Cooking Mama: Cook Off is another example of a clever DS title converted for use with the Wii remote. The idea seemed fun and the screenshots I had seen were cute, so it was a definite must-rent for me. Don’t consider this a review; it’s just my impressions on a game and suggestions for improvement.
What they got right:
Sound: The music fits the mood of the game very well. The noises made while cooking are absolutely perfect, too. Oddly enough, this is one of the few Wii games I have played so far with real voice acting in it. That said, the voices of “Mama” and her friends extremely cute, but terribly hard to understand. More on that later.
Graphics: The visual design perfectly conveys what this game is all about: cooking. Everything sizzles, bubbles, slices, and chops like real food. One of the most realistic sequences involves peeling shrimp wherein the movements of the shrimp are surprisingly well rendered.
Controls: Most of the time the controls are great. Chopping, stirring, and pointing are absolutely perfect.
Overall: This version of Cooking Mama includes a two-player mode, which is competitive and fun. Even more fun for me and my wife was playing the single-player mode cooperatively by taking turns with each step in the recipe. I rented this game and will definitely buy it when the price drops or if I find it used. It’s a lot of fun, but not necessarily worth the full $50 price tag.
What they got wrong:
Sound: The voice acting is super-cute, but incredibly hard to understand. At first it was funny; a Japanese girl speaking with a French accent is incredibly adorable. Eventually it becomes frustrating that no matter how many times you hear her say something that sort of sounds like “doooo .. nah now!” and still not know what she’s saying. Playing the Friends Of The World mode is even better, since you have a similar accent saying even weirder things in languages like French and Italian.
Graphics: Really no complaints here. Everything looks as good as you would expect for a game of this style.
Controls: The controls suffer from lack of explanation. In one instance, you’re instructed to move the Remote in the direction of arrows, but they neglect to tell you that you also have to push the B button.
Overall: It’s pretty frustrating how lenient Mama can be about making a mess when cracking eggs, but tear one lettuce leaf wrong and she gives you a bad rating. The inconsistency in her ratings and rules is a little hard to get around. Despite this, though, it is really a fun game.
Have you played Cooking Mama: Cook Off on Wii yet? Weigh in on this title in comments!