Shelter in Place, Pt. III: The Social Charm of Overcooked 2

The kitchen was on fire. As a wheelchair-bound raccoon struggled to extinguish the flames, a teal shark chopped a potato, an eyepatch-wearing pirate furiously scrubbed dishes and a clumsy narwhal fell off a bridge to his (temporary) death, taking an order of fish and chips with him to an ironically watery grave.

All told, a pretty successful outing in Overcooked 2.

The second iteration of a madcap cooking game, 2018’s Overcooked 2 turns as many as four players into an assortment of cartoonish, modestly capable chefs and tasks them with working together to serve up a series of simple recipes under increasingly absurd circumstances. The challenge—and fun—of the game isn’t in figuring out how to make rudimentary shrimp dumplings, it’s in coordinating with your fellow players to manage a never-ending inflow of orders as the hot air balloons that you’re cooking on keep drifting apart, separating the grill from the chopping stations.

There’s no way this kitchen is up to code.

To keep the social withdrawal of quarantined isolation at bay, my wife and some of our friends have been playing Overcooked 2 over these last few weeks, our avatars teaming up via the game’s online play while a string of Zoom video conferences allow us to hang out in the realest sense that’s currently possible. And it’s been great. Sure, it’d be more personal and intimate to all physically be in the same place but considering that we don’t all live in the same state, that opportunity rarely presents itself. Honestly, we’ve all spent more time together in quarantine than we would have during any random week of our hectic, non-pandemic lives.

Oh, and a pro tip: Overcooked 2 is technically a four-player game but having a fifth player to direct the action makes the game waaay easier. And significantly more fun. Order up!

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