Cook, Serve Delicious! Review - You Got That Right, Buddy
Never once in my life have I ever wanted to own or work in a restaurant, but I have had an undeniable thirst for cooking games since the late '90s where my only friends were my PSX and an odd abundance of import titles revolving around preparing food.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! takes me back to those sad (happy?) days, but brings it to the modern industry in a way that I would describe with one word: Delightful.
In Cook, Serve, Delicious! players are tasked not only will making food, but also with dealing with the other hurdles that come with running a restaurant. A single day's worth of effort entails cooking, cleaning, adjusting your menu, buying or upgrading foods, checking your email, and placing bets. Of course, this isn't all.
But first, the gameplay!
Want to cook some fish? Press left, right, down, and S. Need to take out the trash? Press up and right 4 times, then S to sanitize your hands.
The controls in the PC version of Cook, Serve, Delicious! are so simple in concept that it feels silly explaining them. Each dish has particular ingredients or actions you must do, and the combinations of keys vary each (though you can change your particular keybindings on a per-dish basis).
Not only do the key combinations vary per dish, but there are multiple recipes for most foods and you must be ready to handle different variations of a dish. For example:
- Man one comes in and asks for three meat patties. You put them on the grill to cook. Once complete, he asks for two pieces of bacon and cheese. Grill key combination: M(eat), M(eat), M(eat), Enter. Burger key combination: M(eat), M(eat), M(eat), B(acon), B(acon), C(heese), Enter.
- Man two comes in and asks for one meat patty. You put it on the grill to cook. Once complete, he asks for bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomato, and onions. Grill key combination: M(eat), Enter. Burger key combination: M(eat), B(acon), L(ettuce), C(heese), T(omato), O(nion), Enter.
This type of control over your cooking and chores is particularly fun because every day in-game is a challenge, and no two days are the same. You can set your keybindings per dish to make your tasks easier or more fun.
Of course, this type of control scheme can make things complicated, especially when making more intricate dishes like soups. To some, this can be a lot of fun. To others, making these complex dishes is akin to torture. (I'm looking at you, soups.)
The iOS version of Cook, Serve, Delicious! uses touch screen controls instead of typing, as per the usual with iOS devices. If you are not confident in your typing ability, the iOS version will be easier to manage.
Day by day, bet by bet
To go along with the stressful task of simply filling orders, players must also make business decisions once the restaurant's doors close. You receive special offers in your email inbox, bet on your next day's performance, purchase new food (and upgrades), set your daily menu, get into some online dating, purchase new features for your restaurant, and take part in special cooking events for money on the side.
.. Does that sound like a lot to take in?
Those of you looking for something a little more robust in your cooking sim will find it in Cook, Serve, Delicious! thanks to all of the things mentioned in the paragraph above. Not only must you work hard during business hours, but you also must make the right decisions during your time off.
The road to becoming a 5-star restaurant is a long one!
Amongst all of the tasks mentioned above above, you also must ride out the grind to the coveted title of 5-star restaurant owner. Part of that grind is getting high perfect combos for a certain number of days, passing health inspections, upgrading certain amounts of foods, successfully participating in events, and completing 20 days of service.. per star tier.
It takes some time to climb your way up to a higher amount of stars, but the sense of satisfaction is great when you see your restaurant take on a new, more sophisticated look. New opportunities and features open up with each tier, and with them new challenges to overcome.
While everything else about the game is amazing, the climb to restaurant relevance in Cook, Serve, Delicious! is disappointingly linear. Usually you reach the required goals just by playing the game for the 20 required days, and you cannot be downgraded based on continual poor performance. But perhaps this is not something most would call an issue.
Cook, Serve, buy me!
A restaurant or cooking sim may not be down everyone's alley, but Cook, Serve, Delicious! is one that I feel most people could enjoy -- if they can deal with the challenging gameplay.
Underneath the simple visuals and slight stigma over being a 'cooking game', one will find a surprisingly deep and challenging game here. With so much to manage and core gameplay mechanics that never get old as you progress, it's hard to really dislike Cook, Serve, Delicious! -- but sometimes you really want to.