Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Order Up!

A few weeks ago, I did something that I've never done before: I pre-ordered a game based on the creativity of the developers website.

The developers were Super Villain Studios, and their upcoming game was Order Up!, for the Wii. I ordered the game and hoped that it was half as clever as their website.

As it turns out, it's absolutely as clever as their website, and it's a fun (and funny) game.

There are many things to like about Order Up! The graphics are bright and cartoony, which is entirely in keeping with the style of the game. The plot and dialogue are quite funny. The controls make excellent use of the Wiimote. Most importantly, it's fun to play.

Here's the basic premise: you're hired to work at a fast food burger joint, and after some minimal training in using the grill and the fryer, you're set loose on the world as a chef. You progress through multiple restaurants, preparing many different dishes (15) in each location. Each dish has multiple ingredients that must be prepared and combined to create the final dish. You slice, chop, peel, grate, boil, saute, fry, and grill (I probably forgot something there), and all make use of the Wiimote for special motions, which are done very well. The preparation at each step is rated, and the overall dish quality heavily affects the size of your tips, which are necessary to buy kitchen upgrades, spices, and to hire sous chefs. As your restaurant increases in star level, more and more customers come to your restaurant, as many as four people will sit at the same table, and preparing meals for them can get quite crazy, since they have to be finished at the same time (meals can't sit indefinitely--they'll get cold).

Set the kitchen on fire? I did. Health inspectors? Yep.

It's all complex enough to be satisfying, but the game has a terrific sense of humor, so it stays relatively silly as well. You live in Porta Bello, and the restaurants have names like The Gravy Chug and El Fuego. The plot is inspired as well, and I laughed out loud many times while I played the game.

The only real problem with Order Up!, from a value standpoint, is that it's short. A single playthrough only takes 5-6 hours, so even if you play through on both difficulty levels, the game is over far too soon.

Order Up! also gets the 7-47 Stamp of Approval. Both Eli 7.0 and I really enjoy playing the game, and the humor is broad enough that Eli understands most of the jokes.

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