Mama's back in the kitchen again with her cheery smile and twinkling eyes, hoping to teach you how to become an expert chef. Majesco Entertainment, along with developer Cooking Mama Limited, is bringing this popular series to the Wii again after having released two games on the Nintendo DS and Cooking Mama Cook Off on the Wii last year. In Cooking Mama World Kitchen, you'll once again pick up the Wii Remote and follow Mama's instructions on how to make some delicious-looking 2D meals. However, this time Mama and friends have received a visual upgrade because they are now in 3D. They still retain their colorful cartoonlike appearance, and there are plenty of new recipes to be experienced.
Keeping with the same gameplay that sucked casual gamers in, World Kitchen has you using the Wii Remote to chop, dice, grind, knead, slice, roll, grate, flip, and so on. There are no written instructions in World Kitchen, so you'll have to pay attention to the bottom-left corner of your screen, which will indicate how you should hold your Wii Remote. Different types of arrows will also tell you the direction in which you'll need to move. Those who are familiar with the series will probably have no issues figuring this out, but if you're new, it might take a few tries before you get the right movement because there's a difference among rotating, flicking, and tilting.
For the most part, the controls are fairly responsive, and your goal is to follow the instructions to fill up your meter at the bottom so that Mama won't be disappointed. You won't fail in this game, but her starry eyes will flare up when it comes time to give you points. There were a couple of minigames that didn't register our movements very well. We weren't able to add salt without having some issues, and making sushi balls was a little more difficult than we expected. Rotating the Wii Remote on a horizontal plane to stir was also exhausting because the only way to get that step done in time was to move quickly; otherwise, it wouldn't detect anything. If you didn't like cracking eggs in the previous game, this time you have a meter on the side (plus an up-and-down-moving arrow) that depicts several ways of cracking your egg. You'll want to flick down your Wii Remote when the arrow is pointing at the picture of a perfectly cracked egg. If you miss, you'll have to keep doing it until you either get yolk everywhere or get it right. If you do manage to crack it open just the right amount, you'll need to follow up by moving your remote left and right to break open the egg. This seems more complicated than it needs to be, but then again, you won't run into problems like in the first game, where you're swinging too hard or not hard enough.
Side minigames will appear as well. For example, Mama will get involved if you manage to flip a burger right off your pan; in that case, you'll have to race against the dog to make sure he doesn't eat the patty. It's cute, silly and obviously aimed at a younger audience, but it's a fun side animation that changes the gameplay a bit.
There are three main modes to choose from when you start up the game. You can practice cooking with Mama in Cook with Mama mode, to get a feel for all the recipes. Once you've mastered a dish, you can move onto the Let's Cook mode where you pick a friend and cook for him or her. You friend's reaction at the end of the minigame will let you know how you did, so you want to try your best not to upset him or her. If you want to see how you fare against Mama or a real friend, you can enter the Cooking Contest mode where you can challenge the computer, a friend, or Mama herself. You'll compete in some basic challenges, such as grinding meat or pouring liquid.
World Kitchen uses the same addictive formula from the previous games. Even though you won't find any huge changes here, you'll still find charming kid-friendly visuals, pleasant music, and adorable characters to help you in the kitchen. Cooking sim fans should get their spatulas ready when Cooking Mama World Kitchen is released this holiday season.