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Order Up! Review

Written by FooFan on Sunday, 30 August 2009No Comment

Format: Wii

Price: £9.99

Wi-Fi: No

Players: 1

Age: 3+

Developer: Zoo

I Honestly can’t remember how I first heard about this game, but I do remember being intrigued from the moment I saw it. On the face of it, it seems just another cheap 3rd party piece of casual tack that seems to have flooded the Wii’s games catalogue in previous months, but the more I read into it and the more I saw of it, the more I realised that there might actually be a decent game to be had. It’s not a new game by any means, in fact it was released a year ago, so when I managed to pick up a copy for the measly price of £7.50, I was very much looking forward to seeing what it had to offer. I’ve never played the likes of cooking mama before, and this was getting regularly higher review scores, so I thought it was worth a punt.

Order Up! Sees you taking on the role of a new chef who has just arrived in Port Abello, ‘One of the most important locations on the culinary map’. You must start off at the local fast food establishment(Burger Face) and work your way up to the finest restaurant in the port, before taking on the ‘Fortified Chef’ challenge to prove you are the best. Not the most impressive back story maybe, but it does the job and there’s even a few twists here and there…  The game starts by you selecting which chef you want to take control of(Male or Female) as they sit in a plane. A click on the Male chef sends him plummeting to earth via the plane’s trapdoor, and he conveniently lands right outside Burger Face, where the ‘Help Wanted’ sign leads him to his first job. 

The first thing you’ll notice about Order Up is that the style is very cartoony. Everything is bright and colourful, while the characters have typical over-defined features and personalities which lend to the game’s humour and helps later on when cooking. Having arrived at Burger Face it was time to start learning how to cook. The Burger Face restaurant is basically the tutorial and sets the scene for the rest of the game. You’re greeted by a spotty teenager who is your new manager and also the person who will be training you today. You are thrown straight behind the counter and the cooking begins as you are taught how to prepare a simple dish of Burger and Fries.

The cooking is done relatively simply, each order comes in the form of a ticket which is placed along the top of your screen. You can only serve one table at a time and there can be a maximum of 4 people to a table, so 4 tickets is the most you’ll ever see. Seeing as this was the tutorial, it was just the one ticket to worry about. To begin cooking, you simply click on the ticket and then drag the ingredient you want to prepare to the relevant workstation. The first thing I clicked on was the burger, which I dragged onto the grill and the sizzling began! The way you tell when something is cooked on Order Up is by using the ‘Cooking Meter’, which is a simple coloured bar with 2 arrows(one above and one below) on it which travel up the bar as the food is being cooked. The bar is split into 5 sections and the idea is to stop cooking when the main arrow(The bottom one), or both arrows(In the case of grilling, when both sides have to be grilled) is in the middle Green zone, which means it’s perfectly cooked. You can also tell when it’s perfectly cooked as aroma smoke appears above it, which is a vital indication if you play the game on hard mode when there is no cooking meter to go by.

So, with the burger, I wait until the bottom arrow is in the green perfect zone and then I must flip it to cook the other side. All cooking actions in this game are done via various movements of the Wii remote. To flip the burger, I simply hold down B while over the burger and make a twisting action with the remote. The burger is now flipped and now the top arrow begins to move. As soon as it reaches the green zone it is perfectly cooked so I can pick it up with A and drag it to the dish which appears on the right hand side of the screen. As you pick up the cooked food it tells you how well it is cooked(Perfect, Good, OK, Poor) and for the biggest tips you’ll want all your food to be perfect. If it isn’t cooked to how you like, then you can simply drag it to the trash on the left hand side of the screen and have another go. After you’re happy with that, you can then move onto the next ingredient, however, it is worth noting that you don’t have to wait for one ingredient to be finished before starting another one and later on in the game you will be preparing/cooking several ingredients at once to keep up with the orders.

The Fries are cooked by simply dragging them into the deep fat frier and holding B while thrusting the Remote downwards to place them into the fat. When they’re done, simply hold B and thrust up to remove them and then drag to the plate or trash. Lettuce you have to leaf which involves putting the lettuce on the chopping board and then holding B and dragging the remote to the right to pull 4 leaves off. How well this is done is determined by how quickly you do it. The Bar appears on the left this times and an arrow starts and the top and works it’s was down the longer you take. Finally slicing the Tomato is done by placing it on the chopping board and then holding B to make the knife and the slicing guide appear. 2 rings appear on the tomato and the idea is to thrust downwards with the remote when they touch to get a perfect slice. Do this 5 or 6 times and it’s ready to be served. Once all the ingredients are prepared and put on the plate, the dish appears on your screen and is given a rating depending on how well you cooked it. To get it perfect, all the ingredients must be cooked perfectly.

