Overcooked 2 is a lot like going back for seconds: none of the courses you ate the first time around have changed, but the overall meal is still just as good, provided you’re still hungry. Coming into Overcooked 2, to say I was hungry for more of this co-op centric romp would be spot-on.
The original Overcooked caught me greatly by surprise and fast became one of my favorite co-op titles of the past few years. With the prospect of now being able to play with my friends online, I felt my mouth watering more and more with this arrival of its sequel. Once I dove in though, I quickly found myself filling up on what Overcooked 2 had to offer, making me think that I’ll stop before returning for thirds.
Overcooked 2 finds you once again back in the Onion Kingdom as your choice of a variety of different chefs ready to cook wave upon waves of food. This time around, your goal is to hold off hordes of “the Unbread,” which is a funny name for zombified bread. Witty, I know. To satiate these Unbread masses, you must once again set out in your food truck to travel the land and learn a variety of new culinary delicacies that will satisfy their hunger.
As for what’s new this time around, the game’s story mode offers a new story to enjoy, but the structure is pretty much the exact same as before. Overcooked 2 contains virtually the same number of levels from the original game, at least those vital to the story path. Certain “Kevin” levels–named after the Onion King’s dog–offer a greater challenge and are hidden on the map. Things play out just about the same as before, but the drive to get three stars on every level still remains.
New mechanical changes to the core gameplay are often few and far between if you exclude the new foods you’ll be cooking up. Other than that, you can now throw certain items in the kitchen, which can either help you get food more quickly into their proper places to start cooking, or can turn catastrophic if you mis-aim.
There’s also a new element of the overworld which will have you driving over switches in order to unlock paths to new levels. I really have no idea what this feature was supposed to add to the driving portion of Overcooked 2, but it was thrown in anyhow.
Online co-op is easily the biggest change in Overcooked 2 that many will be happy to see is present this time around, and it works just as it should. I played the entire story mode through with a friend and while it might not have had that same sort of jovial comfort that I love from couch co-op, it was a blast nonetheless. I also tried playing a few levels solo for a bit and found it to be mundane like in the previous game. Overcooked 2 is meant to be played in co-op, so take advantage of the new online component.
That being said, online co-op in Overcooked 2 does come with one major setback in that progress will not carry over for both characters in the story mode. Only the player who is hosting the session will see their progress saved, while the other player will be left with no benefits other than the joy of playing the game with a friend.
Additionally, even unlocks that you earn throughout the course of the campaign don’t carry over for both players. When I would unlock a new chef to play as upon finishing a certain level, my co-op partner would at no point receive the same rewards. Both of these drawbacks seem to be strange oversights on the part of Ghost Town Games, and it’s really a disappointment on the online co-op front. I would imagine that adding these features isn’t a difficult thing on the development side of things, and I’m not really sure why they would be absent.
Other than the addition of online co-op and a few mechanical tweaks, the only other new inclusions in Overcooked 2 would be the new levels, new chefs, and the aforementioned new recipes to cook with. None of these changes are so vastly different from the original game that you’ll be blown away by their incorporation, or that they will really leave a mark on you. In fact, on the levels front, I’d say that the kitchens found in the original Overcooked stand out in my mind a bit more in their uniqueness and variety.
Besides story mode, there’s not a whole lot else to do in Overcooked 2: an arcade mode will allow you to freely revisit the same levels that you have already played in the story just for fun, while a versus mode pits you against competing chefs in the pursuit of the highest score. Much like the previous game, I think my lingering issue with versus mode is that it really only works well if you have four players present. The game forces you to use four characters in this mode and even if you are only playing in a 1v1 matchup, you still have to swap between multiple characters in the kitchen, which I wish wasn’t the case.
All-in-all, a second portion of Overcooked‘s co-op insanity was exactly what I was looking for. As they say though, variety is the spice of life, and I think Overcooked 2 could have used just a bit more of that: variety. Still, the resulting sequel isn’t bad by any means and will absolutely fill you up if you’re looking for precisely more of what the original had to offer. If Ghost Town Games were to go back for a third romp in the kitchen though, I’d love to see a few new things seasoned in next time around.