Order Up!! Review

This charming cooking game is missing a couple of ingredients.

By Evan Campbell. Posted 07/02/2012 14:30 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Pretty-precise stylus controls; quirky style; humor; and character designs
Poison Mushroom for...
Repetitive game mechanics; grind-heavy and mediocre game progression; and some bad character stereotypes

Order Up!! left a bad taste in my mouth at first. The game froze 30 minutes into my first cooking foray and erased my progress along the way. But thanks to a quirky style and responsive (for the most part) touch controls, the eShop title recaptured me.

The Supervillain Studios-developed game throws you into the shoes (or toque) of a chef who’s literally dropped off onto the cleverly named Port Abello island. From here, you slice, dice, grill and cook your way through increasingly nicer restaurants.

To climb up the food chain, you must master a variety of cooking techniques, which all require somewhat-precise touch controls. For example, slicing tomatoes is as easy as swiping down with the stylus while sautéing onions requires a quick swipe up to flip the ingredient. But even after nailing down the basics, there’s time — and even team — management skills to hone. Chefs must balance making up to four different meals at the same time, along with delegating work to two different chefs.

This core mechanic works well and produces a nice mixture of stressful fun. At the same time, the game is a meaty experience, clocking in close to 10 hours, and cooking begins to feel more like a chore than a fun play experience. It doesn’t help that Order Up!! fails to spice up the basic components of cutting, cooking, grilling and frying. The meals and restaurants may change, but sadly the mechanics fail to evolve enough accordingly.

Order Up!! 3DS screenshot

Another bothersome aspect relates to game progression. Each restaurant requires you to meet about five different criterions. The first few dining establishments feel great pacing-wise, not overstaying their welcome. However, the later half of the title demands similar conditions but just more of it, which revolve around the coins currency. As such, and unfortunately, grinding becomes a necessity in the game’s second half.

The restaurant and character designs — along with the voice acting — definitely highlight the title. Each new eatery feels unique and possesses style, and the waiters and customers deliver flair (and some stereotypes) in spades. The ninja server took the cake for me, stealthily appearing and vanishing before patrons (with specialized animations to boot). I also found a soft spot for Count Steakula, who desired rare meat for his cold heart. Sadly, the quirky style also delivers a few duds and cringe-worthy moments: There’s a country, Larry the Cable Guy-like visitor who farts to complement the chef.

Order Up!! delivers an eye-catching take on the cooking genre. But the title ultimately serves as more of a fun distraction than an enthralling experience.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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