Monday, July 16, 2007

Cooking Mama: Cook Off

Developer: Office Create
Publisher: Majesco
Release Date: March 20, 2007
System: Wii
ESRB Rating: E (for Everyone)
Official Web site

In a nutshell: All the fun of cooking with none of the actual usefulness.

That is some bubbly music. “Let's Cook!” I practice on some minestrone soup.
0:02 “Not bad, keep going!” I need that kind of encouragement after a grueling 10-second bout with a can opener...
0:03 As opposed to opening the can, peeling the veggies actually takes some fine pointer control. Seems tougher than actually peeling veggies, in fact. “Wonderful. Better than mama!” What's with that accent? It's like a mix of French and Japanese. Creepy.
0:07 The actual final preparation is a timing mini-game with an instructional crawl at the bottom. If real recipes were presented like this, maybe I'd be a better cook.
0:08 Time for the real thing. It's still separated into preparation sections, the only difference is you can't repeat them.
0:12 Done with the actual test. I get 814 points and a silver medal. Too easy. I think I'll try the newly opened Challenge mode.
0:13 This is more like it! There are now minimal pauses between the preparation steps and a much tougher time limit. I'm too slow on the peeling but the rest goes off without a hitch. I only get 598 points this time.
0:17 Beef in wine sauce this time. No practice mode necessary.
0:19 I can see why the army uses peeling potatoes as punishment. Or, rather, I can see why Beetle Bailey does...
0:20 In Cooking Mama, I get perfect mincing by wildly shaking my hand up and down violently. In real life, my hand would be a bloody stump.
0:22 The butter coating mini-game is the most engaging so far. Tilt the remote to slide the butter around the pan -- it's like something out of Monkey Ball or Mario Party. What's more, it actually requires real skill, not just fast movement!
0:24 1145 points and another silver medal. Challenge go!
0:28 Interesting timing for the stir fry. You have to know what burns quickest and put the ingredients in in the right order. It's like they expect me to know something about real cooking! Crazy!
0:30 936 points, cleared easily. Yawn. I jump ahead to a page 3 recipe... lasagna!
0:31 The egg-cracking mini-game actually seems to detect how hard you move the remote. Most other Wii games I've played aren't this precisely sensitive.
0:33 For some reason, the rolling pin game asks you to jerk the remote back and forth rather than something silly like ... I don't know ... rolling it like a pin?
0:34 The minced meat mini-game is oddly sickening. Something about the sound of wet meat through a grinder. Ew.
0:35 Gah, there are like a million steps to making lasagna. Who knew?
0:39 I fail the baking step when I miss the off button with the remote. Mama's eyes turn to fire and my final lasagna is a twisted mess. NOT GOOD!
0:40 Enough of this solitary nonsense. I go against a computer-controlled "friend" in a Pirogi cook off. I can almost hear the Iron Chef announcer. PIROGI BATTLE!
0:42 The shaping mini-game actually hurts my elbow with overly repetitive motions. Didn't they learn anything from the Mario Party fiasco?
0:47 The computer opponent is surprisingly decent, but I'm still ahead by nearly 100 points going into the final battle. I could see this being fun against a real human. Where's the online play I so richly deserve?
0:49 Oh no! Total failure at the deep frying game means I lose by a good 50 points! My hubris was my downfall! That and my inability to drop pirogies in a pot with a remote. Still, I get a flower pot for my kitchen, so hey, not all bad.
0:50 Rice cake battle next! How hard can it be?
0:51 Now I'm washing pots ... I'm still finding new mini-games after almost an hour. Variety is the spice of life. Paprika is the spice of cooking *rim shot*
0:52 I fail the washing mini-game because I can't figure out how to pour water out from a pot. I'd like to think that, in real life, this would not be a problem.
0:53 The next mini-game is called "Pound the Mochi"?! What's this game rated, again? I also like the warning to “take care not to accidentally hit your hand." Where was that during the mincing mini-game?
0:55 That mochi can sure take a pounding, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.
0:57 I lose big time. Guess I need more practice pounding the mochi. NO THAT WILL NEVER GET OLD!

Would I play this game for more than an hour?
Why? I still don't think I've seen all the mini-games, and I'd like to try real multiplayer. Plus I like pounding the mochi. STILL NOT OLD!

This review based on a retail copy rented from GameFly.


MrScaryMuffin said...

Hm...I think rolling the wiimote would actually do the game a disservice for several reasons. The first being that you're likely to twist the wrist strap up and it'll be uncomfortable (you ARE using the wrist strap right?). The second reason is that when one uses a rolling pin, the pin rolls but the handles that you're holding does not. So the game does replicate the correct motions required for a rolling pin.

Biomedic007 said...

Good game.. I think my son will like your game.
When you publiched it?

Dante Kleinberg said...

Mochi is a delish ice cream treat you sick bastard! You can say what you want about Mama, but you leave Mochi out of it...

Kyle said...

I know what mochi is. I just spent the better part of five minutes pounding it, didn't I? OH YEAH!

FUNNYMAN said...

This game looks very tiring :-(

Paul Cosgrove said...

Kyle, have you played the DS version of Cooking Mama? I found the Wiimote controls to be quite floaty and inaccurate in comparison - and there was no option to increase sensitivity.

I eventually traded it in for Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, which I'm incredibly happy with.

Kyle said...

I have not played the DS version, unfortunately, but after trying this I might look for it.

Lexa said...

Nice review. Now I'm ready to go buy a Wii and this game. It'd be fun to cook without the cleanup afterwards.

Morenita said...

LOL! That was great! Thanks for sharing!