(DSiWare)

Game Review

Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

A fallen soufflé

You may remember this game from its appearance on WiiWare, so you won't be surprised to know this is a direct port. We didn’t think much to its incarnation on the Wii, particularly struggling with its controls, but now it’s on the DSi is it more to our taste?

Yes and no, is the answer. Essentially, the DSiWare version is all-but identical to the Wii edition, only really lacking the two-player competitive mode from its home console bigger brother. The graphics have survived surprisingly well, keeping their cutesy style and bright palette, although some of the menu screens are a little unclear. The various bizarre characters that frequent your restaurant, from vampires to Vikings and everywhere in between, are nice and clear on the top screen, leaving the bottom screen as your work area.

The game flow works pretty simply. Customers magically appear in your restaurant on the top screen, you pass them a menu then provide them with what they order. Dividing the play area into halves is a clever move, with “pigeonholes” at the top of the touchscreen corresponding to the seats in the restaurant on the top screen. Rather than dragging your meals over the characters as you could in the Wii, you simply pass them along through one of these holes, and that’s also where customers leave their tips at the end of a meal. It’s nice and clear, and on the whole works much better than the control system on Wii.

Starting off in a humble hot dog restaurant, you learn the ropes of taking orders and passing out meals. At first it’s a case of simply putting the right ingredients on a plate, but soon you have to heat it up, add ingredients in the correct order, apply sauce and more. It’s very straightforward at first, perhaps too much so; your first ten minutes will be spent making different kinds of hot dogs, after which you move onto ten minutes of burger-making. To its credit, the game adds new elements in every level and does so slowly to avoid overwhelming you too quickly, but it’s worth saying that your average gamer will find the game more than a little easy at first.

Once you’ve flipped your last burger you begin to create rather more complicated culinary offerings, but the general gameplay is the same – receive order, process it and move onto the next level, where you’ll generally be doing the same thing but in a different order. If you wanted to be really picky, you could say you’re doing the same thing in every level, and only the graphics change, but that would be ignoring the fact that even with the improved touchscreen controls, it gets very difficult later on.

In fact, its difficulty is probably the only way we can recommend this title to experienced gamers, although the chances are you’ll have switched off long before it becomes challenging enough to be worth your while. The first two restaurants are beyond easy, and sometimes you only need to serve two or three customers to earn enough tips to pass the level’s goal, meaning you can ignore anyone else who walks through your door and simply wait for time to pass. In a game which should pride itself on being frantic and a test of reactions and accuracy, you spend most of your first half an hour with the game waiting for your patrons to finish eating or drinking whatever it is you made them, which doesn’t make for a gripping introduction. If you persevere past these opening stages, you’ll find the game soon speeds up, and with more than two customers in at any one time you could struggle to feed them all quickly. Thankfully the game’s smart enough to avoid having four customers ask for burgers when you can only cook two at a time, so there’s rarely any bottlenecking, but you’ll need to be pretty quick on the draw to please everybody.

Conclusion

Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam starts out slowly but soon evolves into a decently enjoyable test of co-ordination, as long as you don’t mind a difficulty spike in your lunch. The touchscreen controls are markedly better than its WiiWare counterpart, and the fact it’s actually half the price at only 500 Points makes it even better.

Yet there’s enough to drag it down below a meaningful recommendation – it just isn’t that entertaining, and although the difficulty level finds a nice medium about a third of the way through its 48 levels, it’s hard to shake the feeling of absolute repetition. There’s no reward for setting high scores, so often you’ll do the bare minimum required to progress, and that’s no way a game should be played, surely?

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User Comments (16)

ballistikboy

#2

ballistikboy said:

I don't care what review this game gets. It sounds alot better than what we have right now for 500 pts! LOL. I'll so buy it and love it...

Pastry

#4

Pastry said:

Poor Virtual Toys, they remade a horrible game in to a slightly better (but still bad) game.

Bankai

#5

Bankai said:

The review isn't fair on this game at all.

Yes it's simplistic, and yes setting high scores doesn't unlock anything.

Here's an idea - pass the DSi on to a friend and tell them to have a go. Watch what happens when they beat your high score.

