same things over and over but when that choice is out of your hands you have to learn the new recipes.
So that’s Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!. It’s stressful but it’s mad fun. It’s so quick paced and easy to pick up that it becomes hard to put down. The gameplay is perfectly complemented by the excellent sound design and graphics. There’s a smooth jazzy soundtrack that fits the visual aesthetic perfectly and the sizzles as you dunk delicious looking chicken wings into hot oil or the sound of a beer glass filling up to just the right amount are almost enough to keep me coming back.
Overall I’d say Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is a great sequel to an already very enjoyable game. It expands on the original and mixes things up just enough to keep things fresh. Its addictive blend of chaos and cookery will no doubt have you coming back for seconds.