I work as a cook in a restaurant, for an hourly wage. A day of work, for me, consists of cleaning up my kitchen, reading tickets from waiters and waitresses as they come in, and making the appropriate dish– sandwiches, salads, sliders, and more. This is important because I’m about to tell you about a game called Cook, Serve, Delicious (I’ll just call it CSD from now on, if that’s cool). CSD is a game version of my job. You get orders from customers, you make food, you clean the goddamn bathroom. So understand what it means when I say this game is the greatest.
At first, CSD appears to be an elevated flash game. The game looks good, but the artwork feels very reminiscent of the loose, casual style seen in browser games, combined with cartoon-y sound effects and goofy writing. Do not be fooled. Its lighthearted charming aesthetics hide a beast. You start your first in-game day of service in your virtual restaurant, and you are thinking “Okay, this is alright, kinda easy but it’s fun enough.” Then your first Rush Hour hits, and you realize what the game actually is. Well, correction, you realize what the game actually is when the Rush Hour is over, because during them there is no time for thought of any kind. You are slapping together burgers, pasta, and french fries like a madman as the orders fly by.
The individual components of CSD are all simple but fun. You have upgrades for your kitchen hardware and menu, minigames for each item on your menu, and various pros and cons to your food that draw different crowds and are more or less work to take care of. Throughout the day, people walk into your restaurant, place their orders, and wait (patiently or otherwise) for you to deliver. The better you do, the more money you get, and the more positive buzz there is about your restaurant, giving you more work and more money if you can handle the workload. When all the parts come together, it’s beautiful chaos, a nonstop flow of orders and chores as you keep your restaurant running.
You get a breather at the end of every day to manage your money and inventory, and read emails, important or otherwise. Sometimes you’ll get challenges for the next day of service- get 20 orders perfect in a row, or get a minimum or 30 perfect orders with burgers on your menu, or what have you. Sometimes the emails will be a little more lighthearted– customers who enjoyed their meal let you know with less than stellar grammar and spelling. Random events mix things up, including the devastating robbery: a gunman grabs your cash and runs in the middle of service, and you have to try to recreate his face for the police while still juggling orders. It’s madness.
CSD is an indie game, made mostly by one man, though he outsourced the art and the music. It’s available for PC, Mac, and iPad, and pretty soon it’s coming to iPhone too! It’s simple, it’s compelling, and it’s an absolute blast. Don’t miss out on this one. If it can make a professional cook do his job again in his leisure time, you know it’s something special.