In the original Wii videos that we saw (where we really saw the controller and nothing else), one of the game types that was promised was a cooking type game. The game type seemed at the time perfect for the system, and very likely at that. Cooking Mama was somewhat new at the time on the DS and was pretty good, from what I’ve heard. I was eager for this type of game, and sure enough Cooking Mama was brought quickly to the system to so so reviews.
Because of these not so great reviews, which essentially said it was a direct port of the DS version with not great controls, I decided to forego the early Cooking Mama games in hopes that the series would get better as newer iterations came about. Not to mention I wasn’t going to pay $50 for a game you could get on the DS for $25. After almost three years, I’ve been hearing the same complaints about each new version of Cooking Mama, until finally I see some videos of Order Up! and decide that finally, it looks like someone decided to do it right on the Wii, so I went out and bought it.
Upon buying it the first thing I noted was that while Cooking Mama had been a rather pricey $50 at launching, Order Up! was a reasonable $40. I think this really needs to become a target point for casual games like this and if more games came onto the market at this price, perhaps these games would do better.
The Nickelodeon-like art of the game is cute and original. This was one of the reasons I felt the game was worth buying. I think the style is largely American, and can’t see Japanese really getting into it, but it kind of works. Especially in the early stages when you really are in charge of a dingey burger joint. I think it is highly original and am glad to see someone doing something different.
The game itself i think is simple and straight forward. You go are a cook in the game trying to advance your restaurant to become a better place. You can buy upgrades to your kitchen, buy spices, new menu items, and hire secondary cooks to help out as well. All this adds a little more depth and strategy to the game that from what I have heard, Cooking Mama doesn’t have. However, the menu items are fewer in this particular game from what I’ve heard as well. You start generally with only 3 in a restaurant and move up to 12. There are three levels I believe which brings you up to a total of 36 different recipes. Some are tedious, some are really fun. All of which have pretty decent movement controls that completely utilize the Wii.
Like any Wii game there are a lot of mini-games. Besides cooking, at random times in the kitchen the inspector will come in and make you wash dishes, rats will attack your Kitchen and you will have to flick them away, or your assistants will fall asleep. There are also games outside of the kitchen. If you click the newspaper delivery guy there is a duckhunt-like newspaper shooting game, there is a slots game, and I also know there are a few other hidden games that I haven’t found yet.
While I haven’t played Cooking Mama, I find it hard to say that you should buy that game over this one. The simple, yet good controls of Order Up make it a very good buy. Even if the price was the same, I would say that Order Up might be the better of the two, but by saving you $10 in price, I find it hard to believe anyone would purchase Cooking Mama over this game.
For it’s original art and fun gameplay I give this game a B. It may not last long, but if this game gets priced down to $30 go out and grab it, because it is pretty good quality while it lasts and can be really addicting as well