A while back, I did a quick Impressions on Cook, Serve, Delicious. Overall my feelings were positive, but I felt the controls were a bit weird/off, and the difficulty was too much. I believe that it would be better as a mouse/click game and that the weird blend of needing both mouse and keyboard made it hard to find the right rhythm for the difficulty. Well, I was on the fence about buying either of the sequels because a lot of reviews said they were even harder. With a recent steam sale, though, I said screw it, and here we are.
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is both better and worse than the first game. First and foremost, the control settings are the same and still a pain. In some cases, there is a flow you can get because you can do almost everything with space, enter, and mouse controls. However, in some restaurants, that is harder to do. There is a lot of need to hover by the space bar for recipes that have many pages of ingredients. I have to say that it would have helped a lot to have more ingredients per page like the first game did. It really becomes a mix depending on which place you are doing and which menu they give you.
This brings me to something I am mixed on. You don’t set your menu in this game for the majority of it. Instead, you have a list of restaurants, and you get more as you progress through the game. Each day the restaurant in question will have a different menu combination. On the one hand, I sort of like this. The restaurant themes are cool and interesting, and it is nice having menus that make sense rather than a random assortment of things. However, the random assortment of things in the first game allowed you to pick the recipes and combinations that you felt you could control. Some days some restaurants were really easy; other days they stacked you with way too many recipes that were similar in cook time and difficulty and made it so much harder. Also, some restaurants are just overall difficult and/or not that fun. I also didn’t love the lack of control, especially after having it with the first.
Which is also the case with upgrades. You don’t get to pick any of them; they happen randomly as you play, and that’s that. There is no deciding, “well, this upgrade would actually help me a lot because I struggle here” you just kind of have to hope you get what you need when you need it.
However, you do have the “cook serve delicious” or CSD restaurant, where you control the menu, design, and the like. I missed the lack of progressing with it as the main chunk of the campaign but like that having your own restaurant came in, in some fashion.
Another change is the holding station, which for the most part, I really like. You can do things like bulk grill patties. Other menu items have to be done on the holding station. And you can make extra sides that will increase the customers’ patience. Where this gets a bit finicky is some levels they simply don’t give you enough holding stations. Many of them will have things that have to be done in the holding station leaving you no extra room for sides even though the game recommends always having at least one. There are also times when it gets to be a pain.
A good case in point is the pizza restaurant. You have to make pizza to serve by the slice for the holding station. You can’t just make whatever pizza you want, you have to make what they tell you, so it can be a bit stressful. On top of that, though, you then have to make pizzas to order in the main part of the game. Pizza is not easy in this game, there are a lot of different combos and a lot of recipe pages, so frantically trying to do so many different ones at once, with the addition of having no or limited extra space to increase customer patience, ends up being hard to juggle.
In general, like the first game, the difficulty can be stressful. Even more so because, again you have no control to be like, “okay I am going to rework the menu to balance things better.” The game is also really inconsistent on what is considered an “average” dish vs. a “bad” one.
I also wish things like chores still auto-finished when you did them instead of needing to hit enter. Conversely, drinks (overall) are easier, as are many chores and robberies.
However, I did find myself having a bit of an easier time, sometimes, with this game. The art is a bit updated, though some of the art for customer choices was… something. I also appreciated being able to adjust the volume instead of just “on or off,” as this is a game I typically play while watching/listening to something else but don’t want it to be muted.
Bottom line? I am actually glad I decided to get this game. I wish it had some things from the first, but I appreciate the lack of other things. I liked it more than I expected based on reviews, but still, wish the game was just a tad easier with slightly different controls. I am unlikely to fully finish this, as I never did with the first, but I am enjoying trying. If you liked the first but are put off by reviews mentioning not building your own menus for all but the CSD restaurant and the difficulty, those are a factor, but it still is fun. I am glad I finally decided to ignore those warnings myself.
*Note since writing this, I have played the game more and have noticed it crashes. I would factor that into the choice to get it or not