Cooking Mama: Cookstar Review — Just Like Mama Used to Make

Cooking Mama: Cookstar is a solid if predictable entry in the series that provides a decent amount of fun and content for the cost, but not much else.

Cooking Mama: Cookstar is better than many of the other games in the series; it has more content and recipes, it has more unlockables, and it has solid gameplay with more than one control method. It even has co-op.

Though it more or less plays exactly how you would expect it to if you've played one of these games before, there's a lot more to love here than might initially be expected.

Cooking Mama: Cookstar Review — Just Like Mama Used to Make

 

Let's see what it takes to be the next Cookstar

Creating such a familiar feeling is an impressive feat seeing how the game was the first in the series to not be developed by the series' original studio, Office Create. Cookstar was handled by the folks at Planet Entertainment and 1st Playable Productions, who have done fairly well handling the beloved IP.

The gameplay is as simple as it's always been, what with the simple controls and helpful instructions from Mama, but it's all done in a competent and charming enough way that I wanted to keep playing and playing.

Breaking down the various steps of both complicated and simple recipes from all over the world into little WarioWare style minigames is still a winning formula, and it's one that Cookstar successfully continues to utilize. You'll be preparing lamb gyros and pork gyoza in no time, and completing recipes allows you to earn more recipes to work through, of which there are 80 in total. 

This is on top of the customization options for Mama as well, and tons of cosmetic stuff to unlock for free.

There's a newly added Vegetarian mode for those who abstain from the meat life, which was a long-requested addition to the series, so that's worth a golf clap, too. There's also a co-op mode called "Potluck" with its own set of mini-games, which, while not all that deep, are decent fun.

The eponymous Cookstar is itself a new theme and mode added to the game. You see, you're trying to become the next "Cookstar" by cooking awesome food and then sharing photos of it online, which you can also share on Twitter IRL through the use of social media integration on Nintendo Switch.

Don't let the internet-savvy angle throw you off, though: it's more or less just an added aesthetic that changes based on how well you cooked each dish, which you are still graded on with the traditional three-star system.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my fun applying little stickers and filters to my photos, and laughing at the idea of a rainbow grilled cheese sandwich being served in a fancy restaurant. 

 Don't forget, food can be art too.

The game was also apparently meant to incorporate blockchain technology for a number of reasons, such as varying character animations and helping to prevent piracy. This aspect of the game was handled by Planet Digital Partners, who seem to be another branch of Planet Entertainment. Luckily, it doesn't get in the way. 

Cooking Mama: Cookstar feels like a shiner, more content-rich version of the installments of the series made for the Nintendo Wii. It has the same 3D graphical style that is competent and appealing, but nothing amazing, and both feature motion controls.

The motion controls aren't the best I've seen for a Switch title. but they work just fine, and you'll find yourself doing a lot of different motions and actions in order to cook the perfect dish. You'll be tilting the controller to grease a pan with butter, copping vegetables like you would in real life, and even making softer, subtle motions in order to rip leaves off of a head of lettuce.

It can be quite fun if sometimes finicky.  

Unfortunately, the dual control modes come with a major disclaimer: You can only play the game with motion controls in TV mode and if you're playing in handheld mode, you must use the traditional non-motion controls. You can pair Joy-Cons to the game in handheld mode, but this doesn't really fix the problem.

It's a shame you can't use either whenever you like; being able to swap between the control methods whenever you like would have made the game both more accessible and more fun.

Cooking Mama: Cookstar Review — The Bottom Line

Apparently this game had an "Air Fryer Consultant". To be honest, it shows.

Pros

  • Fun and easy to pick up and play
  • Lots of content for single player
  • Decent Co-op
  • Vegetarian Friendly

Cons

  • Exciting control options are limited
  • Not much different from past titles
  • Music is fine but nothing special

Cooking Mama: Cookstar is a pretty fun if familiar addition to the series that was handled well. There just isn't much here that shakes up the formula. Even if it is decent fun and there's a little bit here for everyone, there's nothing that puts it a peg above the average game. 

More than anything else, I wish this game's release wasn't so shrouded in mystery so that people who want to play it could do so.

Cooking Mama Cookstar is available now physically for Nintendo Switch, with the digital release coming at an unspecified future date.

Our Rating
7
Cooking Mama: Cookstar is a solid if predictable entry in the series that provides a decent amount of fun and content for the cost, but not much else.

Contributor

I'm just your average basement-dwelling eclectic and eccentric video gamer who does his best to make a point, share experiences, and talk to people without swallowing his own tongue. I'm mostly into Platformers and RPG's, but I'll try pretty much anything once, and I'm also trying to find something different and interesting to play, and then share with as many people as I can. I can also beat the entire first world in Super Meat Boy while wearing oven mitts.

Published Apr. 3rd 2020

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