This popular game series releases the second Wii title (two currently exist on the Nintendo DS as well) chocked full of new recipes like onion rings, hamburgers, pizza, pancakes and even ratatouille. New features include some entertaining mini games, a cooperative mode and some basic customizations for boy or girl characters. You begin with eight recipes than expand beyond 50 with two delicious Nestle Toll House recipes at the end of the game manual.
The mini games incorporate pet characters and special actions like catching food. You can also practice cooking – a recommended action to learn the speed settings in the game using the Wii remote. It’s challenging to break eggs and spread éclairs, but patient players can figure out the actions even without much help. Series veterans will have an advantage here, especially since the game does not provide much tutorial material (e.g. short orientation videos), and puts you right into the action expanding the discovery realm as well as trial and error.
At times, your movements do not seem to drive the action, so you have to have to wait for the visuals then find the timing pattern/rhythm to successfully complete your task. Precise movements are key in the medal based award system. Developers also expanded Mama’s role as a judge/encourager with cool mini-games that activate when the recipes start to go bad.
The two main game modes are Let’s Cook and Cooking Contest. You basically prepare dishes on your own or with/against another player(s). In the additional co-op mode, the other player can be either AI or real. Some activities, like making mocha, are more familiar if you know Asian cuisine. As far as the mechanics, timing plays a key role as the player mainly reacts to ending results or mistakes during the game, like getting whacked with a pounding hammer. Special game events are recorded for later viewings.
The basic character workshop has hair styles and clothing accessories. The voices are appealing while their dialogue centers on success, so don’t expect any encouraging words until you’ve achieved gold medals. The expanded 3-D graphics and multiple camera angles spice up the visuals, which even make some funny messes on the screen, alleviating potential frustration.
You can advance swiftly as developers allow progression even with low scores at times. This setup gives you no real incentive to complete the recipes with a high grade, but can be a refreshing change because you’re not forced into perfection play. The expanded modes and unlockables help boost the replay value. Look for a special bonus when you complete all the recipes.
Cooking Mama: World Kitchen is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for alcohol reference and comic mischief.