The surprising success of Cooking Mama has seen the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay jumping on the culinary bandwagon, yet as the celebrity chefs attempt a takeover, Order Up is here to steal Mama's crown. And it just about succeeds too.
It's hard to have a pop at Mama because she is the original queen of the Nintendo kitchen; the Wii's very own Delia Smith. Yet while chopping onions, stirring stew and grating cheese using the Remote is enjoyable, Cooking Mama doesn't really offer you a reason to carry on cooking other than to unlock more dishes. Order Up takes the idea of preparing food with the Wii Remote but instead of following someone's lead, you are the king of your own kitchen, ordering chefs around and trying to work your way up to the smartest restaurant in town. That's not to say you won't have to get your hands dirty though.
After a training session at the Burger Shack you start work at The Gravy Chug, a cheap diner in town where omelettes, macaroni cheese and chilli con carne are on the menu. The orders will come in straight away and unlike in Cooking Mama you'll have to make two dishes at once. It's all about managing your time properly so if you're making burger and chips you can put your patty onto cook, then move over to the chopping board and slice a tomato before going back to the heat to flip the burger. Then you can put the fries on and start tearing lettuce. Obviously you'll be waving your Remote around to cook but this isn't your reason to play Order Up. You'll get your satisfaction from getting perfect food out on time and finishing the day with a pocketful of tips.
Besides, after your first day in the kitchen, you'll be able to hire staff to help you out so you won't have to do all the cooking yourself. You can make them fry chips, chop onions or boil macaroni but this doesn't mean you won't feel the heat when three orders come in at once. Especially considering you'll have to take on some tasks yourself, like spicing the food. As you'll find out from customer comments, some like it hot and so in between shifts you'll have to go to the farmer's market and purchase spices to use in customer's meals.
That's just the day to day stuff - if you want to move to a higher class of restaurant you'll have to keep the kitchen clean, purchase chef specials from the black market, unlock recipes, earn coins and impress the food critic. There's so much to do.
Order Up has taken the Cooking Mama recipe of cooking with the Remote, applied it to a restaurant setting and turned up the heat, yet it's such a shame that there's not a multi-player mode. Whether you like it or not, these sorts of games are enjoyed by a wide audience and considering how many people like to play Wii games together it's criminal that there's not even a game to see who can make burger and chips the quickest. Despite this, Order Up still beats Cooking Mama hands down for the single player kitchen crown.