When Cooking Mama for Nintendo DS came out last year we bought it. I'll be honest and tell you right now that we bought the game because it was a new game for the Nintendo DS and it was on sale for less than $20! I was in the process of trading in some old Game Cube and Game Boy games to buy new games (let's not get into the trade-in debate here) and after getting a store credit in the $60 range we looked for new games.
Due to the low price of Cooking Mama it ended up on our buy list and it's a good thing it did. Cooking Mama for DS is a very solid game.
Cooking Mama for the DS is a good game that puts the capabilities of the DS to good use. It is not your basic GBA port where they stick a stylus in to muck things up. Let me give you the quick breakdown on the game's game play features:
- Create 76 different, real world dishes from fried eggs to cabbage meat rolls! By mastering the first 15 recipes you can unlock 61 increasingly complex bonus recipes to expand your skills in the kitchen.
- The stylus is your master kitchen tool! Use it in more than 200 mini-games to chop, slice, pan fry, knead, grate, mash, tenderize, mix, peel, carve, roll and more. Once your dish is ready, you can even use the stylus to prepare the final layout of your meal.
- Cool food down by blowing into the Nintendo DS microphone
- Combine recipes to create more advanced dishes
- Share recipes with up to 4 other people or transfer a saved game to a friend via the DS wireless link
- Earn bronze, silver and gold medals based on the quality of your cooking
- Practice mode lets you fine tune your cooking skills without being judge
source - Majesco Entertainment
Cooking Mama for DS is an excellent game. You might be wondering how they could improve on this with the release of the Wii version.
Right away I was leery of purchasing the Cooking Mama game for the Wii. At $49.99 it is 150% more expensive than the Ds version. The DS version is very good so, what would make me want to move up to the Wii version at such a high price?
- The Wii Remote is your ultimate cooking utensil, putting you in total control of the cooking action as you chop, grate, slice, stir, roll and much more! Hold and point it in many different ways depending on the task (i.e. upright to mash potatoes, lengthwise to fry in a pan, etc.) to get the real sensation of cooking in a kitchen!
- All-new Cooking Challenge Mode lets you and a friend go head-to-head in the ultimate multi-player cook off to determine who can cook the fastest with the fewest mistakes
- Use 300 foods to create 55 real world dishes from 10 different nations: Japan, America, France, India, Mexico, England, China, Spain, Germany and Italy. You can even make desserts like cream puffs and pudding too! From hot dogs to pan fried crab to bouillabaisse, Cook Off challenges you to make it all!
- Play against 10 unique computer controlled international characters to earn unique items for your kitchen
- Real-time cooking effects make you feel like you're actually cooking. Adjust your timing and make decisions about your next course of action based on what you see on screen (i.e. if food is starting to look burned, quickly remove it from the burner, etc.).
- Earn bronze, silver, and gold medals from Mama based on the quality of your cooking.
- Practice mode allows you to fine tune your cooking skills without being judged.
- Recipes progress from simple to complex, from small to large dishes, so do your best to meet Mama's expectations as you unlock new dishes.
source - Majesco Entertainment
Both games are all about cooking and mini-games. Because each game involves following a recipe to completion each game is nothing more than a series of mini-games. For example:
- Cooking Mama DS: Pizza consists of 8 mini-games
- Add the ingredients - Add the ingredients into the bowl as shown on the upper screen.
- Knead - Follow the line to knead until the meter becomes full.
- Roll out the dough - Move the roller pin up/down and left/right to flatten out the dough staying within the frame.
- Cut - Slice the tomato by cutting up and down with your knife.
- Cut - Slice the pepperoni by cutting up and down with your knife.
- Spread pizza sauce - Spread pizza sauce and when done touch (Finish).
- Add toppings freely - Add whichever toppings you like. when done, touch (Finish).
- Set the timer - Set the baking time for the pie.
- Cooking Mama Wii: Custard consists 6 of mini-games
- Crack an egg - Swing the Wii Remote in order to tap eggs on the bowl. when it cracks press th A Button to put the egg in the bowl.
- Add ingredients - Use the clues to add the correct items to the bowl. Point at the item and pick it up with the B Button. Follow the on screen instructions to add the items.
- Stir - Point the Wii Remote down and move it around quickly to stir. If you stir to hard it will spill.
- Put into a mold - Twist the Wii Remote right to left. Pour carefully to make sure it does not overflow.
- Bake in the oven - Twist the Wii Remote while holding the A Button to adjust the oven. Watch the meter carefully. When it reaches the red part, switch it off.
- Remove carefully - Shake the Wii Remote diagonally to the left and try to remove the item carefully from the container. Shake too hard and it will break, so be careful.
The original DS game does not have multi-player support though it does have a demo mode other people can download from you. The Wii version allows for two player "Cook offs", hence the name of the game! You can also compete against the computer players.
When looking at these two titles I could not help wondering if the higher price tag on the Wii title is truly worth it... After giving it some thought I have to say no. The Wii game should be selling for $39.99 tops. If it were selling for $29.99 I think people would avoid it feeling it was somehow not a worthy Wii game. $39.99 says (to me) This is a good Wii game for your collection but even we realize it is not a Zelda or Mario type of game.
The two-player cook off mode in the Wii game is a lot of fun. It is fun in part because you are both working on the same recipe (top/bottom split screen) in real time. You can see how far along the other player is and you can see what tricks they are using to complete the mini game faster.
The computer players are interesting in the Wii game and they are of varying nationalities. After you compete against them they reward you with gifts for your kitchen. In one of the non-game modes you can look around your kitchen and see all of the interesting items you have accumulated.
Also, as in the original DS game, once you complete a recipe more recipes become available to you.
When it comes to controls I do prefer the DS version. Using the stylus for everything is simple and straightforward. There are no clumsy tricks to master. In the Wii game... Well, if you have played Wii Sports: Golf then you are aware of how unforgiving the motion sensors in the Wii Remote can be!
The Wii version does gain high marks for using a small circular window in the lower right of the screen to show you how to use the Wii Remote during the game. I have found this very helpful as some instructions are not exactly intuitive! Without the little demo screen in the corner it would have taken me longer to master some of the more simple tasks.
Aside from the inclusion of the multi-player game mode there is nothing really new in the Wii version of the game. However, if you are a fan of mini-games, cooking or quick two-player video games than the Wii version may just be worth your money. Do wait a month or two before you buy it, you may find stores knocking it down to $39.99! I was able to pick up my copy of Super Swing Golf for a mere $29.99 because one store was running a sale!