LOS ANGELES--We were fortunate enough to get a demonstration of Cooking Mama, a new game for the Nintendo DS, developed by Taito. As the title suggests, the game is a cooking simulation, where you'll use the stylus to do different types of cooking tasks as you put the game's 76 real-world dishes together. Cooking Mama is already available in Japan, so Majesco is currently in the process of localizing the game for English-speaking audiences. The recipes used in the American version will be the same as the ones in the Japanese version of the game.
You'll start the game with just 15 of the recipes unlocked--as you complete the dishes to Mama's satisfaction, she'll entrust you with making more kinds of food, so doing well with the initial recipes will be how you unlock the rest of the dishes. In all, there are 200 different kinds of Warioware style minigames available in the game, such as chopping, grating, stirring, and kneading, all of which is handled with the stylus. At times, you'll need to blow into the DS's microphone to cool off food. Multitasking as you cook a dish is where much of the game's challenge comes in, much like in real-life cooking. We watched as a Majesco representative made gyoza (also known as potstickers--these are Asian dumplings) in the game. The tasks you need to do are quite true to making potstickers in real life. We watched as vegetables were chopped and then mixed with ground meat and spices in a bowl, before being scooped out on to noodle wrappers. We then had to trace out along the border of a wrapper with water (you'd use a moistened finger in real life) before closing up the dumpling and then had to make indentations on the fold to seal the meat inside the dumpling. These then had to be dropped in a fryer to cook before being pulled out.
There's no multiplayer aspect to Cooking Mama, but you can share recipes with a friend through a local wireless connection. A single cartridge demo is also available, so a friend without the game can try out a quick recipe. Cooking Mama is currently slated to ship in September of this year at a $20 price point. The game's simple nature and universal theme should make it appealing to people who don't play many games, while its WarioWare-like design sensibilities may make it attractive to existing game enthusiasts as well.