previews\ May 12, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Cooking Mama - NDS - Preview

E3 2006 Hands On Preview

Can a cooking game be fun? That’s the question I asked myself upon the announcement of Cooking Mamma, a quirky-looking video game that caters to the quirky Japanese market. It’s a game of mini-games. With a few small exceptions, I don’t like mini-games. Nonetheless, I was assigned to preview this title, so… 

To my surprise, Cooking Mamma wasn’t just a game of mini-games. It wasn’t just a cooking gimmick, or some cheesy, cutesy, kiddie monotony that few gamers can stand. It wasn’t any of those things at all. Cooking Mamma was, unbelievably, a cool, clever, and extremely addictive title. 

Here’s how it works. You get recipes, LOTS of recipes. There are over 70 in all, and each one has a list of required ingredients and cooking preparation methods that must be followed in order to make the dish. Majesco stresses that this is a game designed for every player, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a cakewalk. I played it and can confirm it’s definitely not a breeze – it’s just forgiving. 

I can’t remember the name of the dish I was supposed to prepare first, but involved things like meat that had to be fried, bread that needed to be sliced, and vegetables that needed to be cooked. Every requirement involves a different mini-game. First I had to slice the bread (which is done by tapping screen as quickly possible). Next I had to slice the vegetables, which required a little more precision in regards to where I tapped the screen. Eventually I was led to the point of placing the meat in the pan along with the vegetables. I had to push them around to keep them from burning, then let them sit in order for items to get cooked all the way through. 

I had to batter meat, butter pans, flip this weird noodle dish, and perform dozens of other cooking-related duties. It sounds as crazy as it looks, but just like WarioWare, there’s a certain charm about this game that cannot be denied.  

Majesco says that Cooking Mama will utilize the Nintendo DS’s microphone for cooling food. How so? Simply blow into the microphone to lower the temperature of your meal. 

This is an E3 preview – all I gotta do is list the content, I’m not required to give an opinion on a product that’s not complete. So believe me when I say you have to check this game out when it’s released. Majesco is placing it under their value line of titles and plans to sell it for $19.99. But the content you’re getting is not a cheap value – it’s better than pretty much every mini-game collection I’ve ever played. And it’s taught me a thing or two about cooking.

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