Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, PC and Linux
After Cook, Serve, Delicious 2's success on PC and PS4, Vertigo Gaming have added this fun simulator to the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch menu.
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 makes an underwhelming first impression as it all feels very chaotic at first glance with an unappealing starter course of tutorials and rushed introduction. Players go from having a 5 star restaurant to tower block start-up in an instant and are forced to restart a new business venture on their own. That said, starting from the bottom does give more sense of accomplishment. The player is given the task of creating a new empire of restaurants offering foods of various world cultures and a generous menu catalogue.
Progression is frequent with the levelling up system rewarding new items and restaurant tiers as the player’s reputation and performances improve. There are over 25 more restaurants to unlock as you progress, with each restaurant having it’s own sub-levels that have a noticeable difficulty curve. Within each level the player simulates a day running the nominated restaurant, sort of like a chef-for-hire, and it is no easy feat. The simulation requires a constant concentration as players must prepare, cook and serve the food requested by a constant flow of customers. Each item of food and every customer’s request is timed so there is constant pressure to deliver and achieve perfect scores per order. Each order placed by a customer is unique and will require a combination of items you must serve up using the joy-con to match-up the respective items to the customer request. The accuracy and quality of this determines the score per order, varying from bad to average to perfect.
The game starts you off easy with fairly straightforward meals to prepare, such as pretzels and hot dogs, however as you unlock more along the way, your menus increase in stature and in volume so rather than serving up a simple hot dog with ketchup, it's preparing and placing the ingredients of an ‘Italian Rome Lasagna’ in a very specific order and cooking it for the right amount of time. However, the rate in which the difficulty increases is manageable.
Running a restaurant isn’t all food and filling up bellies. Someone has to clean the toilets and wash the dishes, literally. Fortunately, the sanitary tasks on Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 are much quicker than real life but they do add to the pressure of the day. In between orders, sanitary tasks will frequently come up that must be done to keep guests happy.
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is unlikely to catch your eye with its simple art design but it will certainly make you hungry and give you a hankering for your favourite foods. Whilst this simulator does lack any cinematic experience or impressive visuals, it doesn’t really need to have that in order to achieve the functionality it’s after. During simulation, the player is gifted with realistic sound effects that go with working a restaurant and cooking various meals. You'll hear the chips frying, the beer tank pouring and the dishwasher churning all whilst the customer footfall is nattering between meals. The sound effects infused with the pace of the simulation help create the restaurant atmosphere and make this experience all the more realistic.
Each level up rewards the player with new items for the design of their main restaurant, similar to that of an IKEA workshop in 2D. Designer mode gives players the chance to create a restaurant to match their personality, their menu or the culture they’re aiming for with a range of seating, lighting, walls, decor and art. Designer mode is fairly easy to use but there is very little room to really create, so whilst you unlock a satisfying amount of items to design with, it is restrictive in what you can do with it.
This game felt very well suited to the Nintendo Switch and whilst playable on handheld mode, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is a much better experience in docked mode, particularly when playing cooperatively. Running a restaurant with a friend is significantly more appealing and certainly more fun. The team work that is involved is absolutely vital in your success and communication is key. I would go as far to recommend this game for any two individuals keen to build a relationship or even to test their existing one. I may be overselling it but co-op mode really relies on trust and both players delivering on their designated tasks. Whilst my team mate prepared and cooked the food, I took care of serving the customers and the sanitary tasks. Constant communication helped us improve and before long we were achieving near perfect results on each level which had us high-fiving for a day's job well done, which gave a thrill I never thought running a restaurant would achieve! I’m not saying this has made me remotely close to wanting to run a restaurant but what a fantastic insight to what it must be like.
I judged a book by its cover with this fun simulation piece and learnt my lesson. Be patient, invest some time and try new things because it may just be a pleasant surprise. With 30 restaurants, 350+ levels and 180+ menu options, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 offers over 60 hours of enjoyable gameplay, if you can handle the pressure.