by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Putting a lot of exclamation marks on something will generally draw your attention to it, but I didn’t need much more to entice me into playing the sequel to Cook, Serve, Delicious!, one of the more surprisingly fun games to come out in 2013. Four years later, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is here, adding new mechanics, new restaurants, more exclamation marks, and even loot boxes to the mixture. Is the latest game the icing on the cake? Or have too many cooks spoiled the broth?
In Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! you will be working at a restaurant, taking orders from customers, and trying to serve them as quickly as possible. You do this by seeing exactly what they want, and preparing the food by tapping out keyboard shortcuts for each item. Do a good job and the customer will go away happy, and maybe they’ll spread some good word about your restaurant. If you mess up the order, the opposite will happen. Multiple customers will turn up at the same time, especially during a day’s two rush hours, so it’s all about managing your time efficiently and making sure no one has to wait too long.
A new recipe
A lot of the core concepts have made it to the sequel from the original game, but thankfully it’s not just a carbon copy with a few extra recipes. You still have a number of serving stations, where customers will wait for you to take their order. However now you also have holding stations, which are a new addition and essential to the experience. Holding stations are where you can pre-prepare food, and have it waiting for customers before they even arrive. You can only prepare certain foods here like pretzels, hot dogs, burgers; things which will be popular, and won’t go bad if you leave them for too long under the heat.
Of course, time will take its toll on any food, so even if you’ve got something prepared in a holding station you’ll need to keep an eye on it, and throw it away once it becomes inedible. Equally, a popular item might sell out without you realising it, forcing you into a mad dash to cook some more prime rib before your customers leave in a huff and spread bad words about your restaurant.
The format has changed slightly from the original game though. In the first CSD, you were constantly trying to improve your own restaurant, earning money every day, and then using that money to acquire new items and foods for your menu. That still exists in CSD2, but there’s a lot more emphasis on working at other restaurants. You’ll earn less money this way, as the restaurant will take a cut, but it is a good way of experiencing a wide range of styles. Styles not just limited to the menu choice, but also the general decor of the restaurant. Each restaurant has an excellent name based on a real life location or simply a pun, they have lengthy fake histories, and there’s just about every type of food you can think of. Simple burger joints and dessert parlours are there, right up to fancy Japanese restaurants and elegant Italian diners.
A place of your own
All of this gives you ideas for going back to your own restaurant. After earning enough money and levelling up a few times, I had the money and the unlocks to create a rather “classy” restaurant, complete with black and white paintings on the wall and giant stone columns. The menu consisted of the best meats, fancy vegetables, exotic fruits, and the most gorgeous desserts money could buy. However I still wasn’t that highly ranked, and the buzz around my restaurant wasn’t the highest it could be, so I wasn’t getting the most formal of clientele. Still, the whole place and the food looked good.
Thankfully a handful of bugs and missing features from launch day have been fixed, and new additions will be coming from the lone developer further down the line. I have a few complaints but the one that I stumbled over the most are the keyboard shortcuts. When you’re preparing an item, you’ll generally be pressing the key which corresponds to the first letter of the food, C for chocolate, L for lettuce, etc. Some recipes have two words with the same first letter though, and then the keyboard shortcut shifts to another letter in the word, confusing things greatly. This is unavoidable in a lot of cases, but consistency across multiple recipes would’ve been appreciated. For example C is for chocolate sometimes, but other times you’ll have to press H.
All over again
Other than that, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is a worthy sequel. It gives fans more of the same, but switches things up just enough with the addition of holding stations and the variety of restaurants you can work at. There are still a few issues left over from the first game, but the action is still surprisingly tense for a game about cooking. The amazing feeling you get after completing a perfect day deeply contrasts with the feeling you get when you mess up just a single order. You’re constantly running a fine line, and you almost feel tired after the bell rings for the end of the day. Except then you just want to do it all over again.
Same excellent gameplay with extras added in, great looking restaurants and food items
Still some issues with keyboard shortcuts