Ever since its release back in 2016 Overcooked has kind of created its own sort of sub-genre of co-op games. After playing Overcooked the franchise quickly became one of my favorite co-op games as it really emphasized teamwork while creating really fun gameplay. Due to its success there have been a number of other indie games that have tried to create their own twists on the formula. As a fan of this sub-genre I try to check out every game created for it. A while back I took a look at Diner Bros. Today I am looking at Cannibal Cuisine. I was intrigued by the game as I have always enjoyed these type of games and it looked like it had an interesting twist on the formula. Cannibal Cuisine might not quite reach the levels of Overcooked, but it is still a fun co-op experience that fans of this genre should really enjoy.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Rocket Vulture for the review copy of Cannibal Cuisine used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
The island god Hoochooboo is hungry and due to this is causing havoc all over your island. You and your fellow islanders are on the menu until you come up with an idea. Instead of sacrificing yourself to Hoochooboo why not “volunteer” someone else. You and your tribe agree to work with Hoochooboo and provide him tasty sacrifices using the local fruits and those pesky tourists that keep showing up for some reason despite so many mysteriously going “missing”. As your tribe finds a way to stop Hoochooboo for good you must work together to maintain a good relationship so your whole island isn’t destroyed.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review when I first saw Cannibal Cuisine the first thought that came into my mind was Overcooked. That is not that surprising as it is obvious that the game took inspiration from Overcooked. Those that are familiar with Overcooked will feel right at home with many of the mechanics in the game. Just like in Overcooked in Cannibal Cuisine you and your teammates are given a list of orders that you have to fill within a certain amount of time in order to please your customer. To fulfill the order you are tasked with acquiring the needed ingredients and cooking them over a fire until the meal is completed. You then have to take the meal to Hoochooboo before you run out of time. All of this is complicated by the fact that each level has its own obstacles that make this much harder.
For anyone with any familiarity with Overcooked or other games in this genre of cooking games, you should already have a good idea of what to expect from Cannibal Cuisine. This is not that surprising as the developers clearly took inspiration from other games in this genre. Many of the mechanics feel similar to what you would expect from Overcooked. As a big fan of this genre I had fun with Cannibal Cuisine. The game is a great co-op game as players have to work together in order to do well in the game. Between assembling the ingredients, making sure they cook long enough and getting them to their final destination, you need to work together or things can fall apart quickly. Fans of these type of games should really enjoy this element of Cannibal Cuisine.
The one mechanic that really intrigued me about Cannibal Cuisine was the mechanic that gave the game part of its name. In a lot of ways Cannibal Cuisine feels like what you would get if you took Overcooked and added in a combat mechanic. While the fruits can be found in boxes and are infinite, some of the ingredients aren’t so plentiful. To get these ingredients you have to kill tourists in order to get them. The combat in the game is pretty basic. You are given one attack button and have to hit a tourist a couple times in order to get them to drop an ingredient. The ingredient they drop is random so you may have to kill several tourists to get the item that you need. As soon as you start attacking them though they will fight back. When you run out of health your character will disappear for a few seconds and you will lose a few points from your current total. You will then respawn with all of your health back.
To help you with the combat and other elements of the game you will be able to give your character a special ability at the beginning of each level. The game has four different special abilities. First there is a dash which allows you to dash across a medium sized area. This helps you avoid some of the obstacles and move quicker in general. You can also choose the health totems which allow you to place a totem which slowly heals you. This helps you survive longer in combat or heal from damage incurred in some other way. Then there is the stun ability that temporarily stuns tourists within a certain distance of your location. Finally there is a fire breathing ability which allows you to cook food considerably faster.
I ultimately had some mixed feelings about the combat in Cannibal Cuisine. On the positive side I like the addition of the special abilities. While I think some are more useful than others they add some variety to the game. When playing with several players each player can take a different ability and focus on a different aspect of the cooking process. In general I like the idea behind the combat as it adds some variety to the gameplay. Instead of just moving ingredients around the kitchen it adds a new type of gameplay.
The main problem that I had with the combat is that it feels too basic in my opinion. Simply put you aren’t getting a deep combat experience out of this mechanic. The combat basically relies entirely on button mashing as outside of moving you just have to mash the attack button until the tourists are dead. The combat didn’t need to be really advanced as it is only a secondary mechanic, but I wish there was a little more to it. The mechanic is still somewhat fun, but it gets a little repetitive after a while. The combat also seems to add some luck to the game as the ingredients you get from dead tourists is random. There will be times where you can’t do anything because you can’t get the right ingredients from the tourists. Therefore you may not do as well as you could have done just because you didn’t get the right ingredients.
The final unique element in Cannibal Cuisine is the addition of a number of mini games. At the end of each world you will have to complete a challenge of some sort. These can vary quite a bit. The first involves a battle royale where you have to fight a bunch of tourists. As you progress through the game you will also have to deal with a platforming challenge, a bomb throwing challenge that kind of reminds me of a tower defense, and a large boss battle where you have to cook and fight off an enemy. Some of these mini games are better than others, but I thought they were a nice distraction. I actually kind of wish the game included a mode that expanded on these mini games.
