With ten virtual reality (VR) titles already under its belt Resolution Games has moved away from its early single-player hits like Bait! and moved into more multiplayer, party-oriented experiences like Acron: Attack of the Squirrels. While the latter is more suited to local gaming sessions, the studio’s newest project, Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, couldn’t have come at a better time offering an online food-filled gaming experience that’s sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
You all know how to make a sandwich, it’s an almost universal food thanks to the simplicity of its construction yet deliciously complex when some thought is put into it. And that’s what you get with Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, make sandwiches for hungry customers as fast as possible, hopefully making a few perfect ones along the way whilst not messing up the kitchen too much!
Set in a fantasy realm with talking cats and ravenous werewolves, you’re the owner of a traveling sandwich cart feeding the hungry residents of each town you visit. Inside the quaint, rustic cart you call home is the central preparation table which can house up to four players at once. Everyone’s station is the same, provided with all the handy tools for making yummy grub, a fridge, chopping board and a selection of condiments. That doesn’t sound like a great deal but don’t worry, this selection is expanded upon as the campaign progresses. Later levels add in the ability to grill – and burn – ingredients, as well as tasking you with washing up all those dirty plates customers leave behind.
The name of the game here is speed, chopping up the ingredients, placing them on the correct plates and getting the food out in time before the customer wanders off. To keep you on your toes each character class has its own particular traits, so werewolves require massive sandwiches with a ton of ingredients whilst the mice are very conservative, sometimes only needing a couple of items. These can often be arranged in a slapdash way – so long as they’re in the right order – but if a cat appears they’ll only accept a perfectly arranged sandwich. This can all get quite hectic when there are five customers waiting.
So you’ll need help and plenty of it. Which is where the brilliance of Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale comes in; its multiplayer. Now there is a single-player option for those times when no one is around, where you’ll buddy up with a robot who’ll help you out. It’ll need the occasional recharge by winding a crank (adding to the to-do list!) but for the most part, does a reasonable job of supplying those additional fillings when needed.
Yet you’re only getting a quarter of the Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale experience, possibly even less than that. Get a bunch of friends together and this is where the videogame really starts to shine because you can make it as serious or as silly as you like. Everyone has different ingredients in their fridges so half the battle is coordinating the chaos so that orders are produced correctly and one plate isn’t suddenly loaded with cheese whilst another gets forgotten – much like a real kitchen. You can lean over and grab ingredients from other fridges to help or hinder the gameplay – people can get protective over their sections! It becomes a real team effort with a true sense of camaraderie as you’re all facing each other yelling orders.
Ahh, the yelling. Any chef will tell you it’s second nature – or just watch Gordon Ramsey – and it becomes so natural in that little sandwich cart. Early levels you may ask your teammate in a relaxed tone for a particular item but by the latter stages, it turns into screaming – mostly at yourself when the item you’re grilling suddenly catches fire or the final piece of bread has been put on wonky for the cat.
As this is a fantasy realm there are magical aids to help you on those harder levels. Potions which can make your knife super sharp so each item only needs one cut rather than multiples or the ability to slow time so you can get that last order out. With a comedic vein running throughout, there are items like the special tofu potion which replaces any ingredient like some sort of wonder food. These and more are all unlocked by completing challenges such as serving all customers to gain stars, there are even elaborate knives to gain – they all cut the same.
Resolution Games has squarely aimed Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale as a fun experience for any member of the family. As such there’s no locomotion to worrying about, everyone stays standing (or seated depending on preference, the station is height adjustable). In a similar fashion to 2016’s Job Simulator, this is a ‘hands-on’ game so the only real mechanic is grabbing items. There was no issue when it came to picking things up, only when things got really messy.
Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale is very much that Sunday game of Monopoly with the family, where everyone happily shouts at each other when it gets hectic and then laugh about it afterwards. A nicely paced difficulty curve keeps the experience challenging and when all is said and done you can just throw food at each other. This is the kind of social videogame Oculus Quest was made for.