Until it was free on PlayStation Plus in September 2021, I'd never really looked into Overcooked. There have been games like it in the past, even on smartphones, but I was pleasantly surprised by the nice graphics, sound effects and clever level design. There's a lot of gameplay bundled into the game and you'll easily get 15-20 hours from it before the Platinum pops.
Essentially the game is a cooking simulator. You'll grab ingredients from their various containers, then usually take them to a chopping board where you can set one of your chefs away chopping it up. To start off with, you'll simply be combining chopped lettuce and tomato to make salads, but things gradually get more complex where you'll be chopping, cooking and combining multiple ingredients to make things like burgers, pizzas, pasta, sushi, burritos and cakes.
The PS5 version comes with a feature called Assist Mode which is very useful as it makes the target scores for 3 stars on each level a lot more manageable and removes the 'time-out' for orders giving you a bit more flexibility in how you decide to prepare everything. With assist mode, the only level which caused me any real problem was the final boss of Overcooked 1 but with enough practice, the game isn't too challenging.
The controls can take a bit of getting used to, especially if you're playing solo as you'll need to alternate between your two chefs. Often it's best to have them both working on something at the same time to improve efficiency, but that will require you to press L1 to switch to the other chef and keep an eye on what they're both doing which can get confusing. You can pick up and put down items and activate switches with the X button. When an item is on a chopping board, you can press Square to begin chopping it. You can also press the Circle button to dash which comes in useful not only to save time but is also necessary to avoid obstacles in some levels. Other than that, you'll just be running around picking up ingredients and grabbing them from the cooker before they start burning, sticking them on a plate and serving them. Then you'll need to pick up the dirty plates and take them to the sink so one of your chefs can wash them before they can be reused and repeat the cycle with another order.
It's quite hectic and although each level only lasts 3-5 minutes, you'll nearly always have something to be doing so be prepared to run around constantly. Once you reach the target score you can sit back and relax until the time runs out. For the Platinum trophy, you'll essentially need to complete Overcooked 1, Overcooked 2 and one of the included DLC packs called "The Ever Peckish Rises" as well as a variety of miscellaneous objectives including playing 15 Arcade mode matches with other players which can be done locally with 2 controllers.
Most of the trophies are more time consuming rather than difficult. Lots of them will pop naturally as you play through the different levels and the arcade based ones don't require any actual gameplay, just start the level and do something else while the timer counts down. The misc trophies will physically require you to go out of your way to unlock them, and if you're playing solo you'll either need an online friend or another controller, but for me the most challenging trophy was beating the final level of Overcooked 1 which takes the best part of 20 minutes per attempt, so if you fail it a few times it's going to start adding hours onto your Platinum time.
The game isn't particularly difficult, but you do have to concentrate at all times to prevent things from burning. On some levels, rats will run in and steal your prepared ingredients or you can fall off the level and lose something that's fully cooked so you do need to be careful. In general you'll always have a few minutes more time than you need, especially on Assist Mode but there are a few levels which can be challenging until you figure out the best way to go about them.
It's not a game you're going to get through in one sitting, that's for sure. If you play a few hours a day you should be done in a few weeks. The game is fun and the levels do add some variety but personally I don't think it's the kind of game I could grind through in a day or two, it's more of a good way to kill an hour here and there.
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