The overall gameplay experience is pretty similar to your typical Overcooked type game. Each order you deliver in time scores you points. You try to score as many points as you can as you will receive stars based on your final score in a level. In order to unlock the next level you need to achieve at least one star. I ended up playing the game with two players. In some levels it is easy to get at least one star while others will require some practice. Getting three stars with two players is another question though. Two stars is usually not that hard, but you need to almost be perfect to get three stars in most levels with just two players. I am not sure if the point levels are adjusted for three and four player games, but it is hard to perfect all of the levels with just two players.
As for the overall theme and atmosphere I will say that Cannibal Cuisine may not be for everyone. That is to be expected from a game called Cannibal Cuisine. The game’s theme can be a little dark at times. You are killing tourists in order to get cooking ingredients after all. Some people may find this to be in poor taste. I don’t blame these people, but if you can get over the initial theme the game is mostly just quirky with the idea. The game doesn’t feature a lot of blood since as soon as you kill the tourist they poof away and are replaced with the ingredient. The game’s whole style is pretty cartoony as well. The game’s visuals are pretty good even though you do end up running into a lot of tourists that look exactly the same (which is to be expected). Due to the theme I probably wouldn’t recommend the game to younger children, but I think the theme will be fine for most people.
Ultimately I had fun with Cannibal Cuisine. There is just something about these type of games that I find really enjoyable. If you enjoy these type of co-op cooking games you should like Cannibal Cuisine as well. If you never really cared for Overcooked or other similar games I don’t see Cannibal Cuisine changing your mind. So the ultimate question becomes how does the game compare to Overcooked? While I really enjoyed Cannibal Cuisine, it unfortunately doesn’t quite reach the level of Overcooked for a couple of reasons.
I would say that the main reason that Cannibal Cuisine doesn’t reach the same levels as Overcooked is that it doesn’t reach quite the same level of polish. I attribute this mostly to the game’s controls. The controls are really simple as you use one button to pick up and drop items, one to attack, one to use your special ability, and finally an analog stick to move. For the most part the controls work well. Then there are the occasional instances where they don’t work quite how you would expect. This mostly comes from when you are crossing bridges, barrels, and gaps. There are times where you think you should make it across and instead you fall into the water/lava. This will lose you points or even worse have you lose an important ingredient or a completed order. Most of the times that you die will be your fault, but there will be occasional times where it really wasn’t your fault. This can get a little frustrating at times as you will have to restart a level. To this point though I have played the game for around a week all of which was before its final release and with each update this issue seems to improve. There is a chance that this will be mostly eliminated with the launch version or shortly afterwards.
The other reason that Cannibal Cuisine is not quite as good is due to the cooking not being quite as robust. In Overcooked you are given a bunch of different ingredients along with ways to interact with and cook them. Your choices in Cannibal Cuisine are quite a bit more limited. There is only one way of cooking ingredients in Cannibal Cuisine. You basically just acquire all of the ingredients and put them in one of the fire pits. There is no preparation of the items beforehand or other ways of cooking them. Therefore at times the gameplay just feels like a fetch quest as you just move ingredients around the kitchen. This is still fun but it lacks the variety of the cooking from Overcooked.
As for the length I would say that Cannibal Cuisine has a decent length. The game features a total of four worlds consisting of five levels and one mini game each. How much time you get out of the game is mostly going to depend on how good you are at the game and how much time you spend trying to improve your scores. If you are satisfied with just beating all of the levels you likely can beat the game in around three to five hours. If you want to perfect all of the levels though I would expect it to take at least six hours. The game also features a battle mode where the players divide into two teams and try to score more points than the other team by delivering food items. The game has a decent amount of replay value for those that don’t mind replaying the same levels.
When I first saw Cannibal Cuisine I knew that it was a game that I wanted to try out. Ever since I played Overcooked I have loved this genre of co-op cooking games as they make for great co-op games. In a lot of ways Cannibal Cuisine follows in the footsteps of the other games from this genre as it has the same gather and cook the ingredients mechanics that this genre is known for. Cannibal Cuisine doesn’t revolutionize these mechanics, but it maintains the same enjoyment you get from working with your teammates. The major new mechanic in the game is the addition of a combat mechanic which is used to acquire some of the ingredients. This mechanic is fine as you can have some fun with it even though it is pretty basic and can become repetitive after a while. Cannibal Cuisine is a fun game even though it doesn’t reach the level of Overcooked. This is due to the controls occasionally messing up and just not having as much variety in the cooking.
My recommendation for Cannibal Cuisine comes down to your feelings about this genre of co-op cooking games. If you played Overcooked and didn’t really care for it I don’t think you will like Cannibal Cuisine either. Those that have never played one of these games before should enjoy Cannibal Cuisine if the idea of a co-op cooking game sounds interesting. If you are a fan of the Overcooked genre of games you should really enjoy Cannibal Cuisine and should pick it up.