PlateUp! by devs It’s happening and published by The Yogscast is a hectic co-op roguelite cooking game with a twist. Launched on PC today (4th Aug), team TC managed a few sneaky games prior to release.
PlateUp! – More Than You Can Eat?
If you enjoy games like Overcooked but have always wanted to chew on that little bit more of a challenge when it comes to the business side, then this could be what you are looking for.
Plateup! is in essence the amalgamation of both the cooking and serving concept along with managing a restaurant. While the frantic gameplay is a given when customers enter your eatery and begin ordering food, PlateUp! offers a lot deeper action in terms of customisation.
Playable as single player, local co-op, online and remote play together, PlateUp! is accessible to all. To make things even simpler there is a two-button control system in use for the main action. I found that playing with your friends was the best experience and probably the most chaotic.
After a simple tutorial, you arrive in your main lobby staging area whereby you get to round up your friends and alter the look of your character. You can then select your restaurant plan schematic detailing where walls and doors are along with the menu that you will be putting on.
Starting on a simple steak menu was a good way to break everyone in gently. Once the game has loaded it is a great idea to allocate roles between you all. You don’t have to, however after a few failures of getting past day 1, we decided this was necessary! If you wander out of the front door you can also change the name of your restaurant to your heart’s desire.
With Stu on plate duty in the kitchen, Nath on taking orders and serving customers and both myself and Si causing carnage getting the steak meals ready, we began to make progress. The idea is to serve and satisfy every customer that comes to the restaurant during the day cycle. A yellow bar slowly fills at the top of the screen, indicating how far through it you are. You cannot afford to miss an order or upset a patiently waiting customer outside otherwise early on it is back to day one.
As the craziness begins, each customer reveals what they are after in a handy cloud above their head. With 3 ways that the steak can be served; rare, medium and well done, it’s imperative to watch the hobs as the cooking process continually progresses the longer the steak is left in place. As you serve and cook, mess is generated on the floor that needs to be cleaned up otherwise it slows your character down. Similar to Overcooked, plates must be washed and re-used in order to keep up with the orders.
Once your day has been successfully completed you are given gold coins as well as random envelopes that drop across the floor of the restaurant. As you stand on each one it reveals an upgrade that you can purchase if you have enough coins. Anything from additional tables and chairs, hobs, plates, counters and decorations can be bought and placed wherever you want. In fact, the customisation of being able to move the furniture around really made it fun, both through chatting and agreeing on locations to just being a wind-up and plonking a hob down in the seating area.
After each day you can tweak your menu and also activate perks such as allowing customers to have more patience so that their countdown timer goes slower when waiting for an order. Of course, if you want to be very challenging, you can opt for the perk that gives you more XP but at the cost of a negative adjustment. Either way, all of the players need to agree on the same option for it to be invoked.
With a variety of dishes to serve, from starters, mains, desserts and drinks there are a lot of game mechanics at play that really keeps PlateUp! feeling fresh each time you play.
The goal is to survive for 15 days however we managed around 5 at best. This was mainly down to a slip-up in cooking the correct dish for which there is hardly any chance of remedy due to the countdown timer on the customer slipping away. This can of course be later on influenced by said perks as well as clever deployment of other gadgets. We sadly did not get far enough into each session due to our haphazard gameplay style to experience these.
After each session you can expand your franchise and tailor your future sessions to how you want to play. For example, you can have a high street cafe or if you fancy a luxurious experience a high-end restaurant. We did have a go at the latter whereby we had to produce a fancy salad. Needless to say, we failed to get even one dish out as we all failed to adjust to the requirements.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics in PlateUp! are fairly cartoony and basic however they are good enough to see clearly where everything is and what you are preparing. There was almost a gang beasts feel to the characters as they wobble about as you control them. Everything is colourful and appealing right down to the ambiance of the weather outside. There was a cosy feeling of operating a restaurant during a rainstorm!
The background music in PlateUp! is a happy melody and does not reflect the true stress that is unfolding on the restaurant floor. The aforementioned ambiance helps set the mood while the cooking and serving sound effects do make you feel that you are in a restaurant, so result!
Here is where PlateUp! excels. No two games are alike with the content being procedurally generated. This along with the customisation of the restaurant layout and purchase of new items as the game continues places a lot of the onus onto yourself and your friends. While there are times that you will lose, it is expected, the learning curve does make you want to play again and again.
PlateUp! is a fantastic all-you-can-eat cooking game that mixes up the fun real-time action of cooking and serving with the deeper experience of having control and management of the shop floor. When I first approached PlateUp! I was half expecting a clone of Overcooked however this game goes a lot further, to the point that you want to continually advance in order to unlock new things. With friends it is even better!
PlateUp! scores a solid Thumb Culture Platinum award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.