Review: Order Up!

Nathan Meunier | 28 Aug 2008 20:55
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Whether it's chopping veggies, flipping burgers, folding burritos, or grabbing a pan off a hot burner, most of the Wii Remote controls for the cooking minigames are intuitive. However, they're not always as responsive as they should be, and this can make for a few frustrating moments when orders are piling up. Though not necessary for play, the Nunchuk attachment allows you to flit back and forth between stations with ease - extremely helpful when you've got chicken in the fryer, tomatoes to chop, a pizza in the oven, meat grilling, a pot boiling over, and onions sautéing all at once.

Working on multiple dishes simultaneously can get crazy when you're plating for a table of four and each recipe has numerous steps. Fortunately, hiring sous-chefs allows you to delegate some of the grunt work, and you can select from a dozen or so different potential employees who have their own areas of expertise.

At the end of the shift (typically after you've served around five or six tables) the day's receipts are tallied up. Your hard-earned money can be spent on unlocking new recipes, buying spices, upgrading equipment, and hiring new staff, among other things, including eventually buying new restaurants. New eateries (each with their own theme) aren't available for purchase until you complete certain tasks and meet the benchmarks necessary to obtain five stars at your current locale. These tasks are essentially the same in each location, which is a little disappointing, but it doesn't take much away from the fast-paced cooking fun.

The road to culinary greatness is littered with plenty of stomachs to fill and bizarre faces to feed. Your clientele changes slightly, depending on the kind of restaurant you're running at any given time, but each has their own eccentricities and peculiar tastes. From the local farmer with gastrointestinal issues and a preference for "stanky" food to the crusty cowboy who likes all his food burnt to a crisp, the ever-revolving cast of weirdos never lets up. The impeccably silly voice work flowing liberally throughout the game can be a little over-stimulating at times, but it really makes the hilarious personalities of the customers, waiters, and kitchen staff members shine through.

Order-Up! rises above being just a culinary minigame collection and takes the next logical evolutionary step in the virtual cooking genre. The game has a natural flow that closely mirrors the kinetic energy of actual restaurant food prep - largely a good thing. It's the most well-rounded foodie game to date.

Bottom Line: Addictive cooking action in a zany cartoon world makes one hell of a recipe for fun.

Recommendation: Buy it. You know you crave this pixel cuisine.

Nathan Meunier is a robot made of meat. He's also a freelance writer with an unhealthy videogame obsession.

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