Indie & Wholesome Gaming with a Cuppa!
Game: Yum Yum Cookstar
Genre: Simulation, Casual
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), Xbox One/X/S and PS4/5)
Developer| Publisher: 1st Playable Productions | Planet Entertainment
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: USD $39.99 | UK £ TBC | EU € TBC
Release Date: US October 4th, 2022 | EU November 11th, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Planet Entertainment.
There are a plethora of TV shows, magazines, books and vloggers to instruct, demonstrate and inspire our cooking. The gaming industry’s latest take is Yum Yum Cookstar. So did this game delight my taste buds, or leave a bitter taste in my mouth?
You join Chef Yum Yum in her kitchen to create and master various recipes before presenting them to the judges in her new cooking competition: Yum Yum Cookstar. The initial tutorial for cooking Rainbow Waffles is great. You are guided through and allowed to practise the various mini-games, before creating your masterpiece. You then experience the nerve-racking wait as the judges critique your creation.
As with most judging panels, you have a variety of characters, Yum Yum Cookstar is no different. Max Picante is a light-hearted, easy to cook for, celebrity chef. Basil Wellington, is a hard-nosed restaurant critic and is difficult to please. Finally, Ambrosia, a pop music sensation, who is generally fair in her appraisal. National Lampoon wrote the judges’ dialogue and it is quite comical. Luckily, there is enough scripted that I didn’t notice it repeats until the last few recipes.
After making the Rainbow Waffles and feeling confident that I could follow on-screen instructions, I was ready to have a go at some of the 70+ promised recipes, tournaments or challenges. However, Yum Yum informed me that I needed to learn some new techniques to gain more recipes.
The techniques are practice mini-games, but there is no option to skip this learning. The graphics are good, but the movement requirements are similar. However, six culinary techniques later, my recipe repertoire increased. In order to progress further, I had to cook these new delights to the bronze trophy level.
I easily achieved this and even gained a gold trophy, to which Yum Yum and the judges performed a dance (a snapshot of which I could share on social media).
Alas, no tournaments or daily challenges unlocked, just more techniques.
Complete the technique training and a new set of recipes appear. Complete the recipes and new techniques are available. It seemed like an endless circle.
Initially, there are 50 recipes, I believe more are available from completing various tasks, including sharing on social media. There are some delicious-sounding delights, such as Unicorn Hot Chocolate or Rainbow Marshmallow Dream Bars. The recipes consist of various steps (mini-games), sometimes as little as 4, but it could be as many as 12. Generally, the recipe has different mini-game mechanics, but on some of the longer recipes, there is repetition.
The mini-game could be keeping in time with the timer, stirring the pot, moving or chopping the ingredients, catching the falling ingredients or selecting the right ingredient order in a mini-memory game. Nothing overly complicated, although I struggled to get the timings right on the rolling pin game.
Your score is displayed after each completed step and you have a humorous picture to look at whilst the next recipe step loads. This loading screen can be there for 7+ seconds. This doesn’t seem long, but when the mini-game only takes seconds to complete, it started to interrupt the flow of the game and became increasingly annoying.
It took around 10 hours to complete the cycle of techniques/recipes and still, no tournament opened up. I don’t know what triggers this event as there is no information provided. It was very disappointing.
However, the Daily Challenges did appear on the morning after release. I had a go at them, but it was based on the top skill level which I couldn’t successfully complete.
I started my culinary adventure using a Pro-Controller, although pressing buttons was easy enough, rotating the stick didn’t feel comfortable. Swapping to Joy-Cons with motion control was more enjoyable and intuitive for certain mini-games, but not for all. The touch screen was great for mixing and selecting, but trickier for smashing when you have to use the buttons. I returned to using a Pro-Controller.
There are 4 modes of cooking: Relaxed, in your own time learning option; Casual (default option), still reminded of the controls, but timed; Pro, you’re on your own with no hints; and Cookstar, make the recipe perfectly, else it’s game over! Before you select your cooking mode, you can select whether to make the meat or veg option.
After all the publicity about the vegetarian/vegan options, I was expecting it to be more prominent. I’d made several recipes before I spotted the selection under the picture of the dish. However, there isn’t a vegetarian/vegan option when you learn the techniques though.
Generally, I played at the Casual level, but the timings are tight. One mistake and it’s tough to finish the process in the remaining time. Cooking at the Cookstar level was beyond my abilities!
The music is worthy of its own mention. Written, produced and performed by Nile Rodgers and his team – it is truly excellent. The mini-games almost played to the beat, but not quite. It’s a shame not more was made of the toe-tapping rhythms.
The dance screen you received when getting a gold trophy was delightful and easy to join in with. However, I don’t know why it wasn’t for every gold trophy. The voice actors perform beautifully for Yum Yum and the judges. However, there is no on-screen text to read or option for such.
I really wanted to like Yum Yum Cookstar. I enjoyed the bright colours, some of the recipes were inspiring and the music was fun, but overall the game failed to keep me engaged.
Learning the techniques was repetitive and took the joy out of making the recipes. There was a distinct lack of balance between the number of actions per mini-game and number of mini-games per recipe. The long loading time between each recipe step just made the whole process tedious.
This was a game that promised so much but failed to deliver.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure
this game is seriously the game we all needed and didn’t know – from its vibrant colors, fun soundtrack and the main entertainment itself COOOKING – i’m the biggest fan, :,) pls do a second version
Hi Adrianna, Really pleased you are enjoying the game.
This game is apparently throwing a bunch of money into marketing, including hiring popular streamers to hype it (and probably shills to spike comment sections). It looks really boring; just learn to cook!
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