MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun – Overcooked 2

A game that I like to play with friends and family is Overcooked 2. Overcooked 2 is a game where players collaborate together to run a restaurant, producing orders as fast and accurately as possible. In my experience, Overcooked 2 emphasizes the following two game aesthetics: Challenge and Fellowship.

Overcooked is full of game mechanics that come together to create game dynamics of time pressure and level progress. The game has several worlds and many levels with increasing difficulty: players can only advance if their sales for the current level reaches a minimum value (one star) and secret bonus levels can be unlocked when levels are cleared with certain conditions are met. These mechanics create an engaging level system. Within each level, orders come in with time limits. If an order is completed quickly there would be extra tips, on the other hand if an order was missed, there would be penalties. As time starts to run out, the music and sound effects also become more urgent, contributing to the game dynamics of time pressure. In addition, the various tasks required for running a restaurant are also time sensitive, including cooking, washing dishes, putting out fire, etc. For example, cooking pots and pans must be taken off fire in time otherwise there would be a fire. Fires must be put out as soon as possible otherwise it would spread and aggravate the situation. The intense time pressure and enticing level system create one of the two the most prominent game aesthetics of Overcooked 2 (in my opinion) — Challenge. I love playing Overcooked 2 because of the thrill of overcoming all the obstacles and ending a round in triumph and the satisfaction of progressing through the different worlds and levels.

Another core game aesthetics of Overcooked 2 is Fellowship, which is encouraged by game dynamics such as map layouts and tasks that are more difficult to navigate unless players collaborate. Specific game mechanics that create these dynamics include the geological separation of players along with locations of ingredients and cooking devices (e.g. cutting board, stove, mixer, etc.) that favor collaborations. Some recipes are very complex and would be completed much faster if players can work together to multitask. There are also movement obstacles such as one-way portals and conveyor belts that force players to think about how to coordinate tasks to avoid wasting time on moving from place to place. These game mechanics do a great job of creating game dynamics of player teamwork and collaboration, which then makes a fun of Fellowship in Overcooked 2.

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