Overcooked, developer Ghost Town Games’s chaotic, co-op-focussed cook-’em-up, is currently free on the Epic Games Store.
Released in 2016, Overcooked is a fun, family friendly multiplayer escapade, in principle, at least; it’s got a bold, appealingly cartoony art-style, and a simple premise that pretty much anyone can wrap their head around, regardless of prior gaming experience.
The goal – which can be tackled by up to four players simultaneously in couch co-op – is simply to work together in order to fulfil an increasingly brisk and varied food orders for customers, frying, tossing, assembling, and whatever else is required in order to get it on a plate and through the service hatch.
Some tricky kitchen designs complicate proceedings – there’s one split between two moving lorries, for instance, forcing players to move more strategically, while another is constructed on a ship’s deck, with worktops and appliances constantly sliding back and forth – but success ultimately relies on your ability to communicate effectively with your fellow cooks, ensuring all tasks are efficiently divvied up to get as much served up as possible before the time runs out.
And it’s here that Overcooked’s reputation as a bit of a home-wrecker is earned, its increasingly frantic slapstick kitchen action – genuinely hilarious until someone starts to take things a little too seriously – rapidly testing relationships as it devolves into a chaos of harried miscommunication, raised voices, and ever-more-creative insults.
Those looking for a spot of knockabout multiplayer action – or to inadvertently drive a permanent wedge between themselves and their loved ones – can add Overcooked to their Epic Games Store library for free right now until next Thursday, 11th June.