Published on July 21st, 2012 | by Cameron Woolsey, Editor-in-Chief0
Order Up!! PlayStation 3 Review
Developer: SuperVillain Studios
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Review Note: A game token was received for review purposes.
This review covers the PlayStation 3 version, for a review of the Nintendo 3DS version of the game click here.
The original Order Up! title was first released on the Nintendo Wii back in 2008. It was one of many that cropped up during the cooking game rise, popularized, more or less, by Office Create’s Cooking Mama in 2006. Order Up!! (with one extra exclamation mark as you may see) is the evolution of the original, bringing enhanced graphics and other features to the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 3.
In Order Up!! you play as a chef just starting his or her cooking adventure. You start out at the very bottom of the rung, as many chefs do–at a fast food restaurant. You soon discover that style of cooking be too low for your liking. Eventually you get a loan to buy your first restaurant, a small diner. The purpose of the game is to manage each restaurant and get it to a five star rating.
If that sounds easy, think again. Order Up!! brings surprisingly challenging gameplay as you move along the path to master chef. There was a time in my life when I cooked at a restaurant and one of the most important keys I learned about cooking was timing. As an example, you can’t drop a basket of fries and throw a burger on the grill and expect the entire plate to be ready at the same time. Preparing certain items prior to starting others meant that everything would be ready all at once. It’s the same in Order Up!!; perfect timing is essential and learning to manage it is the challenge behind the game.
As you upgrade the restaurant the challenges become progressively more difficult. The more meals and chef’s specials you unlock, the more customers get attracted to the place. One customer is easy, but soon you have to deal with up to four customers, each with their own unique orders. Things can get hectic as you must multitask between frying pan, pot, cutting board and oven. Getting that timing right will make the difference between a good tip and an upturned nose.
Getting the food out to the customers right away also means that no plate is left to cool off. Not fulfilling this may affect your tip amount. Tips are thrown on top of the usual meal price and the amount of the tip varies by certain factors. Some patrons like special ingredients added to their food, and you can find out what that person wants by clicking their face on the ticket. The person will give out only a clue, some being more obvious than others. I chuckled a bit at the Clint Eastwood character who growled about how much he likes his food blackened–which meant getting that heat meter dangerously close to fire hazard level in order to earn that precious coin.
As you progress and earn gold coins you are allowed to hire assistant chefs to help out. You can only have two at a time, and each has his or her own specialty–so choosing the right staff is important. Yet, while the extra hands are great when you’re dealing with more than one plate, most of the time your assistant will only provide the ingredient with a “Good” rating, which will drop the tip amount.
Order Up!! was designed with motion controls in mind, so it’s not shocker that the game supports the PlayStation Move. However, I felt that the PS3 game pad was faster and more accurate than the Move controller, which, realism notwithstanding, is more important when juggling four meals at once.
Other than Move comparability, Order Up!! adds one extra restaurant, new characters, such as ninja waiters, enhanced music, and 3D support. This is aside from the multiplayer which comes in the form of split-screen co-op and competitive cooking modes.
I usually don’t venture into the “life simulator” genre of games, and Order Up!! was one of the few I had played. I’m glad to say that I found the game to be surprisingly fun and challenging. While the game hasn’t convinced me to run to the store and pick up a different sim game–no matter how tempting that train simulator sounded–it was certainly good enough for me to enjoy to the very end.
As I said, the game definitely has a target audience. However, if you have been curious about the sub-genre, there’s a pretty good chance that Order Up!! may surprise you and maybe even awaken that sleeping chef within.