As you progress through the game you will be introduced to more and more dishes, ingredients and preparation methods. All the actions work well although it may take you a while to grasp a couple of them or find the best technique! After the tutorial, you acquire your first restaurant which goes by the name of Gravy Chug’. It’s here that you will get your first taste of taking orders and getting tips for your food. Customers come into the restaurant and sit down at a table, you then select the table you want to serve with A and then waiter takes their order and passes the tickets onto you in the kitchen. You then prepare the food before the waiter takes it to their table and they give their verdict in the form of tips. Perfectly cooked, hot food will get you more tips, whereas dishes that are left to go cold, because you haven’t finished the rest of the order, and ingredients that are not prepared perfectly will get you lower tips.

To start with, your restaurant only has 4 dishes on the menu. To get more dishes, you must unlock them by spending coins for each set of 4, until your menu is complete at 16 dishes. Each restaurant also has a set of challenges which you must complete before being able to purchase a better one. Each challenge is worth a Star and the idea is to get 5 stars. The challenges are the same for every restaurant and include Unlocking the full menu, Cleaning up you kitchen(Costs coins again and can be found under ’services’ in the newspaper), Reaching a total coins earned target, unlocking 4 chef specials(These are additional meals on the menu which get bigger tips and can be bought from a stall in the farmers market) and finally, Impressing the food critic(The food critic automatically turns up on the next day after you get 4 stars. Impress him with a meal and you’ll get your 5th star and the next restaurant will be unlocked). It’s a shame the challenges are exactly the same in each restaurant as there’s no variety in them and you soon learn the best way to go about it.

You can also hire up to 2 assistant chefs through the newspaper for a one-off payment in coins. You can then drag ingredients to these chefs for them to prepare, giving you time to focus on other things. Each assistant chef tends to have something they’re really good at and can complete perfectly, but most will only be able to prepare the ingredient to ‘Good’ standard, which is annoying because you’ll want all your meals to be perfect, which means everything must be prepared perfectly! So it’s about knowing which ingredients to give to which assistant chef and when to do it yourself. Another thing that will earn you extra tips is the correct usage of spices. On every table there is one customer who likes their food spiced in a certain way, they’re easy to spot and give you clues about what they’re after. Spice it correctly and you’ll get an extra coin bonus. These customers are based on stereotypes and are the only ones that talk, although the ‘Talking’ is just them saying one of about 4 lines which reflect their stereotype. They include a Ship’s Captain who likes Salt, a Texan who loves BBQ sauce and a Cowboy who likes his meat burnt, amongst others. You soon learn what they want and, because they don’t change their preferences at all during the course of the game, it becomes second nature to spice their food how they like. Chef’s specials also require spice and, if not spiced correctly, won’t get the special bonus.

Perhaps where this game is most let down is its length. There’s only 4 restaurants in total(Not including the tutorial and final challenge) and on my first playthrough it took me 4 hours to complete. On my second playthrough(Where I put the difficulty up to hard) it took me 3 hours! And then an extra hour after that where I unlocked all the special dishes in the game, so there’s not a lot of gameplay time to be had here. Apart from the main career mode, there’s only a quick play option as an alternative, which lets you select 4 dishes to cook from the ones you’ve unlocked. It’s a shame because there’s even some nice little mini-games that crop up during the main mode which would’ve been nice to be able to play again without having to do the main career. No multiplayer whatsoever also lets this title down and I think a co-op mode could’ve worked really well. Having said that, there were a lot of moments during the game when I found myself laughing at what the characters were saying and the overall presentation of the game. It is a pretty funny game and the whole of the last challenge sequence is among some of the funniest gameplay I’ve ever played on the Wii. It’s really well done and quite surprising when you consider what a low-key release this is, so credit to the developers for that.

I have enjoyed my time on Order Up, however brief it may have been and I’m sure a lot of other people would as well. Perhaps had this been released as a WiiWare title, it might’ve got a bit more attention, but the fact is you can pick this up for under a tenner now and it’s definitely worth that if you’re looking for a solid, funny game with some genuinely good, addictive gameplay in it.It might be too much to hope for a sequel, but it’s actually got some very favourable reviews(Overall rating of 76/100 on metacritic) which top the likes of The Conduit! I think Zoo games can be proud of this title and it’s one of those little gems which can so easily go unnoticed for too long. Hopefully this review will encourage a few people to have a look into it as there’s certainly some fun to be had!

Overall rating: 83%

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