In the past I have looked at a number of different co-op cooking games. I normally don’t have much interest in cooking, but I absolutely love this little sub-genre of video games. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I have loved co-op games ever since I was a kid, and the cooking theme works surprisingly well with it. Because of this I am always intrigued to try out a new game in the genre. This brought me to PlateUp! which was released today.
Just the fact that it was a co-op cooking game was enough to make me want to try it out. I was also curious due to the fact that it added in a roguelike mechanic. Any regular readers of Geeky Hobbies will know that roguelike games are not one of my favorites. Despite this, I was intrigued by PlateUp! because I wondered how it would work with the rest of the co-op cooking gameplay. PlateUp! is a fun co-op cooking game that fans of the genre will likely enjoy, even if some of the roguelike mechanics lead to most of the game’s issues.
In PlateUp! you and the other players will play as restaurant owners/workers. To start your restaurant you will choose a food type to specialize in as well as a restaurant layout. Your goal is to try and successfully run a restaurant.
The restaurant aspect of the game should feel familiar to anyone who has ever played a co-op cooking game before. Customers come into the restaurant and tell you what they want. You then have to make the food with simple tasks such as cutting, cooking, assembling, etc. You will then serve the food to them. This needs to be done as quickly as possible as customers have limited patience. Finally you have to remove the dirty dishes from the table and clean them for future customers. You will keep repeating this process until the end of the day.
Between days you have the opportunity to upgrade your restaurant. Using the money you received from customers, you will be given a number of blueprints that you can purchase. These blueprints give you additional equipment and other items which make your job easier on future days. Whichever blueprints you choose to purchase will be placed in your restaurant. You have full control over how you arrange your restaurant as you get to choose where you want to place everything. You can also change the positioning of all of your objects between days. When you are done changing up your restaurant, you can start the next day.
The ultimate goal of PlateUp! is to keep your restaurant open for at least 15 days. That task is easier said than done. If you fail to serve any customer in time, you automatically lose and have to start again from scratch with a new restaurant. You will get some equipment as a reward for your run that you can implement in your next restaurant. If you make it to day 15, you can turn your successful restaurant into a franchise. This plays basically the same as the main game, but you will start with some of your previous upgrades/options, and it is considerably harder as you have to serve more customers who also have less patience.
As I am such a fan of the genre, I have played quite a few different co-op cooking games. For the most part PlateUp! lived up to my expectations. I wouldn’t say that it is the best game in the genre, but I think fans will really enjoy it.
The game has all of the elements that are the most enjoyable about the genre. While you can play the game solo, it excels in co-op. To do well in the game you need to have great teamwork with the other players. If you don’t work well together, you will fail rather quickly. You need to do a good job divvying up the various tasks that need to be completed. The gameplay itself is quite simple. Making the food requires simple button presses and taking food items to specific appliances/objects. Once you understand the basic controls, the game is really easy to play. Doing well is a completely different story though. The game can be quite hard at times (more on this later).
I generally had a lot of fun with PlateUp!. This was to be expected as I am a big fan of this genre, and generally enjoy every game from it that I play. I don’t know what it is exactly, but it is just really fun working with another player to quickly fulfill customer orders. Anyone who likes this genre should get a lot of enjoyment out of PlateUp! as well.
Outside of the cooking and serving customer gameplay that is similar to most other co-op cooking games, I liked that the game actually gives you quite a few customization options. You basically have to choose a main dish from a small set of randomly generated options. As you grow your restaurant you have a lot of other options though. You can add additional food options. You also get to choose what equipment you will add to your restaurant to help you. The biggest customization option though is the fact that you literally get to choose the layout of your restaurant.
You can’t change the size of your restaurant or change the positioning of the walls (I wish you could), but otherwise you can change everything about your restaurant. You get to choose the position of everything, and change it inbetween days. This creates a really interesting element to the game as your layout actually makes a difference. Between work days you are trying to find the best layout to maximize your efficiency. You will tweak things in your layout as you try to find better ways to do things. I really liked this element of the game as it feels like your decisions really matter.
This brings me to PlateUp!’s roguelike mechanics. Heading into the game this is the element that I was the most leery about. A lot of this had to deal with the fact that I am not a fan of roguelike games. I found the premise interesting though.
