Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends Review

Player(s): 1-4
Multiplayer: single card, download play

Like the original Cooking Mama, Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends once again takes us to the kitchen armed with a stylus where we must please Mama by fixing her up some meals. This time Mama brings many of her friends to the table with her. You can choose to cook with Mama and let her guide you through each dish, cook for her or one of her friends and try to please them with the results, or accept a cooking contest to compete with others or challenge yourself. Each mode offers a bunch of variety per meal cooked. You hardly ever do the same thing in this game and that is what makes the game fun!

While cooking with Mama, you can choose to practice a certain cooking task or attempt to perform the task for a rating from Momma herself. Each task must be chosen separately in this mode. She will only give you a slight description on what to do before starting then the on-screen directions will show you the way to move the stylus to perform the desired task. Most of the time, the games are obvious, but there are a few times where you might have to result to trial-and-error in order to finish a cooking task. Some of the instructions are not all the way clear at times. For instance, in one game, you have to move around onions while they fry in a skillet and make sure that they do not burn. I first thought you had to stir the onions around, but you actually have to move them in all sorts of directions and make sure that they do not smoke. Now that I see how to do it, the instructions make sense, but they didn't beforehand. This type of situation can happen every now and then.

Mama will rate you based on how well the tasks are performed - she will have fire in her eyes (she's highly disappointed and wants to hit you but Mama is forgiving) when you totally screw up, she will congratulate you on giving the task your best effort (she really thinks you're awful in the kitchen, but she loves you anyway) when you make slight mistakes, or she will look on with starry-eyes and admit that you are better than her (she's merely flattering you) when everything works out perfectly. Each recipe has a certain amount of tasks that must be performed. You can fail some tasks and pass others then still be able to get a good grade while cooking with Mama. Mama always picks up behind you if you improve. After finishing a recipe, a new one will be unlocked.

Everything that you cook can also be displayed in a journal. Your best dishes can be decorated using materials that have been unlocked. You can place objects on your recipes and also place objects over Mama (such as new eyes) as she stands to the side to show off your recipe. It's hilarious to see a happy Mama with frowning eyes.

Cooking for one of Mama's friends is basically just like cooking with Mama herself except you have to go through all the cooking tasks in a row per recipe. If one of the tasks is failed in this mode, all is lost, so it is best to practice a little before attempting this mode. Each of Mama's friends will rate the food at the end after it has been cooked much like the way that Mama rates you while cooking with her. As you progress further along into this mode, new characters will be unlocked along with new recipes. Each character has their own specific recipes that you can cook for them.