Cooking Mama might not be the best game you’ll ever play. In fact – I guarantee, it won’t be the best game you’ll ever play. But you can guarantee you’ll have a couple of giggles and a decent level of fun from purchasing this game for your DS.
The game makes 100% use of the touch screen, whereby your stylus becomes many different kitchen utensils, from a knife, to a grater, to changing the heat on the oven. While at times the stylus can be a little annoyingly fiddly, on the whole the touch control works absolutely flawless making the experience both immersive, easy to pick up and just genuinely fun.
There is a wide array of dishes on hand for you to take control varying between spring rolls to pizza and it is the whole process of making these dishes that is where the gameplay in Cooking Mama derives from.
Once you have selected which dish you would like to create it is from there that you must prepare all your ingredients (so chop them up, dice them, peel them) then you must mix the ingredients and finally cook them. The formula is true to real cooking although actually making the dishes isn’t as realistic as it could be. This game will not turn you into a master chef and is mainly focussed on fun.
There are a huge range of ingredients on offer and a number of different actions you must complete with the stylus in order to complete them. For example, chopping is just a simple case of tapping the screen, where as stewing requires more complex actions such as altering the heat of the cooker, stirring, adding new ingredients and even blowing on the microphone.
While no recipe is the same the game can get a little repetitive as most recipes include chopping and peeling and repeating such activities can get a little tedious – like real cooking.
As you progress through each recipe Mama will analyse how well you are doing and award you with points. It is with these points that will result in you achieving a gold, silver or bronze medal at the end. You will also get to have a good look at what you have just made, and for things like pizza you get to arrange the topping, so the picture of your pizza shows how you arranged it. This is a nice little touch and does actually add to the replay value because you may be tempted to try and arrange it differently.
Aside from that you can mix and match recipes and also take on a “challenge” type mode which has you peeling as many potatoes as possible within a time limit for example.
Unfortunately once you have unlocked the secret dishes and achieved a number of gold medals there is really nothing much for you to come back to, and you probably won’t bother trying to get all the gold medals anyway because the game is so repetitive.
The graphics are colourful, the sound is classical yet bouncy and while this game is one of my favourite concepts to land on the DS aside from Trauma Centre I am finding it difficult to place it with a high score (even though I really want to) because of the repetitiveness and longevity issues.