|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Super Villain Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Zoo Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Developed by Super Villain Studios and published by Zoo Games, Order Up! for the Nintendo Wii is a delightfully hectic crash-course in gastronomy. Unlike the competition, Order Up! is a well-rounded title that expertly mixes cooking challenges with that of simple restaurant management. The deeper gameplay, varied recipe list, excellent controls, amusing visuals, and challenging difficulty make this an ideal Wii game.
In the beginning of Order Up! you will find yourself in a fast food joint called Burger Face. While there, a pimply adolescent with a crackly voice takes you through the ins and outs of making the perfect burger and fries. This initial level serves as a tutorial, as it will quickly get you used to the control mechanism for flipping patties, frying potatoes, leafing lettuce, and slicing tomatoes. These simple actions form the base upon which you will build your culinary repertoire. Additionally, they'll get you used to the meters and timing systems used to grade your preparation skills.
Each ingredient will be judged on a scale from poor to perfect, depending on how well or how quickly you perform the action. Furthermore, the meters measure when you need to stir or flip an item as well as whether it is done or not. The cooking meter does this by indicating the food's current temperature (doneness), and a secondary indicator arrow will quickly advance, showing you when to stir or flip the ingredient. For the best results, you'll want to take off the cooked food and keep the flip and stir indicator in the green zone.
The controls in Order Up! are well executed and rapidly become second nature. The B button on the Wii Remote serves as your function button. Any time you want to flip, chop, slice, grate, stir, dredge, bake, process, or drop food into oil, the B button is used along with a corresponding motion that is appropriate to the task at hand. The A button is for selecting both raw and cooked ingredients. Switching between items is done via the Wii Remote's D-Pad or simply by selecting new ingredients from the order ticket. If you need to add a special ingredient like spices, then press the minus button and the spice menu will appear. This simple set of commands is very user-friendly and efficient, making it easy to make tasty vittles and score sweet tips.
Though completing a single order is quite easy, no matter how complex the recipe may be, the game quickly becomes stressful when multiple tickets need to be dealt with. After impressing the food critic in the diner, you'll find your restaurant's popularity swell, and you will have to deal with the increased demand. This isn't so easy. In fact, cooking several meals to perfection, spicing them to your patrons' tastes, and getting them out piping hot can be quite a challenge indeed. Occasionally, an entire day's work can be thwarted by a restaurant-clearing grease fire because you forgot to tend to the mac and cheese while slicing an onion. This balancing act will have you frantically multitasking throughout the game. After all, timing is everything in Order Up!
As you progress in the game, assistant cooks, equipment upgrades, spices, black market recipes, special food stuffs, and additional restaurants become available to you. This is where the game outshines the competition. These simple management responsibilities do a great job of making the game more engaging; it actually feels like you're cooking for a reason. This element has been sorely missing from the otherwise well-executed Cooking Mama series. There's definitely something to be said for earning coin, pleasing customers, and buying new locations.
Quality assistants in the kitchen are keys to your success. The help that you can hire varies greatly in both price and ability, but all are essential to helping you deal with the work load. For example, instead of preparing each ingredient yourself, you can delegate the preparation of an item to one of your workers. Be careful not to overwork them though! What's more, keeping your restaurant clean and constantly updating your equipment is essential to getting the best results. This combination of strategic use of helpers, cleanliness, and quality equipment make it much easier to execute meals to perfection, netting you a lot more coin, pleasing your customers, and developing renown.