Order Up! for PlayStation 3 is a virtual kitchen simulator that features a chef (male or female) working up the professional ladder in the island setting of Port Abello (like the mushroom… get it???). This game has plenty of play on words (like the one you just heard) with comedic/spoof elements that provide “grate” entertainment throughout the “creamy” smooth multitasking format.
Order Up! offers optional 3D graphics (on compatible televisions) and split-screen multiplayer modes (cooperative or competitive). This cooking simulation/time management player game was originally released on the Nintendo Wii.
Order Up! has great sound and appealing graphics, plus four save slots for a medium length experience (experienced gamers could conquer the game in single digit hours). This enjoyable game has a medium learning curve for younger players as the fast-paced kitchen area lets players run free as they choose preparation and cooking steps from the ordering tickets. Players learn the basics at the fast food joint called Burger Face then must control which customers to serve and expedite food orders when finished.
Players must work under pressure to please customers as they work up from restaurants like the Gravy Chug, El Fuego, Stuffolini’s, and Kung Fu Fusion until reaching Chez Haute. Routine tasks give players some predictable elements to build on while they determine how they management the actions to reach the chained goal of a satisfied customer, which means more money for staff, development, and, ultimately, the five-star Chez Haute.
Multitasking masters have a definite advantage here as players progress their coin tallies to purchase upgrades, menu items, ingredients, and other special items. The daily newspaper (where you might get a good review from the food critic), daily time constraints, regular food deliveries and trips to the market all provide steady gameplay. Players can get help from the phone booth right outside their restaurant or travel to the marketplace for special items including spices and special dishes.
Occasional event activities like quelling kitchen fires, chasing away rats (the least intuitive minigame-like challenge) and sharpening knives keep things from getting too dull. A surprise visit from the health inspector mainly consists of players demonstrating their dishwashing ability. The element needs expansion and could involve more key decisions, which would add more initial set-up elements and possibly some additional staff (like a janitor) for a more complete simulation.
The actions mostly involve cooking plus some shopping and management functions like hiring assistant staff. Primary action stems from the PlayStation Move controller thought players can navigate through the traditional Dualshock controller, which actually worked better for activities like pulling apart lettuce using a horizontal motion, but was a nightmare for the marketplace challenge where players had to trace zigzagging movements to win reward items. The PS Move controller shape makes it perfect for slicing and dicing in this game. Players can whip around the kitchen as fast as they like without making a mess or splashing hot oil all over themselves.
Navigation and movement works well due to the point-and-click format, but switching between cooking stations can be challenging without some practice. Movements incorporate actual cooking actions like stirring, flipping and cutting so well that most players won’t have many issues. Players can also trash burnt or undercooked food thought it will cost them time because they must cook the disposed item again. Other actions include shaking the PS move to grate cheese…and occasionally wake up sleeping assistant cooks (a nice touch).
Colorful visual cues also give players guidance to succeed at each action (e.g. keeping a steady hand with straight vertical up and down motions when cutting). Individual successes are great, but players really see results when each action combines into a high score. A helpful thermometer icon appears over each dish according to heat when complete. A red color means the finished dish is still warm then yellow is staring to get cold.
The element of spice enhances the game with creative combinations that can provide satisfying bonuses and amusing negative reactions. Players can check the ordered ticket for a hint at the customer’s spice desires or just pay one coin to know it.
Players must cater to each customer and check for feedback in the ending tip tally. Developers further incorporate the characters into the game through these elements, which contain more character development than the main cooks because players can learn about the customers each day.
The story stuffs you with several animated characters including the predictable food critic and health inspector. The eclectic customers and available chef assistants for hire (just check the daily paper) spice up the proceedings, though they often talk over each other, so players might miss some comedy or helpful clues into a character’s personality. The humor is not too deep, mostly burping noises and one-liners. The game has an impressive amount of voice acting though they talk over each other often, so sometimes players miss some funny one-liners. Also available on Nintendo Wii,
Players can also try Order Up!! To Go and Order Up! Food Truck Wars on mobile, which gives players a little taste of this full version game. Freestyle recipe creations (possibly incorporating customers as the judges), more social interactions, or a speed challenge would be great for the next installment.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler