What happens when you are required to chop, cut stir, slice, grate and more using a Wii remote? You end up with Cooking Mama: Cook Off. The game that had us all trying to be that master chef on the Nintendo DS has now moved on to the Wii with a brand new competition in Cooking Mama: Cook Off. Does Cooking Mama continue to inspire us in the kitchen or do we want to go order takeout?
Cooking Mama: Cook Off is a very simple concept, use the Wii remote to do the actions to prepare the food in the recipe. There are 55 recipes from ten different nations providing you with a variety of different dishes. Each recipe gives you certain steps you follow to achieve the dish. In theory this sounds simple and in some cases is, but in others can become very frustrating. You use the Wii remote to perform the actual motion required. Need to slice and chop a carrot? Move the Wii remote in the direction of the arrow to slice it, and then move it in a chopping motion to chop it up. Most of the actions required seem to fit with what you would do in an actual kitchen. The problem arises when the remote doesn’t respond as you would think it should. At times I found myself just moving the remote around all over trying to get the game to respond. On numerous occasions I wondered if I needed to change the batteries in the remote or move the sensory bar.
Aside from the occasional remote not responding as you would like the controls seem pretty accurate. I actually like the Wii version better than the Nintendo DS version, since you are trying to do the motion instead of just drawing on the screen. I became very bored with the DS version rather quickly, but have enjoyed playing Cooking Mama: Cook Off on the Wii a lot. Maybe it is the fact that there is multi-player in this version. Cooking off against one another is really enjoyable and everyone that tried seemed to enjoy this part the most, including my four year old son. He did have some trouble performing some of the moves but over all they were simple enough for him to accomplish.
Directions are given before each step in the recipe explaining how you need to perform the motion with the remote. For the most part these were pretty good, but some required you to do those steps multiple times in other recipes before you knew exactly how to perform the step. That is one nice thing, you use the same techniques in a lot of the different recipes.
At first I was annoyed that the game wasn’t made more in depth and given more substance than just having dishes to cook. Yeah, I know that is the whole point of the game ,but it just seemed boring. You prepare a dish, don’t get it perfect but you can keep going. Mama would end up helping you if you did atrociously, but you could still keep going. The more I played I realized you kept opening up new recipes and could keep perfecting the old ones and try to get gold medals for all. It just seemed like there should be more, but I don’t know quite what that would be. The multi-player added another layer and that seemed to improve the overall game for me. Goofy I know. Go figure.
The graphics in Cooking Mama: Cook Off are cartoony but seem to fit the game, and are similar to the Nintendo DS version. The food looks ok, but is nothing spectacular. At times we weren’t quite sure what the dish was trying to be, but the ingredients look alright and look enough like the real thing to know you are cutting meat, slicing vegetables, or grating cheese. Mama shows up at times to give you encouragement and her vote on your skills. She is cute and it is fun to see her eyes blazing or have her smiling at you as you progress.
Speaking of Mama she will talk to you in the game. She is hard to understand at times and to this day we have not figured out some of her sayings. My four year old had fun repeating what Mama would say but had no idea what it actually was so ended up saying stuff that made no sense. Her thick accent and intelligible words seem to add to the quirkiness of the game. The music in Cook Off is just light fun music. It didn’t seem over powering and wasn’t something that you would have stuck in your head for the rest of the day annoying you.
Overall Cooking Mama: Cook Off for Wii is an enjoyable game. It is not a hugely in depth game, but does provide a lot of entertainment. The controls in the game work well, but at times seem to go out in limbo. The best part of Cooking Mama: Cook Off is the multi-player mode allowing you to compete against your friends. This is definitely a game you should at least rent to see what Mama has to say.
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