Six prep stations, 9 dockets, and multiple pages of ingredients to sift through. Help.
The original Cook, Serve, Delicious could get crazy at the hardest levels. The sequel is much, much worse. In the best possible way.
Due out this week, Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 (CSD 2) basically carries on from where the original left off. Having taken the CSD restaurant to the heights of culinary success, you're soon stripped down to the bare basics thanks to a money laundering scheme.
So, as you'd expect, you have to start again from the bottom. That means starting up a new restaurant in Teragon Supertower, which also happens a string of other eateries that you can sharpen your skills at.
We received a preview code of CSD 2 last week, the same build that was available at PAX West. The full version has 30 separate restaurants with more than 350 "levels", which is really 350 different sets of menus.
And it'll take you a while to work through all of those, even if you're an experienced CSD chef. There's two major mechanical changes with the sequel, both of which make the game harder newcomers and fans alike.
At the top of the screen, you can see a series of four stations. They're basically holding areas, where you can prep food like chips, hotdogs, pizzas, salads and the like beforehand. Prepping food in advance isn't any simpler than cooking it on the fly, but some food can't be served without being prepped first (like pig's blood, or pizzas), and you can store more than just one order at a holding stations.
Food does expire after a while, so you'll have to clear the orders out eventually, but it's easy enough to get used to off the fly.
The real kicker is preparing every recipe. In the past, orders were completed with a series of button or directional inputs. Fiddly or complicated recipes, like soup, might have ingredients spread out over multiple pages, but for the most part everything was on the one page.
That's no longer the case in the sequel. If you're using a controller (which is likely if you're playing in local co-op), you have to hold down the left trigger or right trigger before pressing a face button:
It's a simple change, but it increases the amount of inputs needed to complete orders. And when you have some ingredients on the left trigger, and others that aren't, it's easy to have many moments of brief confusion.
That only ramps up when you add co-op into the mix, which I played with Tegan below. In the build's most chaotic restaurant, you're dealing with 9 separate prep stations and at least five holding stations.
Orders fly in much faster than before during rush hour - although if some of the food is prepped beforehand, you can clear the order immediately, or at least have the option being tactical with what you send out.
It takes a little longer before you can start committing CSD 2's recipes to muscle memory. But once that happens, it's easy to get into a rhythm that's genuinely addictive - much the same way that made Overcooked! and the original CSD so much fun to play with friends.
Some basics have been tweaked a bit, too. Side dishes take the place of special restaurant upgrades: side dishes buy you an extra 15 seconds of patience from punters, provided you have them prepped beforehand. Chores are a little simpler too, and drinks like wine and coffee have been simplified a little given the increased complexity of everything else.
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 comes out on PC later this week. It's coming to the PS4 later this year, with a potential mobile port (like the original) once developer David Galindo works out how to convert CSD 2's more complicated interface to smaller screens.