We lost track of Cooking Mama, assuming it would never wash up on shores outside of Japan. We were surprised when it popped up in a recent release list and picked up a copy right away. This quirky cooking simulator features Japanese-heavy dishes, with a lot of deep-frying and uncommon oceanic ingredients. Reviewers have been giving it points for originality, but docking it for longevity:
Yahoo! Games (70/100) - "So while there isn't all that much on the menu, the fast-paced and simple gameplay can't fail to raise a smile, at least for the first few plays. Most will set it aside after that, but it's priced at a decidedly value-conscious $20 -- less than the cost of a good steak."
GameSpot (69/100) - "You might glean a bit of info on what goes into some of these dishes, but this isn't a virtual cookbook. There are no precise recipes to be accessed anywhere in the game. There's also no multiplayer component of any kind, though the advertised four-player wireless icon on the back of the box might lead you to believe otherwise."
IGN (70/100) - "The big question: is any of this fun? Though the entirety of this game is simply doing what you're told as quickly as possible, it's actually an amusing game if you're not expecting much out of it."
Give Cooking Mama a shot, especially if interested in the culture of Japanese food. We don't think it would hold up without the menu of shumai wontons, octopus dumplings, and other unique treats.