Cooking Mama Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

Nintendo DS
Release date:
Fall 2006

Cooking Mama

Serving up a piping-hot dish of tasty gaming goodness.

Preview by James Cunningham (Email)
May 25th 2006

The Basics: Cooking Mama is, as the name suggests, a game about cooking. Comprised of a large variety of mini-games, all using the touch screen, Mama oversees and judges all your efforts as you attempt to make dishes ranging from egg rolls or a simple sandwich to larger full-course meals. Veggies need to be cut, meat gets seasoned, omelettes are folded and flipped, and much, much more. Even the simplest dish has multiple steps, and Cooking Mama has a mini-game for all of them. It's even possible to combine multiple dishes into one extravagant recipe.

What do we think? There are a lot of games at E3. Some are good, some not so much, and then there are the ones you want to tear out of demo unit and sprint from the hall with. Cooking Mama falls squarely into that third category.

The dish I made, a rolled omelette thing, involved several steps to get right. First up, cracking eggs. As I crack, crack, crack the eggs into the bowl using the stylus, I had to be careful not to hit too hard for fear of shattering the shell, or too light because that would waste time. This went well, and was awarded with a happy Mama giving accolades to my egg-cracking skills. Next up was whisking the eggs, which needed to be done quickly enough to break the yolks but not so hard as to completely homogenize the mixture. This didn't go so well, but a firey-eyed Mama let me know that she could fix my miserable failure. After that it was on to frying and folding, with appropriate mini-games each step of the way, and then final judgment. Though not my finest culinary hour I was left wanting more, knowing I could do better.

When you think about it, cooking something involves a lot of skill. Even the simplest dishes have a ton of steps involved, and every single one can be made into a mini-game. With dozens of recipes available, all requiring several steps and some requiring multiple items combined into one final dish, Cooking Mama promises a lot of fun. Looking deeper than Wario Ware but still just as entertaining, the $20 price tag makes it an easy choice when it comes out later this year.

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