Part of the charm of the original Cooking Mama on DS was Mama herself, with her cheery advice that would turn to fire-eyed anger at the drop of a spoon. The cutesy presentation helped too, yet the game was fundamentally about cooking.
Now, however, food has taken a back seat to ‘personality’. The game’s shifted from a first-person view, meaning you now face your MySims-esque avatar as you control their movements while Mama buzzes around offering non-stop Engrish encouragement. This front-on view isn’t nearly as intuitive as before, and the blocky 3D is a graphical step backwards for the series.
The Let’s Cook mode gives you the chance to prepare a meal for one of Mama’s odd friends. It’s a pretty pointless addition though, as the process of assembling one of the 51 dishes (yes, just 51) remains the same, except on a ‘one mistake and you’re out’ system. The two-player activities fail to liven things up for the same reason – there just isn’t enough variety. There are more new tricks in the shape of mid-recipe minigames where you help Mama rectify your culinary mistakes by catching stray ingredients in her apron or grabbing a flying pizza base, but, as in the main game, unresponsive controls hinder your efforts.
Feb 25, 2009
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