Game: Yum Yum Cookstar
Gender: Simulation, Casual
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows), Xbox One/X/S and PS4/5)
Developer| Editor: 1st Playable Productions | Planet Entertainment
Age rating: United States Everyone | EU 3+
Price: $39.99 | UK £ TBC | EU € to be confirmed
Release date: United States October 4, 2022 | EU November 11, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Planet Entertainment.
There are a plethora of TV shows, magazines, books, and vloggers to teach, demonstrate, and inspire our cooking. The latest take from the gaming industry is Yum Yum Cookstar. So did this game delight my taste buds, or leave a sour taste in my mouth?
Chef yum yum
You join chef Yum Yum in her kitchen to create and master various recipes before presenting them to the judges of her new cooking competition: Yum Yum Cookstar. The initial tutorial for baking rainbow waffles is awesome. You are guided and allowed to practice the various mini-games, before creating your masterpiece. You then experience an agonizing wait as the judges critique your creation.
As with most juries, you have a variety of characters, Yum Yum Cookstar is no different. Max Picante is a celebrity chef, light and easy to cook. Basil Wellington, is an uncompromising and hard to please food critic. Finally, Ambrosia, a pop music sensation, who is generally fair in her appreciation. national pamphlet wrote the judges’ dialogue and it’s quite comical. Fortunately, there are enough scripts that I didn’t notice it repeating itself until the latest recipes.
Let loose in the kitchen – Not quite
After making the rainbow waffles and being sure I could follow the onscreen instructions, I was ready to try out some of the 70+ recipes, tournaments, or challenges promised. However, Yum Yum informed me that I needed to learn new techniques to get more recipes.
The techniques are training 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 has expanded. In order to progress further, I had to cook these new delicacies to the bronze trophy.
I achieved this easily and even won a gold trophy, at which Yum Yum and the judges performed a dance (a snapshot of which I was able to share on social media).
Alas, no tournaments or daily challenges unlocked, just more techniques.
Complete Skill Training and a new set of recipes will appear. Complete the recipes and new techniques are available. It felt like an endless circle.
The delicious recipes of Yum Yum
Initially there are 50 recipes, I believe more are available by completing various tasks including sharing on social media. There are delicious-sounding treats, like Unicorn Hot Chocolate or Rainbow Marshmallow Dream Bars. Recipes consist of different stages (minigames), sometimes as few as 4, but can be up to 12. Usually the recipe has different minigame mechanics, but on some of the longer recipes there is repeat.
The mini-game can be keeping pace with the timer, stirring the pot, moving or chopping ingredients, catching falling ingredients or selecting the correct order of ingredients in a memory mini-game . Nothing too complicated, although I had trouble getting the timing right on the rolling pin game.
Your score is displayed after each completed step and you have a humorous image to watch while the next recipe step loads. This loading screen can be there for more than 7 seconds. It doesn’t seem long, but when the minigame only takes a few seconds, it started interrupting the flow of the game and became more and more boring.
Tournaments and Daily Challenges
It took about 10 hours to complete the technique/recipe cycle and still no tournament opened. I don’t know what triggers this event as no information is provided. It was very disappointing.
However, the Daily Challenges appeared the morning after the release. I tried, but it was based on the highest skill level which I couldn’t pass.
I started my culinary adventure using a Pro-Controller, although pressing the buttons was fairly easy, turning the handle was not comfortable. Switching to Joy-Cons with motion control was more enjoyable and intuitive for some minigames, but not all. The touchscreen was great for shuffling and selecting, but trickier for breaking when you need to use the buttons. I reverted to using a Pro-Controller.
There are 4 cooking modes: Relaxed, in your own time learning option; Casual (default option), always reminded of commands, but delayed; Pro, you are alone without any clues; and Cookstar, make the recipe perfectly, otherwise it’s game over! Before selecting your cooking method, you can choose to prepare the meat or vegetable option.
After all the publicity about the vegetarian/vegan options, I was expecting them to be more. I had made several recipes before spotting the selection under the photo of the dish. However, there is no vegetarian/vegan option when learning the techniques.
Usually I played Casual level, but deadlines are tight. One mistake and it is difficult to complete the process in the remaining time. cooking at Cookstar level was beyond my ability!
The music deserves its own mention. Written, produced and starring Nile Rodgers and his team, it’s truly excellent. The minigames almost played to the beat, but not quite. It’s a shame we didn’t do more foot-stamping rhythms.
The dance screen you received when getting a gold trophy was delicious and easy to join. 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 an option for it.
I really wanted to love Yum Yum Cookstar. I enjoyed the bright colors, 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 away the pleasure of making the recipes. There was a clear imbalance between the number of actions per minigame and the number of minigames per recipe. The long loading time between each step of the recipe just made the whole process tedious.
It was a game that promised so much but failed to deliver.
Final verdict: I’m not sure