The reason each level only lasts 3 minutes is because this is an arcade-style game. The reason the game offers up three save slots is to encourage people to share it around. When you're trying to beat your friend/ spouce/ most hated enemy's top score, you certainly don't do the bare minimum to pass the level.

That's where the fun of this game sits. It's a simple, elegant, arcade game, designed for short burst of play, and sharing with others.

The review completely misses just how much fun that can be - I downloaded it on Friday, and my better half and I sunk hours into taking turns trying to outdo one another - that is fun.

Considering how many of your audience seems to judge the value of a game by the number of stars you give it, I think a lot of people who would otherwise enjoy this one are going to miss out by a review that I feel misses the point of the game entirely.

Just my personal opinion, but I do hope people look at this as an alternative view of the game. To put it in the form many of you seem to solely understand - I think it's nearly the ideal DSiWare game, so I would rate it a 9/10

OrdonianLink

#6

OrdonianLink said:

oh no, another virtual playground game, Oscar in Toyland was a ripoff, I beat it easily....sorta

EDIT
To The 7th Commenter...
you're right, ill go back to oscar in toyland once in a while, ill try to get one of my family members, thanks for pointing that out to me!

James

#7

James said:

@WaltzElf - thanks for your feedback, and I'm glad to know you and your other half are enjoying the game. I must admit, I couldn't get my wife interested in it at all, yet she loves Cooking Mama 2, which I took as a bad sign!

Although the multiplayer score-attack does seem fun, I certainly don't regard it as a 9/10 game considering some of the previous games I've reviewed on DSiWare - Asphalt 4 and Real Football 2009 in particular - have shown far more quality, replay value and fun gameplay as a whole package, and only scored 8s!

Bankai

#8

Bankai said:

I personally think Ashphalt 4 and Real Football are woeful games. YYCJ is a smaller game, yes, but it's also tight. There's nothing messy about it. Ashphalt and Real Football just feel cheap - bigger packages, but so many corners we cut in their development that I would never recommend either.

I don't regard any games as having a score, because I greatly dislike scoring games ;-) A reviewer can give a game whatever score he/ she likes, so long as I can understand the point he/ she is trying to make - but I honestly think you've missed where this game's appeal lies.

Hm - another example - the Facebook games. By themselves they're simple and I wouldn't pay a cent for them - but when all your friends are playing - the way the games interact with one another makes them, as a social experience, addictive. I personally see YYCJ in this light - it's a social game, and really good as one.

Asphalt and Real Football are solitary games - but they are not good as such. So, to put that in score form - YYCJ might be a 1/10 if you were the only person playing it, but you probably shouldn't have bought it in that case (which is where the review comes in) - played in the proper setting, it's a 9/10 game.

Gameloft games (all of them), can be between 6 and 8/10 games. Even when played in the proper context, they're just too flawed to be great.

I hope that makes sense. This is no reflection on you, Prosody, or NintendoLife in general (I really like this site, and you guys are almost all talented writers), but this is one of those occasions I really wish you guys didn't do scores - this game needed two scores - one for people who will play by themselves, and one for people who will share the game around.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#9

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Thought Asphalt 4 and Real Football had A LOT of content for the price. I've particularly enjoyed Asphalt 4

James

#10

James said:

WaltzElf - I understand your comments, and appreciate it's nothing against me or the site. I only played this game solo and didn't find that fun at all, but I can see from your comments there's a good multiplayer/score-based game in there too.

For myriad reasons too boring to list, of course we have to assign scores to our reviews, and although it's a flawed system it's the best one we have currently!

StarDust4Ever

#11

StarDust4Ever said:

I never buy anything with "jam", "fun", or "party" in the title, as these are almost universally shovel words! :(

ToxieDogg

#16

ToxieDogg said:

It's not actually too bad of a game. A bit like a cross between Diner Dash and Cooking Mama...not quite as good as either of those but it's a lot of fun for 500 points (which is only UK£4.50 in the grand scheme of things). My only real gripe with it is that it's overly difficult to discard items when you need to get rid of them....you're meant to rapidly 'shake' the stylus across the screen a few times but it can take much longer than necessary to realise what you're trying to do instead of thinking you're just trying to move something. An 'endless' mode would've been nice too, I don't really like Arcade mode having time limits on it.

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