Aspiring culinary engineers cower as your true test of cooking prowess has arrived on the Wii in Order Up! A cooking simulator exclusive to Nintendo’s very own.
At first glance of Order Up!’s (exclamation point necessary) atrocious boxart, it’s easy to write the game off as another piece of crap in the Wii’s vast wasteland of shovel ware and garbage. Order Up! is actually a wonderful surprise, taking a set of Wiimote controlled cooking minigames, giving them structure and topping it off with a wonderful sense of humor and a distinctive art style.
Order Up!’s first impression is a strong one. The game sports a cutesy weeble-wobbly-esque art style. Although it doesn’t have any resemblance of a narrative, the characters will carry with you simply because of the aesthetics. Your regular customers will seem like old friends by the end of the game, and you’ll eventually memorize their orders by heart. Order Up! also benefits from a great sense of humor. The game serves up the jokes left and right, and it never seems like it’s trying too hard to be funny. It just is.
For the greater part of Order Up!’s quest, you’ll be slicing and dicing your way through your kitchen, cooking things like burgers, frying fries, chopping tomatoes and more. Each act in the kitchen has its own Wiimotion attached and the challenge comes from trying to simultaneously cook and prepare multiple items from multiple orders. Each individual action is bite sized in nature, and the dreaded repetition associated never truly sets in because of the fact that you’re never doing any one thing for too long.
Aside from cooking on the menu orders, customers will deal curveballs in the form of requesting special seasonings or ordering the Chef’s Special. Unfortunately, the only real challenge comes from the Chef’s special orders, as each customer that could potentially want a special seasoning, orders the same one at every visit.
Order Up! does well to keep chefs on their toes as each day is never the same. In addition to cooking, players will have to deal with visits from health inspectors, rat infestations and kitchen fires and food critics. All of which have the potential to ruin the reputation of an up and coming restaurant.
The score for each meal is dealt in tips, which are also the game’s currency. Multipliers are added based on various factors: Was the meal cooked perfectly? Was it a chef’s special? Were the right types of spices added? These factors determine how much money you make from each meal, which is necessary to progress in the other half of the game.
While Order Up! is one half cooking mini-game compilation, the other half is something that truly keeps the game together, a management sim. The player’s goal in Order Up! is to take their restaurant and build it up to 5 star status earning enough cooking prestige to buy newer and better restaurants. In order to this, you’ll have to spend money earned in the kitchen, to upgrade the kitchen. On the market are things like newer and better equipment, kitchen cleaners and spices. More importantly, are sous-chefs and and specials. Sous-chef’s lend a hand in the kitchen and each have their own personalities and perks. Some are better grillers, some like to fry, and some provide passive perks such as keeping waiting customers happy. You can also purchase new and better chef’s specials on the “black market”, these are expensive but bring it more cash for your restaurant.
For those starved for some decent Wii gaming, Order Up! is serving that in spades. At base value, it’s another minigame compilation, but the other aspects of the game make it into something truly unique, and at a MSRP of 20 dollars, it should be in everybody’s library.
Also, it comes with a free burger cook hat.
Not pushing any boundaries, but the unique art style is cute and distinctive.
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Fun minigames and a compelling sim wrapped in one package.
Benefits from great voice-acting.
Pretty short, and the hard mode isn't too much harder.
Not just a great cooking game, it's a great game.