Order Up!! Review (3DSWare)

When it comes to culinary games, let’s be honest, there’s not much that’s actually solid in this department. Order Up!!, developed by SuperVillain Studios (known for “Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake” and “Tron: Evolution”, both for PSP) and published by UTV Ignition, aims to take a stab at the genre. Question is, does it serve a fine course or does it fall into the same line of shovelware titles?

The first thing I picked up on was the game’s art style and humor. It’s very light hearted but not overly so where it seems too childish. It actually reminded me of a Nickelodeon-style animation from the older shows I used to watch. The 3D effect is also well done and gives you a sense of actually being in the kitchen with a solid amount of depth. You’ll start off by choosing a male or female chef, whom is then deployed to land at the nearest restaurant to work at. Starting off as a tutorial, you’ll be working in a fast food restaurant to get your bearings on how to cook your meals for customers. While you’ll have your stereotypical nerdy manager guiding you through the process, with some chuckle-worthy dialogue, you’ll be pushing food out with ease. Thanks to intuitive touch controls, you’ll become a legitimate chef in minutes and as you get the feel for it, be able to multitask prepping several different ingredients at once.

Upon completing the tutorial, you’ll earn your first restaurant (which is a diner) and it is here where the game essentially kicks off. You now have access to an overview map of the city you’re in, as well as the phone and newspapers to order new ingredients, hire more staff, upgrade kitchen utilities, buy special recipes and call for some cooking tips. When it comes to running a restaurant, it’s about getting the food out as best and quickly as possible to the customer, right? Well, same exact concept is in effect here. Consider it a cooking simulator but with humor incorporated. As customers come in and take their seat, you’ll use the touch screen to click on a table to start cooking for them. Each time you click one of the tables, it shows the current status of the customer’s mood, this way you know which table you should probably take care of first. As the waiter/waitress takes their order, there’ll be some conversation between them, showcasing hints as to what extra ingredients the customer is hinting for. It’s an interesting system and adds an extra layer of immersion to the game’s experience.

When it comes to cooking your food, keeping the meals hot and pushing them out simultaneously is the key to earning better reputation and more money. Cooking the variety of dishes the game offers also doesn’t feel repetitive either, thanks to the cleverness in controls and how to go about preparing each food item. For example, to grate cheese, you swipe the stylus on the touch screen diagonally up and down as if you’re actually grating cheese. To cook burgers, you’ll pay attention to the temperature meter of each side of the meat and flip it by simulating a “flipping burger” motion with the stylus (a counter-clockwise spin). I could literally sit here and type the extensive varieties of ways to cook various different food items but the bottom line is, it’s impressive and doesn’t feel tacky in any way.

At the end of your run, you’ll read what the customers thought of your restaurant, providing some constructive feedback as to what improvements you need to make in your cooking or if you’re doing a solid job and to keep at it. You’ll achieve stars for completing certain stipulations while running your restaurant and once you’ve achieved 4 out of 5 stars, you’ll have to call in the “Food Critic” to see if you deserve that fifth and final star for the restaurant. Should you fail, you can always call them back and try it again so there’s nothing to really fear should you mess up. Once you earn your fifth star, you’ll unlock the next restaurant to purchase and advance to. There are five restaurants to own overall, each getting fancier, as well as adding different dishes, as you progress. Occasionally you’ll also have to play some mini-games such as collect the flying newspapers that the paperboy dropped, slice thrown peppers from a sensei, smack rodents trying to scare off customers, and a few others too. It helps keep the game fresh and changes it up once in a while, which is a nice addition.

Overall, Order Up!! is a prime example of a cooking game done right. It does a great job of making the player feel like they’re behind the counter doing all the work and feels rewarding in achieving perfect standards for the customers. The visuals and audio are surprisingly high caliber for a downloadable eShop title and while it’s going for $9.99, it has the quality of a retail title on the 3DS and will last players a solid amount of time to complete. Even after completion, you can always tackle “Quick Play” to just enjoy the game itself. If you’ve ever had interest in a cooking title or are just looking for something different from your typical genre, Order Up!! is a great downloadable that’s well worth the asking price and ranks amongst the better of the titles released on the eShop.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thank you to UTV Ignition for providing us with a review code for “Order Up!!”.