Reviewed: 25th June 2020 - 13:04
Overcooked created a formula that made local gameplay fun; grab four controllers and you’re off causing mayhem while trying to cook meals for customers. A simple premise that gets harder as the levels become even more ridiculous. With more games incorporating the same mechanics as Overcooked, the genre is becoming more saturated as the years pass.
In comes a new challenger, Cannibal Cuisine; an even more light-hearted yet more morbid game that local players can gnaw their teeth into. As you chase around each level cooking meals to serve the Hoochooboo, you can be forgiven for assuming that there is nothing new given to the cook’em up genre – this is where the morbidity takes roost.
The Hoochooboo love their meat, more specifically sacrificial meat in the form of humans. Your task is to kill tourists that wander into the level at random times and cook their flesh to wrap it all in a dish fit worthy for the gods. Bonus points will be given for following the correct order of the meals. Tourists fight back and can even deal damage to you, with the only way to regenerate health through eating their flesh.
Every level is the same; kill tourists -> cook meat -> create a dish -> feed the Hoochooboo. Then hope you gathered enough points to earn a star to progress to the next level. This is where Cannibal Cuisine starts to falter; its difficulty spikes. As a single-player game, even the first level was nigh on impossible to get enough points to continue to level 2. Still, once you manage it, the next set of levels are considerably more manageable.
The process of tearing out your hair, then bathing in the sun for a while, is far too frequent giving the lonesome player an urge to throw in the towel and not return. Difficulty spikes are one thing, but when it’s so tricky that a perfect speed run can’t net you a star, it becomes frustrating.
Thankfully you can play multiplayer which is where all the fun resides, delegating tasks amongst yourselves, accidentally killing each other and throwing ingredients around. It’s a very familiar site that still works on every cook’em up game, and it’s gratifying here too.
To vary the gameplay more, the player can assign 1 of 4 powers. Healing totems allow you to heal others from tourist attacks, stomp dazzles your prey, so you get the time to pick and choose your next victim. Dash is the most useful one to get around the levels faster. Fire Breath allows you to cook meat more quickly, even without a pan.
Mixing powers between players is an excellent tactic, but you will find that the majority of levels will require all players to have the dash power equipped.
The customisability of every character is massive, including being able to change colours and the item which you have in your hands, be it a frying pan or a knife. These items are decorative only, but they give a nice little touch to the already beautifully crafted and colourful world. The player select screen, however, is a bit bare. It would have been nice to see a background of a level with the characters on it rather than a blue background. It’s the only place where the presentation felt lacking.
As you progress through the game, the Hoochooboo requisites become ever harder, sometimes asking for severed hands and human grilled ribs mixed with the seasoned garnish of citrus and eggplants. It will be a very familiar affair to cook’em up players, but Cannibal Cuisine takes it to a new height.
The crafted environmental hazards in Cannibal Cuisine are wonderful, and traversing them in time to feed the Hoochooboo and making sure you feed the correct colour coded Hoochooboo can be tricky. The downside is that the controls are somewhat finicky, which can often cause you to die. Rushing around trying to stop tourists from taking your natural ingredients adds to the frustration when you’re frequently dying due to control issues.
These are only a few gripes that can cause you to restart the map again, but once you understand Cannibal Cuisine’s quirks, then it will be a hoot to play.
- Great local co-op fun
- A big variation in cuisine
- Colourful and vibrant presentation
- Nice additions to the cook’em up genre
- Difficulty Spikes
- Traversing levels is too archaic