Cook, Serve, Delicious! Review

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Screenshot 1

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Boxart

Developer: Vertigo Gaming
Publisher: Vertigo Gaming
Platform: Android, iOS, PC – Desura, Direct, Steam (Reviewed)

For some reason, I’ve always had an affinity for games that have to do with food. Whether it’s BurgerTime, Cooking Mama, or Ore no Ryouri there has always been something uniquely appealing about them. It seems developer Vertigo Gaming shared my passions because in the early 2000s they released Ore no Ryomi 1 and 2. These two titles were fun, if simplistic fan games. In 2012, after serious growth as a developer, they published Cook, Serve, Delicious! This title blows basically all other cooking games out of the water.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Screenshot 1

You begin the game as the owner of a brand new, and quite frankly, unappealing restaurant. The location gains customers primarily because of being situated in an office complex rather than word of mouth. With a zero star establishment under your name, it’s up to the player to get it into shape and eventually make it all the way to a five-star restaurant. Although you’re the boss, this is not a simple management simulator. In fact, most of the gameplay takes place in the kitchen.

Players must cook all the food that customers order! After selecting the food you want to serve for the day, you must sit behind the counter and wait to serve guests. As they pile in, they rattle off their food choices and the player must get to work preparing them. With an item selected, you have to choose all the proper ingredients and then serve. For example, if someone asks for chicken noodle soup then you’d better make sure to put chicken, noodles, and the like into the soup before cooking! Adding and interacting with food items (in the PC version) can be accomplished via mouse clicks or keyboard shortcuts, but keyboard is definitely the way to go.

Keyboard is suggested because things get incredibly hectic almost from the get go. There is often a steady stream of customers popping in, but things get even worse during rush hours. At these times, you’ll see all your prep stations fill with waiting orders that you want to fulfill. It’s possible to ignore orders, but then customers will leave frustrated and not return. Some food items are super easy to prepare such as corn dogs, but others require real attention. After a while though, you’ll likely start to memorize the various keyboard presses for different food items.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Screenshot 3

Because keyboard play and quick reading is basically integral to being successful at Cook, Serve, Delicious! it is not a game suggested for young children or anyone with various hand/wrist strain injuries. It would also definitely be hard for those who type using the “hunt and peck” method but could actually help them memorize letter locations. As for me, my average WPM fluctuates between 90-110 and there was still a learning curve to become skilled at hammering out orders. With that said, the layout is mostly genius because many food item keybindings are directly related to their name. For example, to add bacon you type “B”. It is also possible to change most of the buttons if you need to.

Okay, so food is hectic to prepare and serve but also a lot of fun. Serving customers perfect meals makes more visitors arrive next time. With more meals served, your restaurant generates more money. And with more money you can buy a host of goodies for the business. There are many recipes to choose from, equipment to aid the player, and you can even place bets on how well you expect your next performance at work to be. Money is integral and easy to burn so manage it well!

After a while, new opportunities pop up. First, there is the ability to cater events. This is one great way to make money on the side. Many other, increasingly odd, avenues of play appear as well. It’s these concepts which expand beyond purely “cooking food in the restaurant” that make Cook, Serve, Delicious! and even better game. It just seems like such a vast product which is weird when simply looking at it at face value.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! Screenshot 2

The game is deep and will last a while. Even after all this discussion, there are still neat mechanics at play such as ratings on menu items that affect you in positive or negative ways. Then there are the e-mails you get daily that range from helpful to just plain awkward. Then there are the silly touches such as the names given to specialty menu items (such as “cheesy leaves” for a cheese-covered salad). Visually, it’s easy to see the attention Vertigo Gaming gave the title. Food looks routinely delicious with its cartoonish depictions and overall everything just seems pretty polished.

As for issues, it can be tougher to do certain menu items because they require a hand to move from the main portion of keyboard to arrow keys. Yes, these bindings can be changed, but it would have been cool to see an alternate layout available by default. Otherwise, it can be hard to make one that works well for yourself. I’ve ended up looking through the Steam Community of this game for one. It would also have been appreciated to see multiple difficulties available. I understand that the game is meant to be hectic, but it is probably nearly unplayable for those who have less than ideal keyboarding skills. An option to tweak speed, or disable rushes entirely could go a long way.

Bringing up these points is important to me because Cook, Serve, Delicious! is an excellent game that could easily attract attention from gamers of all types. It is far from the “casual” experience that supposed hardcore gamers ignore, and yet, non-gamers could even get into it. Having read comments from players so far it also seems that fans of different genres have still gravitated to the simple fun of playing this title. Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a seriously fun way to spend some time and I recommend anyone who has had their curiosity piqued to check it out.


Score: 4.5

4 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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