Cook, Serve, Delicious! Review

You want a BEER? At 9:16 in the MORNING?

  • Developer: Vertigo Gaming
  • Publisher: Vertigo Gaming
  • Release Date: 8 October 2013
  • Time played: 13 hours (INCOMPLETE)

Cook, Serve, Delicious! is another one of those games that were developed using Game Maker Studio and made a bucketload of revenue. Consequently, saying I was a bit curious as to what the game was all about is an understatement. So sometime in December last year when the game was super cheap, I bought it and tried it out... and I was hooked for several days straight. I unfortunately never finished the game though, hoping to finish it when I got some spare time (ahahahaha! "Spare time". Ahahahaha!). Anyway as I'm actually running out of 2013 games to review (I've still got a lot to actually start playing before I review them) it looks like Cook, Serve, Delicious! is next!

Gameplay (5/5)
The gameplay in Cook, Serve, Delicious! is pretty unique - at least I've never played a game like this before. However, the developer claims that he's taken his inspiration from a Japanese cooking game called Ore no Ryouri or "My Cooking" in English. Basically there are two elements to this game: managing a restaurant and cooking food for your customers. The management part of the game is easily done via mouse-driven menus. You can purchase new food to serve at your restaurant or even spend money on upgrading them which usually means more options for your customers but more revenue too. You're also able to spend money on items that make running the restaurant more efficient during the workday. Besides that you've also got an email client which besides offering humourous comments about your restaurant, sometimes gives you extra challenges. Later on in the game, you'll also be able to compete in Iron Cook challenges and do catering missions to earn some extra dough. Okay so that's the management part in a nutshell, got it?

The second part of the game, where some element of skill is involved, is the cooking part. In this part of the game you'll receive orders from customers early in the morning until late at night which you'll have to complete in order to keep the customers happy and bring in the dough. You're given a limited amount of time to satisfy an order and you'll have to make sure you don't make any mistakes with the ingredients. So for example, if someone wanted a triple serve of Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream, you'd hit M, V and C on the keyboard then ENTER to serve the dish. Completing orders using a combination of keys reminds me of typing tutor games like The Typing of the Dead or games involving Quick-Time Events (QTEs) and since I'm a fan of games which take advantage of my 1337 typing skills, Cook, Serve, Delicious! has already won me over.

At first, the game will seem a bit difficult since you're only starting to learn the key combinations for preparing the various recipes you start off with and it's definitely no picnic during "Rush Hours" (i.e. the periods around meal times) where you'll be receiving new orders every couple of seconds. Eventually though, you'll be surprised at how adept you'll be at pumping out the orders only to go back to square one and learn new recipes whenever you upgrade an existing food or purchase a new one.

The ultimate goal is to become a five-star restaurant I believe and you work up the ranks by completing various criteria, such as serving food for a certain number of days, passing a certain number of safety inspections and achieving a certain number of combos. The only criticism I have about the game is that it sometimes feels like there's too much grind in between restaurant levels and the cynic in me thinks it's done for the sole purpose of artificially inflating the playtime.

Occasionally, your restaurant receives humourous emails like this one

Sound (4/5)
No complaints about the audio. Although only basic sound effects are used they're the sounds you would expect to hear while boiling soup, deep frying hashbrowns or pouring a pint of cold beer. Oh if there's anything to fault is that there doesn't appear to be any proper volume control but that's probably because this is a game aimed for the mobile platform.

Music (5/5)
The soundtrack by Jonathan Geer is an eclectic mix of funk, jazz, muzak and even chiptunes. Surprisingly, it suits the game really well and if you're into any of that sort of music, I recommend grabbing it for $2.99 USD off his Bandcamp site. Hmmm, I'm tempted to get myself a copy actually...

Graphics (4/5)
The graphics are pretty basic and in a cartoon style but that's absolutely fine for a casual game about managing a skyscraper restaurant.

Replay (3/5)
I've managed to play for 13 hours so far and I'm about half-way through the game with a 3-star restaurant. I'm guessing overall, it'll probably take around 26 hours of gameplay in order to finish the game and there's also a whole bunch of Steam achievements to earn and challenges to complete to increase the game's longevity. There are also leaderboards you can compete on too.

Polish (5/5)
I didn't encounter any serious bugs or issues while playing the game.

Score – 9/10

I don't often give 9 out of 10 for a game, let alone an indie game, but Cook, Serve, Delicious! well and truly deserves this. I cannot find anything to fault about this game besides potentially too much grind between restaurant levels but everything else is top notch. The music is jazzy, the graphics bright and cheerful, and the gameplay is a perfect blend of restaurant management sim with fast-paced, typing-tutor-like action.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! is available from these retailers:

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[ LINK: Official Vertigo Gaming website ]