The popularity of cooking simulator games in this generation of motion and touch control gaming was a surprise success. Of course, this success was mostly found on Nintendo’s line of consoles, as that’s where the other popular franchises are mostly found. With Sony’s PlayStation Move controller continuing to hang on for that peripheral selling game, what better way to spend some time with your family than with a fun, light-hearted game that brings the cooking simulator genre to Sony consoles for the first time.
Order Up!! begins with you choosing a male or female chef that finds work at the local greasy spoon. You learn the basics of cooking different meals, that are ordered by the restaurant’s incoming customers. Each customer’s order is placed on an order ticket that has the different items needed to complete each meal. Every item gets a grade for how well you prepared it, based on the correct timing and accuracy. Completing the meal gives you an overall grade that is based on how well you prepared the different parts of the order.
As you progress in the game, you earn money that you use to buy things like your own diner, on your way to building your restaurant empire. More customers start eating at your diner, and that means more orders are getting placed. So naturally, you hire some cooking help that you can assign tasks to in filling the orders. The more talented the help, the higher grade their work gets. Also, meals eventually get more complicated, and you can purchase the ability to do fancy things to your meals as an added bonus. Become successful at what you’re doing, and your restaurant will earn stars while you impress the food critics.
You can use the standard controller to play, but it is fairly obvious that the game was designed with motion controls in mind. If you do use a controller, it feels like when you use a controller to play an on-rails shooter, where you use the analog sticks to move the cursor around, with the added mechanic of moving the stick in a particular motion to cut condiments or drop fries in the oil.
Needless to say, using the Move controller is definitely the way to play this game. With precise yet simple controls, the game is fairly easy to manage using the motion controls. Most of the actions require a simple button press, or a press and hold and some kind of movement to prepare whatever ingredient you’re currently focused on. The most obvious advantage of using the Move controller is being able to move the on-screen cursor wherever you need it to be, and quickly, because when you have several items being prepared at once, you need the cursor to be fast, unlike if you were using the analog sticks on a standard controller.
The visuals look slightly better than any of the cooking sims on any of Nintendo’s consoles, so you won’t feel too bad about playing a game that was ported from the Wii. You can actually feel confident that the developers didn’t simply port it over with a minimum of effort. Everything from the menus, to the comedic cut-scenes, and even actual gameplay all have a crisp look and feel, but you won’t be blown away by anything presented here. The audio was apparently re-sampled, but it is hard to notice a big improvement from this over any other casual title.
The multiplayer is where this game starts to fall flat and reminds you of why some games just get left behind. There are split-screen co-op and turn-based competitive modes for up to two players, but there isn’t really anything interesting about playing these modes other than the fact that you can play with two people. The other downside is the multiplayer is local only, so don’t expect to play with your friend or family member that doesn’t live with you. It’s a real shame that the multiplayer aspect really doesn’t provide anything beyond what the single player offers, because a casual game like this could have been a real treat to even the most novice of gamers just playing around with the family.
Aside from the seemingly unpolished multiplayer, there are quite a few hours of gameplay to experience in the single-player campaign mode. The best part is, it is relatively easy to pop this in your console and play through a few waves of customers fairly quickly and earn some cash. If you have friends and family over and want to play it, it would be best to simply take turns in the single player mode and avoid the multiplayer altogether, especially if you’re looking for an uninterrupted experience, with the exception of having to wait your turn to fry up some food for your customers.
Overall, Order Up!! is on par with most of the other cooking simulation games on the market. It is available at a budget price, and provides a fun, casual experience any gamer can enjoy using either a standard controller or utilizing the Move motion controls on the PS3. If anything, you don’t have to bother hooking up any other consoles to get some casual cooking gaming in, and can watch your favorite blu-ray movie or crank out a few hours of the latest shooter immediately after the rest of your family goes to sleep.