Partnering with Tearfund

Ready Steady Cook (DS)

Rated: 3+.

Story: Just like in the TV show, you must race against time to produce a tasty dish from an odd assortment of ingredients. Defeat your opponent by doing well and winning the audience vote.

Gameplay: Each recipe is split up into a succession of mini-games controlled entirely by using the stylus. Some of these mini-games mimic the real life action, so chopping involves swiftly moving the stylus in straight lines over a picture of the item to be diced. Other games are much more stylised - opening a can requires tapping dots as they appear, while draining peas is simulated by catching them in a colander at the bottom of the screen as they fall down from on high. One or two of the games need a bit of practice to get the hang of them but there's a handy training mode where you can work on specific ones.

There are 60 recipes in total, each playable at three different difficulties. The more complicated ones need to be unlocked by completing the simpler ones but they're all available to read in cook book form from the start if you want to try making them for real. There's a selection from British, Mexican, Oriental, Indian and Mediterranean.

The game can be played two-player with two DSs and only one cartridge. Players attempt the same recipe simultaneously. The one who makes the fewest mistakes is the winner.

Save System: Automatic save after every recipe attempt.

Comments: If you play plenty of computer games, you're probably suspecting that this is a cheap and cheerful Cooking Mama clone aimed at your mum. It may surprise you to learn that it is, in fact, an open world adventure featuring acrobatic exploration through seedy gang territory in search of mythical ingredients while being chased by aliens and bald space marines with big guns...

Actually, no, that's a lie. You were right all along.

Ready Steady Cook is a competent collection of twenty short, culinary mini-games. These are put together in different combinations to simulate recipes. Each recipe takes around four minutes to play and has a good mix of memorisation, precision, timing and frantic stylus waggling. Played for a quarter of an hour, it's quite entertaining. Play it for longer than that in one sitting, though, and it becomes incredibly repetitive. Most of the mini-games only last a few seconds, so you'll have played them all before you know it.

The game is a passable diversion for short bus journeys and coffee breaks, nonetheless. As a bonus, once you've spent a while staring at the pictures of food, the proper recipes are presented in a clear and well-organised fashion so you can prepare them yourself if you're feeling industrious.

Alternatively, you could buy it for your mum, let her play it for a bit and then stand around looking hungry...

Conclusion: It's not going to set the world alight but anyone who finds the idea of a Ready Steady Cook game appealing will be happy enough with this. (Those wishing to be chased by aliens and space marines should look elsewhere.)

Graphics: Limited but adequate.

Length: Short. Beating all the recipes on 'Hard' will take a while but this is really a game to play for a few minutes every so often.

Rating: 3/5.

No comments: