Available now on Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift for $19.99.
Those who’ve spent time working in a restaurant know the struggles that come with managing the chaos of a kitchen.
Available now on Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift, Resolution Games‘ newest VR title, Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale has you and three other chefs working together to satisfy the hunger of finicky cats seeking the puurrrfect sandwich, famished werewolves with monstrous appetites, and other fabled woodland creature customers looking for a quick bite. If you move too slow or mess up an order, your diners go from hungry to hangry super fast. If that happens, they may walk away and you’ll end up with a bad review.
Each chef is in charge of a different set of ingredients, including baguettes, cheese, lettuce, ketchup, ham, and tomato just to name a few. As sandwich orders come in you need to open your fridge, grab the ingredient you need, and chop them up using your clever. Seeing as you won’t have access to every ingredient needed to complete an order, you’ll need to communicate effectively with your team in order to quickly trade ingredients.
Once a sandwich is completed, you can then serve it to your hungry customer. There is a revolving table of plates in front of you with each one numbered to match a specific order. Just make sure your sandwich ingredients are in the correct order or your hungry customers are going to be upset.
As the game progresses, the levels get harder and harder. Customers start requesting grilled items for their orders, adding an additional step to the sandwich-making process. If you leave it on the grill too long, it’ll burn and you’ll have to put out the fire before starting over. To make matters worse, you’re dishwasher has walked out on the job, which means you’ll be washing dishes in-between making sandwiches. Remember, serving a sandwich on a dirty plate is not acceptable in any kitchen.
Keeping your diners satisfied will require a pinch of collaboration, a dash of communication, and a whole lot of speed.
During an interview and live demo with VRScout, Gustov Stenmark, producer and former chef, talked about how Resolution Games wasn’t trying to emulate the actual cooking process, but instead focus on the collaborative feeling that comes with working in a kitchen.
“You typically communicate by shouting to each other over noise in the kitchen. For example, if you’re on the sauce station, you need to constantly communicate in order to get the timing right so your plate is correct and goes out hot,” Stenmark continues, “it’s a hard task, and that part of the kitchen we emulated real well.”
He wasn’t lying. During our live demo with two other people, Stenmark immediately jumped into chefmode as he started shouting out different ingredients he needed for orders and the plate number they needed to go on. We couldn’t start building an order until the first ingredient was down on the plate. That meant paying attention to the tickets and listening to your fellow cooks.
It was obvious that Stenmark had at one point worked in a kitchen and was very comfortable in the role of kitchen manager.
The shouting was infectious and fun. Once things were moving and the orders really started coming in, we began shouting more frantically as we chopped up ingredients and threw them on the rotating plates.
In between each round you see how many orders you got right and how many you got wrong. The faster and more efficient your sandwich-making, the better your score. You’ll also earn in-game money which can be used to buy special potions capable of slowing down time, sharpening your cleaver, or replacing any ingredient with tofu. You know, because tofu is the perfect universal ingredient and can be used in a wide range of cuisines. It really is super versatile.
If you’re really into experiencing what it’s like to work on a Saturday night during restaurant week, Cook-Out serves up an Endless mode featuring a never-ending onslaught of sandwich orders versus a team of hapless chefs, which translates into a lot of yelling and sweating. The only goal is to keep going without screwing up an order.
The game also has a single-player mode where you work alongside a plucky robot partner. Think of it as working the opening lunch shift and a busload of hungry tourists just pulled in for a bite to eat. It’s a solid solo experience, but not nearly as entertaining as the multiplayer mode, and for good reason.
“We saw the strength in social gaming,” said Stenmark, who also worked on Bait: Arctic Open which launched on the now-defunct Facebook Spaces VR platform. “We actually took elements of Arctic Open and brought that into Cook-Out. Instead of four people sitting around a table fishing, it’s four people cooking.”
Stenmark worked with veteran Left 4 Dead developer Mike Booth, who joined Resolution Games back in March. The two of them met weekly, working out the design and feel of Cook-Out. “We actually designed the game from inside the game itself by jumping into VR, playing and discussing features and changing gameplay while testing, it was a cool interactive process,” added Stenmark.
In the end, Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale is a deliciously fun multiplayer experience. After all, it does manage to bring together food, fun, and gaming. Three things that everyone loves!
Image Credit: Resolution Games