Title: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!
Developer: Vertigo Gaming
Publisher: Vertigo Gaming
Genre: Management, Simulation
Official Site: https://www.cookservedelicious.com/main/
Release Date: September 13, 2017
Where To Buy It: Steam
There is a frantic elegance to Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! When you start getting to the more difficult levels (and there are a LOT of levels), keeping your head above water can be quite a panicked experience. However, it achieves a zen-like quality when you’re firing on cylinders, getting out perfect orders and taking care of chores at lightning speed. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is a great deal of frantic fun, easy to pick up and put down quickly or sit down with for longer sessions.
The gameplay in CSD2 is essentially a fast-paced exercise in typing and memory. Each food has specific keys for specific items – a customer wants a cheeseburger with swiss cheese, lettuce, bacon, and ketchup. After pulling up their order, you hit “M-S-L-B-K” and get their order out to them. Perfect. Sounds simple, right?
It isn’t. While you’re typing that, two more customers line up. They order similar things, but you’re out of cooked burger patties. So they have to wait while you cook more. Then two more enter, and they want salads. Then you have to clean the dishes before you can hand out any more orders. And, oh no, the lunch rush is starting in fifteen seconds, and you have no side dishes prepared.
It’s a phenomenal dose of adrenaline, and the feeling of satisfaction when you fly through the lunch rush without messing up a single order is amazing. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is a game of momentum – doing well causes that to build up and, as your confidence surges, you continue to succeed. But one mistake can fluster you, throw off your timing just so, and more mistakes are sure to follow if you cannot regain your composure.
Unlike the first game, where you carefully crafted your own restaurant’s menu, the bulk of the gameplay in CSD2 revolves around making “guest appearances” at the variety of restaurants so that the massive menu (over 180 items) gets explored in its entirety. You still have the chance to build your own menu and customize your restaurant, but the campaign mostly revolves around finding success in a variety of themed restaurants.
There is actually quite a bit more strategy in the sequel than in the original, and much more than it initially seems. The main way this is achieved is through “holding stations,” which allows you to prepare a variety of foods ahead of time. The strategic decision-making involved in using these effectively is the most fun and rewarding aspect of the game. Side dishes add extra money to every order, but they take up a valuable spot that could hold plenty of premade burger patties. Using these effectively is the best way to unlock the highest levels and make the most money.
The presentation of the game is somewhat hit and miss. The customers and restaurant are very cartoonish, while the food itself looks pretty darn delicious. The sound effects are suitably chunky – it makes a pretty apparent noise when you place an item on a plate, and each sound effect is unique enough that it becomes obvious when certain events are happening: a random robber invading the restaurant, rush hour on the way, and the like. The soundtrack is also suitably jazzy, with a few different earworms playing quietly in the background of different areas.
Besides the addition of holding stations, a few other elements come in to add even more variety to Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Greater difficulty customization lets you create the cooking challenge of a lifetime. Local co-op lets two people join in on the chaos at the same time, although the ultimate co-op video game cooking experience has to be Overcooked. Unlockable items to help you customize your restaurants are earned through having successful campaign missions, and the campaign itself takes dozens of hours to complete. There is a lot of content available here, which is a big improvement over the original.
Not everything in Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is culinary perfection. The menu system is convoluted. With the influx of new content, it can be difficult to find the things you want without clicking through and out of several screens. One of the main frustrations is that it can be difficult to find the foods to practice when you get to a new restaurant. Going in completely blind throws off your timing and makes for mistakes, but it is frustrating to go back and page through the food shop in order to practice making General Tso’s Chicken.
The loot box system could also use a little work. Players unlock things as they make progress in the campaign, generally aesthetic touches for building your own restaurant. They’re caught between a strange place of being true “loot boxes” and just being unlockables, but I just found them to be annoying and distracting after completing a level.
Verdict: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is essentially a bigger and better version of the first. It is a frantic, difficult, and extremely rewarding restaurant management game with a cool aesthetic and a surprising level of depth. The overall presentation is not phenomenal, and some of the new systems do not totally gel, but it has a lot to offer for an inexpensive indie title.
- Tons of content
- Satisfying and rewarding
- Difficulty can be adjusted immensely
- Presentation is hit and miss
- Not all the new features gel