The most valuable lesson I have learned from playing Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is that I should never be allowed to work in the restaurant industry. Ever. The Steam store page describes the game as “Deceptively easy to learn but incredibly difficult to master”, a perfect explanation of my experience. It may be difficult, but it sure is fun!
Massive amount of content. This should be a given when it comes to restaurant simulation, but this game really knocks it out of the park with the variety of food, side dishes, restaurants, etc. There are over 180 foods to prepare spread across the game’s 30 or so restaurants. Each restaurant contains a variety of levels (350+ total), introducing new food and preparation methods. There is simply a huge amount of content to work through, and that is not even including the building of one’s own menu and restaurant.
A variety of fun game mechanics. The game becomes increasingly more complex as more food becomes available, introducing new preparation methods and button combinations to learn (I used an Xbox 360 controller). Hot dogs can simply be cooked and served on a bun with whatever toppings are requested, but a lasagna requires a great deal of effort to make, having to place numerous ingredients in a certain order before cooking. These items can be prepared at a holding station or can be made fresh when ordered, it is up the player to decide what the best option is. I had to pay close attention to when rush hour was approaching, being sure to have the holding stations stocked up beforehand. Additionally, the player will not simply be making and serving food. There are also toilets to clean, rats to trap, and even robbers to beat up!
Great replayability that rewards practice. In each level the player has the opportunity to earn one of three medals: bronze, silver, and gold. A gold medal is earned by making absolutely no mistakes, a very difficult endeavor. I found myself going back to earn better medals once I had gained additional experience with the foods served in said level. It would take a while, but earning 100% completion is possible!
Can become repetitive when played for longer periods of time. I really can only see myself playing this game in short bursts, maybe no more than an hour per sitting. It plays like a mobile game in this sense, able to be picked up and played for a short while, but not really meant for extended play sessions. While the game is constantly introducing new mechanics (through the various new foods offered), it really just boils down to doing the same thing at a different place, with an increasing difficulty as one gets further into the game. Do this for sixty or so hours and the campaign will be beaten. This may not be a bad thing for many players, but it is worth noting.
Miscellaneous minor annoyances. It seemed that whenever I finished a workday in the game, I was bombarded with box openings, unlocking stuff for use in my own restaurant. That is cool and all, but when I am unlocking several every time, it is quite a pain to have to sift through them. Some sort of “dismiss all” button would be fantastic here. Another issue I noted was with the flickering/disappearing backgrounds when using AMD cards. As I use an AMD card, I ran into this very issue, with restaurant backgrounds sometimes disappearing entirely, replaced with a simple black wall. It did not affect gameplay, but it was annoying. The developer has noted this issue however, hopefully a fix can be sorted out.
A fun game to play overall, especially when played in short bursts. There is a lot of content to explore, a wide variety of game mechanics to master, and plenty of replayability offered. I can easily see myself coming back to this game in the future, especially to earn that 100%. In fact, I am already making steady progress!
You can purchase Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! on Steam here.