Friday, September 29, 2006

Cooking Mama

Cooking Mama is the latest quirky, out-of-left-field game for Nintendo DS, and if there's any justice in this world, then this game will become another hit. It's been pretty hard to find at stores, so it seems this may be the case.

Games like this are the reason the DS is such a great little handheld. Isn't it fun to see videogames that are, gasp, new? Aren't we sick and tired of being sold endless Doom clones and Tomb Raider clones?

A game that revolves around cooking? It seems like an oddball concept, but it works perfectly. It probably works because the DS has earned a reputation for the quirky and experimental games. It's become acceptable, almost expected, so see something like this. Now if we could only do away with all the bad commercial tie-in games, we'd really be making progress.

Cooking Mama is the first game to take the microgame concept from Wario Ware and run with it. I've always been a fan of the Wario games, especially Wario Ware: Twisted on GBA, but it seems as though it's a genre of one. What else can you do with the idea of the mini-game? Well, you can cook recipies.

That's all Cooking Mama is about: collecting and cooking recipies. You go in a step-by-step process with microgames that involve chopping, filling, pouring, washing, mixing, and frying your food. You also have the option of mixing different recipies, like adding cooked rice to your chicken or curry.

Each step is judged by Mama with gold, silver, of bronze medals, unless you really screw up, and then she gets royally pissed off. The final recipe is judged with a score out of 100, and you get the appropriate medal for your efforts. You also unlock new recipes, which eventually adds up to around 75 or so. It's a pretty meaty little game.

It's also fairly cheap, at $20 a pop. Smart move. I'm never happy with the notion of paying $35 for a new DS game, but $20 is more than adequate. Usually I have to wait a few months before the prices drop, so this means I get to enjoy Cooking Mama when it's brand-new.

Be sure to get your mitts on this game while you can, before it becomes the next DS rarity ala Advance Wars, Phoenix Wright, Lost in Blue and Trauma Center.

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