Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends Review
Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Office Create 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Majesco 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 13, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

In the first Cooking Mama, kind words from Mama were the only real reward for your efforts, aside from unlocking new recipes. A far more elaborate reward system was incorporated into Dinner with Friends to make budding chefs feel good about their creations when they truly nail the recipe precisely. A perfect score is rewarded with a spray of hearts and flowers accompanied by a musical fanfare and Mama's praise.

Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot

The voice over work for Mama is pretty funny as it's barely intelligible English spoken in a thick Japanese accent. Completing recipes with a high score will often unlock new recipes in addition to sweet rewards including new outfits and accessories for Mama, new backdrops for the kitchen, and new utensils, among others. Additionally, completing steps with perfect accuracy at a high speed will give you a bonus. At the end of each dish your bonus is calculated and a colorful gift is unlocked for every five stars you receive.

The stylus controls in the original Cooking Mama were never as tight as they should have been which led to moments of irritation. It's too bad Dinner with Friends doesn't solve all of those problems. Though it's truly hard to tell, it does at least feel like minor improvements to touch controls were made in Dinner with Friends (at least in some areas). There are still certain mini-games where controls feel awkward or unresponsive. For example, it should not be this tough to simply strain pasta without having water go flying in all directions. The same goes for filling containers with custard or trying to smoothly shape meat into hamburgers.

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Arranging items in your own fridge at home may not be very easy (depending on whether you've cleaned out the two-year old science experiments), but it shouldn't be such a pain to move a few things around in order to stick a fruit mold in to chill since Mama's fridge is way tidier. In general, the controls function efficiently during the bulk of the games, but when they are not very responsive it can be pretty frustrating. Thankfully, the glut of excellent recipes and new cooking mini-games makes this issue less bothersome than in the first game. It's easy to look beyond the few troublesome tasks as they are often over rather quickly.

Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot

Cooking Mama is an acquired taste. If you enjoyed the original, then you'll easily get a huge amount of play from Dinner with Friends. The new recipes alone are well worth the time, and throwing in many new steps and rewards freshens the gameplay. There aren't a lot of major changes to the original formula. At its core, it's essentially the same game only a bit better. If you missed Cooking Mama the first time around it's best to skip the appetizers and go right for the main course with Dinner with Friends. You won't regret it.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • Use the stylus as your ultimate cooking utensil to chop, grate, slice, stir, spread, sprinkle, roll, and much more in 150 different mini-games.
  • Create 80 new recipes including: macaroons, lobster, chili dogs, escargot, California rolls, seafood salad, shark fin soup, meatloaf, ice cream, bananas foster, and more.
  • Four gameplay modes including new additions to the series.


    RATING OUT OF 5
    RATING DESCRIPTION
    3.7
    Graphics
    Bright and colorful visuals. Mini-games are the same visual style, but transitions, backgrounds, and menus have been updated.
    3.2
    Control
    Slightly better stylus controls than the original. There are still some kinks which need working out.
    3.4
    Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Bouncy, upbeat music and silly voice-overs do the trick.
    3.7

    Play Value
    The new recipes, bonus extras, and additional gameplay mode will keep you busy in short-but-fun bursts of cooking bliss.

    3.7
    Overall Rating - Good
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
  • Screenshots / Images
    Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends screenshot - click to enlarge

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