Overcooked – MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

A game I truly love is one called Overcooked published by the British video game developer, Team 17, and designed by Phil Duncan. I do not know what they put in the game to make it so addicting, but here I am. Overcooked is a cooperative cooking game where you navigate difficult terrain to make dishes in a timely manner.

What’s fascinating about the game is that there aren’t many controls to remember: moving with a joystick, chopping/action button, pick-up/put-down button, and dash button. The action button is an interesting one because it can mean different actions based on what object you are handling; it could mean chopping, spraying whipped cream, or using the fire extinguisher. Just recently, I discovered a level that used the action button for using a blow torch. The designers made the action button a lot more exciting by adding new functionalities as the player progresses through the levels. In other words, the discovery not only comes from uncovering levels but learning unique actions.

Another mechanic of the game is the fact that for some levels, not everyone has equal control over the resources. For example, if there are four players, the map may be divided into four quadrants where one player has access to the cutting boards, one player has access to the stoves, etc. This creates a cooperative dynamic where players independently work towards certain tasks but are still communicating with other players to work towards an ultimate goal. Specifically when my friends and I play, after we don’t do well on a level, we strategize by making sure everyone is clear on how they contribute to the goal and who they interact with. Fellowship is achieved when everyone is dependent on everyone.

All in all, I would highly recommend playing this game with your friends and family. Even though the objective seems intuitive and the controls are minimal, the designers did a fantastic job keeping players on their toes by allowing them to discover novel actions in the game and changing how players cooperate with each other.

About the author

she/her/hers | Computer Science + Human-Computer Interaction Track | Class of '23 | hello friends :) I'm looking forward to playing games with y'all!

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