Overcooked! 2 is like the Beatles of co-op gaming. Hit after hit – with every new addition it just gets better. Despite not being massive in size, the Surf ‘N’ Turf DLC addition provides more of what makes the multiplayer mayhem marvellous – a little more story and few more chefs, but more importantly some more wonderfully different kitchens and extra madcap recipes.
Onions in the sun, doo doo doo doo
After the unnerving events of Overcooked! 2 the Onion Kingdom’s Culinary Council have exiled the King and his uncannily wise, and now rather depressed, dog Kevin to the tropical Stilton Resort. Again, it is up to his royal chef team to explore three new beach-themed areas (made up of 12 campaign kitchens) and learn some amazing new recipes that will wow the council enough to let the King back in. Yes, the food-related puns and quirky humour are still around and if you’ve checked out my review of the base game here, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll be back in your cartoony RV exploring another charming overworld map, with basic gameplay and charming tunes returning.
I (Don’t) Want To Hold Your Hand
There has been a definite bump up in difficulty in the new kitchens, though, and not having played for a while made the learning curve even steeper. Not only are the layouts more complex, with different steps of a meal-making process purposely on opposite sides of the various kitchens (many of which move and shift around while you play) but even the required points needed to progress felt more challenging. This was made worse in my first few failed attempts because I completely forgot that my chefs could ‘Dash’ around – so be sure to familiarise yourself with all the controls again because tossing food to your fellow chefs and zipping across the screen will be essential to progress.
…there has been a definite bump up in difficulty in the new kitchens and not having played for a while made the learning curve even steeper.
Unlike the original game’s first few levels, earning a single star on each kitchen will not be good enough to move on. In most cases, you’ll require at least 2 stars and occasionally even 3 if you want to open up all the kitchens. The new recipes have also become a little ‘spicier’ – Smoothies and Kebabs are multi-stepped processes and in order to serve your hungry patrons in time, you’ll be flying from one side of the screen to the other chopping, blending, grilling and even fueling the flames of your makeshift braai. Throw in a new water-gun mechanic and dousing random bursts of flames and washing dishes on the run will have you in a multitasking frenzy that will break your brain in the best way possible.
Once you have managed to get the King back into the council’s good books and brought a strange smile back onto Kevin’s muzzle, the New Game + will even provide an extreme Iron Chef-like mode (which I also tried for the first time during this review) and will task you with collecting a ridiculous amount of points to earn a magical fourth star. I gave it a go, and even on the most basic level kitchen completing the task feels a little like earning a Michelin star while simultaneously rubbing your stomach with one hand while tapping your hand with your foot.
Throw in a new water-gun mechanic and dousing random bursts of flames and washing dishes on the run will have you in a multitasking frenzy that will break your brain in the best way possible.
Having some extra levels for Arcade and Versus modes is great too, and whether you tackle the story, or feel like a quick blast on a few different kitchens, the added variety is a real plus. The online gaming is still just ok though, with even the slightest lag making the urgent and specific movements needed virtually impossible to accomplish.
All in all, the Surf ‘N’ Turf DLC provides an extra course of the multiplayer mayhem we’ve come to love from Overcooked while turning up the heat on difficulty. As it is an add-on and meant to be played after the first game this added difficulty makes sense but does mean that you’ll likely be repeating the same kitchen a few times in order to move on. This small irritation is only highlighted by the need to return to the main overworld map in order to restart, but it is a relatively small issue that can probably be fixed with a small update. As a standalone, the Surf ‘N’ Turf addition would probably not be enough to keep you interested for too long but as DLC the added kitchens, chefs and recipes are a welcomed and substantial content extension.