|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Super Villain Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Zoo Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to quality help and a shiny kitchen, it is essential to please your clientele by catering recipes to their tastes. Some customers like things spicy, others like their food sickly sweet, and the hillbilly needs a lot of aromatics to cut through his own B.O. In order to please those picky patrons, items such as spices, black market recipes, and specialty ingredients can be acquired by shopping at the Farmers Market or calling for a special delivery before opening for the day. It's a good idea to always keep your stock of specialty items full because, unlike standard ingredients, they won't replenish themselves and you'll be stuck with less than raving reviews and scanty tips.
Fortunately, this mechanic is not a complete guessing game. Clients will let you know what they liked or disliked about a meal with comment cards at the end of the day, or you can ask them directly by selecting their portrait on the order ticket. However, sometimes their comments can be a little cryptic. In this case, it's best to pay a coin to have their special needs revealed to you. By catering to their desires, you will quickly develop a happy group of paying supporters. This extra facet of gameplay adds an additional layer of complexity for players, and it helps to keep the repetitive customer orders somewhat fresh.
After mastering the 12 standard recipes and at least four of the eight black market recipes in the Gravy Chug diner and, of course, pleasing the food critic, you will have accumulated enough stars and coin to unlock and purchase new locations featuring Mexican, Italian, and fine dining fare. These additional locations bring you new recipes, assistants, ingredients, challenges, and customers. After acquiring all the restaurants in town and establishing yourself as a bona fide chef, you will be tasked with winning the Fortified Chef Competition. This is a showdown that will prove you're the best culinary artist around.
There are also a number of mini-games in Order Up! Sometimes you'll have to douse flames, flick away a rat infestation without your customers seeing, wake up a dozing employee, scrub plates in front of the health inspector, help the paper delivery boy with his route, etc. These games are an attempt to break up the gameplay a bit, but in the end they're all pretty boring, and you'll find yourself rushing to get through them and on to the meat of the title. Other than the single-player campaign, a Quick Play mode is also provided that allows you to go to any of the unlocked restaurants and hone your skills with each recipe.
Presentation in Order Up! is very nice. The simple animated graphics are quite befitting for the Wii, and they do a great job of injecting lighthearted humor into the mix. The goofy customers are wonderfully stereotypical caricatures. Also, I loved their little comments; they always brought out a chuckle or two. However, there aren't nearly enough different customers throughout this game, and their comments become woefully repetitive.
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed Order Up! It had everything I had hoped for and was surprisingly fun. Unfortunately, it is just a single-player game with forgettable mini-games that can be torn through in just a few hours. Additionally, the only replay value to be found is in honing your skills to perfection and upping the difficulty for a second play through. Nevertheless, this is a nice casual title that should be very appealing to most who pick it up. I can't wait to see what innovations a second edition to the series will bring.
CCC Editor / News Director