Cooking Mama Exclusive Preview - Hot in the Kitchen

We commune with a small Japanese woman on the DS in Majesco's quirky cooking sim.

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live the fast-paced and exciting life of a cook specializing in Japanese cuisine, Majesco's upcoming Cooking Mama is the game for you. The unique cooking sim was developed by Taito and released earlier this year in Japan. The title doesn't waste much energy on trying to craft a story about you working to be the best chef in the all of Japan, or anything along those lines. The premise is best summed up as "Let's cook with mama!" We did just that recently, when we got a localized version of the game to play around with to test our culinary stylus skills.

You'll find two flavors of cooking modes in the game, Let's Cook! and Let's Combine!. In Let's Cook! you make a dish from a selection of available recipes. You'll find only a handful of dishes initially selectable in your repertoire. As you successfully create dishes, more will unlock, allowing you to make more lavish spreads. Let's Combine! lets you try your hand at culinary fusion, no matter how frightening. The mode plays out much like Let's Cook! but with one addition--you'll be able to make a fusion of any two dishes you choose. Aside from the two gameplay modes, Cooking Mama will support Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to share recipes and data with friends as well as a demo.

Cooking Mama's gameplay is a basic, minigame-style collection of tasks you'll have to go through to create the various dishes. For better or worse, this means you'll be going through a fairly realistic step-by-step process that includes getting the right mix of rice and water to make simple rice, cutting up all the ingredients that go into dumplings, as well as blowing into the DS microphone to cool off your food. While most are easy, some require a bit of skill and timing, such as properly sautéing noodles, that will require some practice. Thankfully you'll be able to practice making a recipe before trying the real thing. This winds up being pretty useful, as you'll earn a rating after each dish you make; so anyone hoping to earn top marks across the board will want to hone their skills before actually cooking.

The visuals in the game keep things basic. You'll be looking at assorted pots, foods, and cooking utensils for the most part. You'll use the touch screen to interact with all of the above while following instructions and cues on the top screen. When you complete recipes you'll be treated to a view of your dish and mama's pleased reactions. If you blow it, prepare to see one angry, fiery-eyed lady glaring back at you.

Neapolitan spaghetti is pretty gross, dude.

The audio is pretty sparse, keeping to simple tunes and assorted cooking noises. Given the sometimes hectic nature of the more complicated recipes, it would have been nice to hear some voice thrown into the mix. Sadly, aside from completion themes at the end of each recipe, mama is a pretty silent presence in the game. Still, what's here gets the job done and certainly fits the theme.

Based on what we played, Cooking Mama is a goofy game that has some charm to it. The assorted minigames are basic and easy to pick up. Obviously there's a lot of repetition involved but, taken as tests of skill you're trying to get the best score for completing, there's an addictive quality to the experience. Given the game's somewhat bare-bones offering in terms of modes, it's nice to see that Cooking Mama will carry a lower-than-average price for a DS game, $20, which should make it an enticing impulse-buy. Cooking Mama is currently slated to ship this September for the DS.

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Discussion

61 comments
metaridley101
metaridley101

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buzzoinks
buzzoinks

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metaridley101
metaridley101

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urluckyday
urluckyday

This is gonna be great...it's a really neat idea...can't wait!

Maniacc1
Maniacc1

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Quai_chang_kain
Quai_chang_kain

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joestierman
joestierman

im pretty sure it's just dishes that japanese eat. that said, japanese often eat western and other asian foods as well, though usually changed a bit... for example, spaghetti.

Evilrudy
Evilrudy

They need a mexican food version. Who wouldnt want to know how to roll their own burrito or enchiladas the right way not the gringo way.

mutherfu123
mutherfu123

the cooking mama in the look kinda weird but i cant wait untill the games come out so i can buy it i bet this games gunna b awesome!!!!!!!

LucasAW
LucasAW

looks pretty fun.. with more a few more mini games it'd be awesome!! plus the tiny price tag its even better!! lol! Am lookin forward to playin this 1!

FortuneC00kie
FortuneC00kie

Does this article imply that there are only Asian style dishes? I wouldn't mind mixing up the styles of food I'm cooking, you know? I really hope they have dishes from all different cultures.

Viena-Dumpling
Viena-Dumpling

I can't wait to get in that kitchen !! I think this will be awesme >

pking12
pking12

Lol, if you're hungry you are going to buy this game ^^

narutoramen
narutoramen

i tried the japanese version. it's actually pretty fun but i think part of the fun was messing up the recipes since i don't understand the japanese instructions

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

As an ex-chef it sure will be nice to pop back into the kitchen again. Minus the low pay and smelling like a pig at the end of the night. Wooo!

monkey27272
monkey27272

Yes ,now I can finally learn how to cook japanese cuisine.

kingassman
kingassman

boo ya! these are the kind of games that just make the DS totally awesome!!!

waleedarshad
waleedarshad

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s3lFc0nTr0l
s3lFc0nTr0l

they shuold try to get emeril to be the cover boy

shp2400
shp2400

Oh, so you don't make REAL foods huh? Like that one other cookbook game I think was from Nintendo where you make real Japanese foods.

dadonk
dadonk

seems...umm interesting.... not goin to get it

Snake0457
Snake0457

Another one of the quirky Japanese games I got a DS to play.

ChancreScolex
ChancreScolex

I'd get this based on the name alone, like snakes on a plane.

Zonna
Zonna

Wow, Wonderful!

meimnobody
meimnobody

This game won't teach you the recipe per say but it could make you interested in finding it out. Also the combine multiple route cooking minigames should be intersting. The game should be usefull for making you hungry.

meimnobody
meimnobody

Mama is a term used for the female owner, manager of an establishment. Mama-san is what you would call her in Japanese.

Widger5000
Widger5000

how is this anything like nintendogs? more like WarioWare... looks pretty neat...

jorw
jorw

That looks really fun. It's educational, too.

lop513
lop513

Yay, Cooking! Can't wait to get my paws on this game! =)

EikoAtoride
EikoAtoride

I can't wait for this game to be published. :) It surely will also add some nice recipes to my repertoire as I was always looking for some easy Japanese recipes.

faridmon
faridmon

is it going to be one of the touch geniration games, or do majesco the marketing alone? anyway, i like cooking, and this game has cooking, so awsome.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

I can't believe I actually looked at this game - much less wondering if it would be fun... too much Iron Chef, I guess.

ctkxtreme
ctkxtreme

only 20? maybe it might be worth it i mean i suck at cooking for real, at least if i put the kitchen on fire, i can redo the recipe

mtcoola
mtcoola

I love cooking, but i'm always scared i'll mess it up trying new things. So i really want this game

misc1
misc1

that looks udderly retarded. I can't wait to purchase one and destroy it.

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

What the heck is this? Looks awesome, weird, and fun for some odd reason. DEMO IT!

jonathan_rector
jonathan_rector

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nuttybar
nuttybar

Is it just me or does Mama look about 20...:o hot mama?!

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Oh Cooking Mama, you set my loins to 350!