In some ways I think the idea works. It actually fits the theme better than I was expecting. If you run a poor restaurant, it obviously will go out of business. Your business failing because you failed to serve one customer is a little harsh though. Between rounds you will have to make choices which will shape how your restaurant will turn out. Every couple of days you will be given one of two options which makes the game more difficult. Some of these options include getting more customers, having more types of food to serve, impacts to your work speed, and a number of other hindrances. These decisions add a decent amount of variety to the game.
The problem with the roguelike mechanics is that I attribute most of the game’s issues to them. As I mentioned earlier, PlateUp! is not an easy game. I only tried out the two player game, but based on my experience it is going to be hard to regularly complete 15 days in one run. Maybe this will be different with different player counts, but I wouldn’t count on it. This is coming from two players that regularly play a lot of games from this genre as well. So far we have successfully completed one run, but we failed quite a few more times.
I think the problems with the roguelike mechanics come from two different areas.
First the game is just difficult in general. You need to be almost perfect in order to beat some of the later days. A good workflow needs to be in place as you will need to have a bunch of food made ahead of time to deal with the flood of customers towards the end of a day. You don’t have much spare time in these days if you hope to have a chance to get to all of the customers. The early days in a run are usually pretty easy, but the late days are really difficult.
The main problem just comes from the fact that PlateUp! relies on quite a bit of luck. Between the blueprints you are given, to the options you have to choose between; your success in a run is not all up to how well you do. If you don’t get the type of blueprints you need, it will affect how well you do. The choices you have to make can make an even bigger difference. Basically all of these decisions will make the game harder for you. You just need to choose the option that will hurt you the least. Some of these options work better together than others. You need a good combination of these options if you want a chance of winning.
These issues lead to you basically needing the right setup to have any chance of beating day 15. Based on my experience you really need to focus on limiting food choices as you need to be able to mass produce food ahead of time. You need to get good equipment for your restaurant to automate a lot of the actions as well. There is also the fact that your restaurant will never be large enough to fit everything that you want in it. I could be wrong, but it seems like only certain strategies can be used to complete the run. You need to narrow in on a specific playstyle to have a chance of completing a run.
Other than the roguelike mechanics, the only other issue I had with PlateUp! is that the controls are not quite perfect. They are generally pretty good, and I like that they are simple. Every so often they don’t work how you would expect though. Sometimes I would press a button and the game wouldn’t respond. Other times it felt like I should have picked up one object, and the game picked up another. This might be due to the fact that I played the game on Steam Remote Play Together. It generally works well on Remote Play, but these minor control issues were sometimes a little annoying.
I was left with conflicting feelings towards PlateUp!. The game has a lot of things that I liked. It has the same great co-op cooking gameplay that I love from the genre. It is really fun playing the game with other players, especially when you work well together. The ability to easily customize the layout of your restaurant is really nice as well. While there are things that I liked about it, the roguelike mechanics lead to most of my issues with PlateUp!. The game is quite difficult and you need quite a bit of luck on your side in order to complete all 15 days. This leads to a somewhat frustrating experience that doesn’t always seem fair. The controls are generally quite good, but there are some occasional minor issues as well.
My recommendation for PlateUp! comes down to your feelings towards co-op cooking games and roguelike games. If you don’t care for co-op cooking games or really dislike roguelike games, I don’t see PlateUp! being for you. If you like co-op cooking games though and are at least a little intrigued by the roguelike mechanics, I think it is worth checking out PlateUp!.
Release Date: August 4th, 2022 | Systems: PC
Developer: It’s happening | Publisher: Yogscast Games | ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Genres: Co-Op, Indie, Roguelike, Simulation
Official Website: https://www.plateupgame.com/
- A fun co-op cooking game that forces you to work well with your teammates.
- Being able to customize the layout of your restaurant adds an interesting element to the game.
- The roguelike mechanics make the game quite difficult to win and rely on quite a bit of luck.
- The controls while generally good, have some occasional issues.
Recommendation: For fans of co-op cooking games that find the idea of adding in roguelike mechanics intriguing.
Where to Purchase: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank It’s happening and Yogscast Games for the review copy of PlateUp! 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.