Reviewed: February 29, 2008
Released: November 13, 2007
Cooking Mama for Nintendo DS first came out in March of 2006. Since them it has grown to include the Nintendo Wii’s version Cooking Mama: Cook Off. These games offered a glance at what it’s like to really cook and be a chef. With all the slicing and dicing, there is no end to the amount of fun these games offer. If you like the idea of chopping onions and preparing squid without actually getting you hands dirty then these are the games for you. Now Majesco has come out with its new version, Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends, for the Nintendo DS game system.
Welcome to the wonderful world of cooking. In the world of Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends you will make good use of your stylus. You will use your stylus to pound out dough, to spread sauce and to dices onions. You will also make use of the DS’s microphone. You will use the microphone to cool down your food and keep it from burning. This game really doesn’t require the use of the Nintendo DS’s d-pad or the use of the A and B buttons. You definitely become familiar with the stylus while you play this game. I suggest that you get a cover for you screen because there is a lot of scraping and tapping that will occur. The damage intensifies because you will receive bonus star each time you complete a portion of an entry quickly.
Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends offers several different ways to play. On the Top Menu screen there are six options to choose from. The first option is Cook with Mama here you will be able to cook up fifty different entrées. You will first have to unlock them by completing the first entrées which include pizza and an eel rice bowl. You will be able to cook up several different types of cuisine they range from cookies to the more exotic escargot.
Each entrée has several different parts in completing the entry. Many times you will start out with the basics and be slicing or dicing up peppers and carrots. Or you may have to clean and filet a fish. After all the preparations are complete you will need to start the mixing and coating. A lot of the time you will need to prepare bread by rolling out the dough with your rolling pin or coating the fish you filleted with breading. Then it’s on to cooking.
There are several different ways to cook the food, you will be able to steam, grill, and fry all of your creations according to what Mama tells you. When you complete a portion of the preparations perfectly the modest Mama will always let you know that you did it “Even better than Mama”. Hearing this is a good thing I guess. Luckily you can skip through it by tapping the screen. Sometimes you can definitely have too much of a good thing.
When you have finally completed the entrée you will receive a score from 0-100 and if you receive a score of a hundred you will get a gold plate. If you score a low score you will receive a broken bronze plate. So if you want to achieve a gold plate every time you have the option of practicing which will allow you to try different parts of an entrée over and over until you get it down perfect. Remember the quicker and better you perform the tasks the more bonus stars you will achieve.
The next option you will come across on the Top Menu is Let’s Cook. While playing Let’s Cook you will be able to choose which character you would like to play with. You can unlock new players as you complete entrées on the Cook with Mama Option. Each character has his or her, own special entrées that they will be able to cook. But beware this portion of the game is not as easy as the Cook with Mama Option. Here you will be judged on the taste of your food and sometimes the food will be so bad you will be told “This cannot be eaten!”
You will receive this status if you make any mistake that does not allow you to continue the recipe. If you drop the yolk when you are separating the white from the yolk you will not be able to finish the entrée and you will receive the “This cannot be eaten!” status. This part of the game is fun and challenging you will be cooking the same recipes as in the Cooking with Mama Challenge however you will not receive her careful guidance. You will also not have Mama to say, “Don’t worry I will fix this!”
Another great aspect of this game is the Cooking Contest. You will be able to choose to go it alone with a Solo Challenge or compete with others in a Friends Challenge. This Cooking Contest is not a contest where you actually prepare whole entrées. You will only be completing different tasks that you will perform throughout the entrées. While play you will be given a task to complete over and over with in a given amount of time. For example you will be asked to break and egg and drop it into a bowl has many times as you can. You will also be able to see how many different rolls you can grill and not burn within a given amount of time. During the Friends Challenge you will hook yourself up to other peoples Nintendo DS’s and complete these same tasks.
There are three other options on the Top Menu. The first option is Change Design. Here you will be able to be able to change Mama’s Outfit and Mama’s Accessories. You will also be able to change the color of the Utensils, the Kitchen equipment and Top Screen. This is where your bonus gifts come into play. You will be able to dress Mama with the different options you unlock by achieving bonus stars. The next option is "Write in Diary" here you will be able to add entries into your Diaries. You will also be able to view your different diary logs. The other option is of course Options. Here you will be able to Clear Data. You will also be able to "Send a Demo" to another DS! You will also be able to of course view the Credits
Cooking Mama is altogether a bright and colorful game with simple graphics. Most of the characters are presented with a round head and big eyes. I thing I noticed is that Mama doesn’t seem to have any fingers. Which I thought made her all the better chef for over coming a disability. All in all I thought the graphics on this game were great. Making the graphics on this game anything close to realistic would cut down on the child friendly fun this game offers. I really don’t think they could have added any more to this game’s graphics, they are fine just the way they are. However, I don’t think that they are anything close to perfect.
The sound in this game is fun and child-friendly. The music you hear is the same throughout the game. They could have spiced this game up with some different tunes. The music on this game is okay, it’s in no way one of the focuses of the game. You will be so wrapped up in trying to peel and slice apples as fast as you can you won’t notice the sound. One sound aspect of this game that I really enjoy is Mama’a voice. She is always there to encourage you. However, after playing awhile and after you have heard Mama say, “Even better than Mama!” a hundred times you may want to turn off the sound. It’s a catchy saying and it will get stuck in your head, fair warning. I really enjoyed the sound in this game
This game in stores today costs $29.99. I think that is a fair price to pay. This game offers hours of enjoyment and is child-friendly. It is really a game for the whole family. This game can, and will be played for a long time because you can always improve on the different entrees and there are a ton of unlockables. This is a great game for long trips and really tests your hand-eye coordination. However, your hand will start to cramp up after playing this game for several hours. All of that tapping and scraping really gets to you
My final thought on this game is that it is a great, fun, and family friendly game. I would have no reason not to let children of all ages play this game. The instructions are pretty simple and controlling the stylus is pretty easy throughout. Overall this game offers plenty of game time and is worth the thirty dollars to buy it. I would also suggest getting the Wii version of this game it adds a whole other level of difficulty. I really enjoyed creating all the different entrees the game has to offer. You will notice while playing that many of the dishes are Asian in origin. I guess you will be able to figure out where this game was created. I liked this game and would suggest it to anyone. It’s not an “A” game but it is super fun and I know you will enjoy it.