I first discovered and played Cook, Serve, Delicious! on Steam a long time ago. While it hooked me pretty quickly for a bit, I only really got into it through the iPad version. I’ve always enjoyed these kinds of games where you need quick reflexes on touch screen devices. Even World of Goo plays best on touch. The original Cook, Serve, Delicious! is fantastic on iPad and when the sequel was announced for PC and eventually PS4, I was optimistic but a little concerned since the original is one of my most played indie games ever. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! debuted on PC and saw loads of post launch support that fixed a lot of the issues people had. It finally arrived on PS4 with all PC updates included from the start and is a much better game in its current state right now.
When it comes to sequels for indie games like Risk of Rain, Spelunky, Overcooked, and even Cook, Serve, Delicious!, I’m always a bit skeptical because the originals felt so great and had so much great content and I always feel like sequels won’t live up to whatever I’d personally want. Thankfully, Overcooked 2 did that and Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! nearly nails it with some super smart additions that make up for the removal of something fans of the original will no doubt be annoyed by.
Having played the original PC release, the turnaround from Vertigo Gaming has been superb with new content constantly added and the big free “Barista Update”. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! is more of almost everything from the original. There are loads more dishes and this is huge step up visually and performance wise. If you’ve never played a game in this franchise yet, these are restaurant simulation games with tons of minigames for various dishes and chores. Your aim as a chef is to serve as many dishes as you can correctly with tickets and chores piling up. The original was great for its campaign that had great progression and while that not being present here the same way is a big flaw, the sequel has enough to be an easy recommendation for a variety of reasons. There are various ways to approach the main “campaign” here. One thing that should’ve been handled better here is player direction. At some point, you might feel unsure on what to do next. The tips that show up on loading the game are useful here but Vertigo Gaming should’ve done a better job of prodding players into exploring more of the content.
Having only really gotten into the original on iPad with a touchscreen, I struggled a bit initially to get into this with a controller. Thankfully, it only took a few attempts and practice sessions with various dishes to feel comfortable. The interface is great with its cues like the colours and alphabets that let you know which trigger or section a specific chore or ingredient is located. These simulation and management style games are usually stressful and while that plays a huge part here, there’s an all new Zen Mode that lets you enjoy everything without any stress. Holding Stations are such a fantastic addition to the core gameplay adding even more depth.
Visually, the original had a lot going for it even with a relatively simple aesthetic. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! looks gorgeous. This isn’t just the dishes that have been excellently recreated but the interface and all the menus. Even the restaurant backdrops look great on the big screen. Performance is also great outside of a few loading screen transitions that have a weird stutter. Thankfully, the gameplay itself is smooth. I like how Vertigo Gaming even let you choose your controller light bar colour for solo or co-op play.
Audio design played a very important role in making the original as beloved as it is today and the sequel pushes things further once again. The music for Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! has been done by Jonathan Geer once again and the sound effects you know and love are all here with many more. The sound effects for things like mashing potatoes or cutting are almost as satisfying as real life when paired with the subtle controller vibration feedback during the minigames.
The biggest negative here is the lack of the progression that felt perfect from the original. If you never experienced the original, this will likely not be an issue for you but as someone who loved that, it is disappointing seeing the follow up to one of my favourite games miss something like that and feel a bit soulless in comparison. The additions and enhancements almost make up for it though and this is still a fantastic experience. Cool Deli Meats, Pocket Full of Spice, and Bayou Gumbo are highlights from the soundtrack.
While I would’ve loved something like the original campaign in the sequel, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! has so much good stuff across different game modes that allow for more ways than ever before to experience the superb core gameplay here. If you have a PS4 (or even Xbox and Switch soon), this is well worth getting if you want an amazing restaurant simulation game. Hopefully the follow up to this can have online multiplayer in some form.