Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 03/20/07 | Genre: Action
Majesco was once an up and coming Publisher and Developer that ran into some expensive products that did not sell well. Fortunately for gamers, the company has reversed their fortunes by releasing smaller budget titles that are full of great gameplay. One such franchise that they have succeeded with is Cooking Mama. The title took the Nintendo DS over when it was released and gamers found themselves trying to please Mama by making good meals. Now the magic continues on the Nintendo Wii. But is the game as good as the handheld version?
One of the first things that become apparent with Cooking Mama: Cook Off is that the control are just not quite as responsive as the Nintendo DS version. This leads to a problem that has been seen on the Wii. Motion Sensitive controls just don't always work well unless the Developer puts a lot of work into them. This is probably the reason why Nintendo has delayed the vast majority of their First Party titles while they attempt to clean up any motion control issues. Even titles like Wario Ware Smooth Moves had issues with the motion controls--from time to time. So if Nintendo can have issues, and they make the hardware, it is no wonder other Publishers and Developers can have issues too. Cooking Mama is no exception to this.
Some of the mini-games in Cooking Mama: Cook Off are just extremely sensitive and others are just not sensitive enough. For example, cracking eggs will leave you baffled and confused while you figure out how much to tilt the room and stirring will only drive your Wii-mote to insanity as you have to over-stir with big motions to make it work. Other tasks are a bit easier to do like grinding meat or sliding a stick of butter in a pan. While the tasks you have to perform with the Wii-mote aren't all bad, prepare to get frustrated from time to time.
Cooking Mama: Cook Off plays pretty similar to the DS version. Each round of cooking is generally under a minute and after a recipe is completed--players are thrown back to the main screen where new recipes will be unlocked. In addition to the normal cooking modes, players will also find a multiplayer option that was not present in the Nintendo DS version. These games put you against a friend in split-screen and have you complete a given task both the quickest and with the most accuracy. So you will have to take care but be fast to get final grade higher than your competition. If a real life friend is not nearby, players can also choose to battle against the CPU. However, the CPU tends to cheat...
Visually you won't find Majesco breaking any new ground with Cooking Mama: Cook Off. The game may not push any limits of the hardware but looks very close to the DS and that is completely okay with me. However, the audio is a lot better. Now that there is more space available on the Wii DVD, there are a few more voices and a much better soundtrack. These maybe minor elements but it adds a little bit to the overall experience.
Cooking Mama: Cook Off was available on the Nintendo DS at a value price of $19.99 when it was released. Despite the budget price found on the handheld, Majesco decided to sell the Wii version for $49.99. While the price is the same as most Wii titles, it would have been nice to see the title retail for at least ten dollars more. But overall, Cooking Mama: Cook Off is a fun Wii title that will give software-starved Wii owners something to play while they wait for more titles to arrive. I just hope Majesco goes back to the drawing board, spends more time on the Wii-mote controls, and delivers an even better Cooking Mama in the not so distant future. (A new DS game would be nice too!)