Not the special, but a worthy appetizer.
The first thing you should know about Order Up! is that it comes with a free paper chef’s hat. So get your filthy greasy hair out of my spaghetti pomodoro, you’re disgusting.
[image1]The second thing is that Order Up! is a fun, cute cooking game for the Wii. Though the cartoon antics and simple gameplay are aimed squarely at NickToons kids, the short levels are challenging enough to entertain players of all ages.
Order Up! makes a strong first impression with its clean, quirky animation. Characters hunch over looking like Twinkie the Kid, and have pleasant moments with slapstick physical comedy and racial stereotyping. You know… in a good way. Order Up! is also the best-looking Wii game I’ve seen in a while – the color palette is tame but only the tiniest details suffer from the typical Wii fuzz and jags.
Good-looking food is easy to swallow, at least when you cook it well. You can shake, stir, and chop with the Wii Remote to cook four types of cuisine on a virtual kitchen countertop. Order Up! lets you operate every kitchen station at once, so hopefully you can slice a tomato before the stove catches fire.
[image2]Order Up! is not a difficult game but that depends on how well you can cope with multiple steps. Either you are a coordinated gamer, striving to do every step perfectly by pushing the Wii Remote as hard as you can, or you are an uncoordinated noob and you will simply compete to get the best grades you can.
A few cute side features add variety besides cooking, like when you discreetly point-and-flick rats out of the kitchen. Every level and minigame earns you more cash toward upgrades and new restaurants. It may take you a few nights to reach the final locale, but it’s there that the humor suddenly cuts loose – the ending of the game is both ludicrous and satisfying.
The sounds of Order Up! are mellow and mostly harmless, with a few restaurant-specific themes and loads of voiceover. The dialogue is pretty on-target for a kids’ cartoon, though it gets a little repetitive and lines overlap each other constantly. One at a time people, raise your hands first please! At least the sound effects shine through, whether you hear knives hitting a chopping block, pots bubbling to a boil, or the perfect ring of the service bell calling a waiter to deliver your completed dishes.
[image3]Once you’ve completed the story mode, on Normal or Hard, Order Up! is just about done. Like Diner Dash or any casual game, Order Up! looms on the corner of your desktop always ready to kill time with another day in the virtual kitchen. A Quick Play mode lets you jump right into cooking sessions, though the absence of even a multiplayer option makes you wish the game went further with things to do or ways to play.
I applaud Zoo Games and SuperVillian Studios for packing a great deal of charm and humor into Order Up!, from the edgy style to the free chef hat. It demonstrates a level of artistry and light-hearted fun that I wish every studio had the time and budget to achieve.
Oh, and it’s a fun cooking game too.