Monday, July 26, 2010

Video game number two hundred and eleven: Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop

Video game review number two hundred and eleven in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Cooking Mama 3: Shop and Chop"

I've heard about the Cooking Mama games before, but never actually played one until today. I was pleasantly surprised with the experience, and while it's weird at first, it instantly becomes rather intuitive and fun. It's sort of like WarioWare in that it's a collection of mini-games, but they all revolve around some sort of cooking.

There are many different modes in the game, and the one I spent the most time on was the basic cooking mode. You'll start with a recipe, and are asked to follow it. My first one had me separating egg whites, chopping onions, cooking rice, putting everything in a bowl and serving it as soup. Later, I created my own recipe (some kind of beef noodle thing) and I got to take a little picture of the dish when I was done.

Although the mini-games are simple once you learn the tricks to them, many of them are not what I would call "easy" the first time you pick them up. For example, one of the games has you preparing shrimp, and you have to know that you need to pull of the head, then the legs, then tail, and finally slice out that little vein thing that a shrimp has. can do this really quickly, but that first time is pretty hard. In that one instance, I felt like I actually learned something about cooking from the game, which was pretty funny. I'll bet I can clean a shrimp pretty well now, and I actually want to try it.

One of my favorite things I did in the game was the chopping. Using your stylus like a knife, you can chop carrots or onions into little pieces, and the on screen reaction time is so fast it actually feels like you are slicing something. I got a real kick out of it.

Of course, "chopping" is only half of the game, the other half (according to the title) involves shopping...and that, I did not like. The shopping is a little maze game, where you have to walk your character around a store picking up ingredients for a dish you want to cook. There are plenty of other shoppers there, and if you run into them, you lose some health and also have to play their mini game. Each mini-game is different depending on who you hit. For example, if you run into an old lady, she wants help throwing things into her cart. If you run into a store employee, they feed you free samples, which you have to eat as quickly as possible by tapping on the screen. I found it rather annoying that it was so easy to run into these made the whole shopping mode kind of painful.

Overall Score? I'm giving this one a 7/10. I like it, I could see myself owning it, and after playing...I'm genuinely interested in playing some of the predecessors to this game. I'm also going to rent the Wii version and see how that look for more "Cooking Mama" titles in future reviews. There are also "Gardening Mama" and "Crafting Mama" titles I just might have to check out as well. :-)

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