|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Cooking Mama LTD||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||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|
Mama's kitchen is as upbeat and colorful as ever. You can unlock different clothing options and accessories to dress Mama up with, including stylish glasses, shirts, hairpieces, and more. The kitchen backdrops can be customized and designed to suit your fancy. The game's cutesy, cheerful appearance is still pretty infectious. All of the food items are visually well-designed and many even look tasty. You might wind up with a grumbling stomach after extended play sessions. There are minor visual updates to recipes, menus, and mini-games that make a subtle difference, though Shop and Chop looks and plays a lot like the past installments.
The stylus-heavy controls haven't always been the tightest aspect of Cooking Mama's video game career, especially since you use touch control more than anything else. This time around many of the activities do feel a bit more precise and responsive than they have in the older games, which will be good news to Mama fans. You'll still run across occasional mini-games that have somewhat confusing directions or take multiple tries to really get the gist of what you're being asked to do, but it's not a huge problem.
Cooking Mama 3: Shop & Chop is an adorable and entertaining title that will offer hours of virtual cooking enjoyment to anyone who hasn't had their fill of the genre from the past two games. There's always plenty of chopping and cooking to do even though the new shopping element is downplayed and isn't integral to the gameplay. With more recipes, more mini-game tasks, a few additional side activities, and plenty of unlockables, there's a lot to explore here. The problem is it's all pretty much more of the same stuff you've already seen in the past few games. Without tempering your expectations against that hard fact, you're probably going to be a little bummed by how similar this game is to its predecessors.
CCC Staff Contributor