I know what I’m getting into with a Cook, Serve, Delicious game. Tricky challenges with good humour and plenty of different ways to curate your restaurant. The third instantiation of the game is slightly different however – having watched your restaurant explode, you are rescued by a couple of robots who offer to convert their search-and-rescue business into a food-truck business, with you as the chef!
Cook, Serve Delicious! 3?! is a fantastic threequel to the previous two games in the series. It takes the best bits of both, removes the less enjoyable sections and slaps it into a fun and challenging game which is massively addictive. It is quite deceptive though, especially for new players. You’ll look at it and think it seems simple enough, all you have to do is push a few buttons in the right order, but once you’re in it, you’ll realise it is so much more. There’s a clear rhythm you need to get into in order to cook the best food, and serve it in a timely manner to your customers in order to receive the best rating from them. Managing to get into that rhythm and avoid getting too flustered by all the customers demanding your time and attention is not an easy feat, but it makes the game so much more enjoyable.
Presentation-wise, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! has really improved upon its predecessors. They managed the difficult task of improving the cartoony graphics but they’re sharper, more vibrant and detailed and overall much nicer to look at when you play. The biggest enhancement though is the music. There’s a delightful soundtrack that goes along with the game that gives you a nice uplifting feeling and also gives you a bit of an earworm as it lingers in your head for the rest of the day. Usually I’d say that’s a bad thing, but given how cheerful the soundtrack can be, it made me go about my day much more positively!
There’s the obvious challenge involved in the Cook, Serve, Delicious games, but many games that try to imitate the game series have excessively tough “levels”, but only a few of them. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! has close to four hundred levels, giving the game a humongous amount of playtime, and although the levels are tricky, especially on Switch, to keep up with customer demands, there is a relatively soft curve to ease you in after the first few levels. I do say relatively because it’s still quite steep if you’re new to the game. The majority of players I imagine have played the first two and don’t necessarily want to go through another lengthy introduction to the game, which the developers have taken on board and they give you enough to go on to be able to play the game fully, without making the beginning of the game too dull.
The first two Cook, Serve, Delicious! games were enjoyable, though I continually felt like I’d enjoy them more if I was playing them on a console that had a touch screen, as I had played the first two on PC. I had always thought that this series and the Switch would go hand in hand, but unfortunately my one and only criticism of this game comes from the port to the Switch. While the game has a touch screen, there is seemingly no use for it. You have to press and hold multiple buttons in order to create orders and perform tasks. Rather than swipe or press on each of the options available, you’ve no ability to do so. I mainly play the Switch as a handheld, and as the game walks a fine line between frustrating and fun, but with the touchscreen out of action, it fell slightly in the “frustrating” camp with having to continually press combinations in order to do menial tasks. I get that the difficulty is part of the game, but they definitely could have retained the difficulty while still having a bit more quality of life touches.
If you’re a fan of tough games that really push you hard, then Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! is absolutely a game you should play. It’s definitely a standout game on the Switch, as it’s one you can pick it up and play it whenever, and where-ever. The lack of quality of life enhancements on the Switch is, honestly, unsurprising, but it would certainly make me want to recommend this game a whole lot more. As it is, the Switch port is good, but I think it’s a better game on the PC. Still, top marks if you’re one that can get beyond the multiple button presses for a single action.