Order Up! (Nintendo 3DS) - Review by Andrew
Some years ago we made the trip up to Sheffield in order to visit Zoo Games and spend a few hours with the new Wii game: Order Up! I can recall mentioning at the time what a great DS game it would make and while the developers had expressed an interest bringing it to the handheld format, sadly, it never materialized. That was until now, and just before the festive season, this 3DS version quietly made it way to retail. So, was it worth the wait?
As with the Wii version, the game begins with you in the cargo hold of an airplane and your first challenge is to decide which of the two rookie chefs you wish to play as: one male, one female. On selection you fall through a trap door in the floor, only to land safely by a burger restaurant that just happens to be looking for a chef. This is basically a tutorial level so while there's nothing too taxing you will be taken through all the basics such as preparing and cooking food. The learning curve is perfectly pitched and, as you only ever cook one dish at a time, you can focus all your efforts on making it perfect. Moving on means gaining five stars which are given for a variety of reasons including customer satisfaction, cleanliness (the environmental health can call at any time) and, most important, impressing the food critic.
The customers are very interesting; the developers have obviously spent some time building up their personalities and food palates, and you will quickly discover that, as in real life, everyone wants their food cooked in different ways. Vampires for example (yes, there's a vampire who lives in the town), like their food rare, whilst cowboys like theirs well cooked and others may prefer more salt or spice. Getting things just right means big tips that will enable you to purchase items later in the game.
Things step up a gear once you own your own place and the game features Mexicans, Italians and even more up-market establishments and to make sure things run smoothly you'll want to hire some extra staff. You can have two assistant chefs at any one time, more experienced ones cost more and some have very specific skills. You have to cook multiple items at any one time and customer satisfaction is based on speed and just how well you cook their desired dish. You'll know exactly how they feel too, as not only do they tip you (or not) but they also fill out comment cards on each of their visits.
In order to expand you'll need to purchase supplies and recipes, including the elusive Chef's Specials which you'll have to get from the Farmers Market. This increases your turnover and by offering more options your establishment will grow in popularity. Once you have everything under control you can request a visit from the food critic although he will generally appear displeased with anything you place in front of him. Every single part of the dish must be perfect to pass this challenge. If it's not, you won't be awarded the final star and you'll have to try again later. Success though means that you can acquire another restaurant and start all over again.
The first thing you'll notice about Order Up! is just how intuitive the control system is and you'll see that most of the movements you make are similar to those you'd do in 'real' life. If you are having problems though the first level, which acts as a tutorial, will give you all the guidance you need. We would recommend knocking the paperboy off his bike though, as it’s not only highly entertaining but also opens up one of the many mini-games.
US-based Super Villain has done it again and the games appearance is every bit as pleasing as the Wii version. The visuals are super stylized and you'll be constantly looking around the various restaurants just to spot the finer details. The kitchens themselves are far less detailed and uncluttered which allows you to fully concentrate on what you are doing as opposed to taking in the sights. The real stars though are the various customers who not only appear to be very different but also have completely different mannerisms and personalities. All this is tied up with a rather clever front end, which displays the island as a whole and makes getting around very easy indeed.
While the soundtrack is somewhat generic the various voiceovers are excellent and there's loads of it. Unusually it's also actually funny meaning that Order Up succeeds where other games have failed miserably. This is largely due to the huge variety of accents your customers possess, mixed neatly with their food preferences and inane banter.
The cooking itself is all done using the stylus and most of it is very intuitive, dishes need to be turned on the hot plate, for instance, or removed from the deep fat fryer. Spoiling too much food and throwing it away can cause a rat infestation, which takes you to a mini game but if you don't pay enough attention it may result in a fire, however this is worth doing at least once as it leads onto a mini game where you must use your stylus to extinguish the flames.
The 3D works very well here giving the game an added depth and, as a result, more immersive experience. You’ll only really require the various odors and uncomfortable heat to believe you are in a real kitchen. Sadly, other than the stylus, the developers haven’t used any of the 3Ds’s networking features so don’t expect any anyone attempting to steel your recipe secrets via SpotPass.
If you always wanted a portable version of Order Up! here it is and, to our knowledge, there's absolutely nothing missing: except for the monkey. As with before it's hard to explain just how engaging and addictive running your restaurant is but this is one title that really needs to be played to get the full experience. You’ll also get a fair bit of gaming for your buck and while it may take some time to impress the various critics, it never becomes so frustrating that you have to shelve your stylus. The only real downside is the lack of SpotPass or Multiplyer but there’s still more than enough on offer here for the single gamer.
Pro: Looks and Sounds Great, Well Balanced, Immersive Gameplay
Con: Not Much Replay Value, No SpotPass or Multiplayer Features.
Final score: 7.9