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Demo Impressions: Cooking Mama 4

January 30, 2012, Author: Ray Willmott

Are you one of those gamers that sucks at making your own food? Do you live off microwave meals? Beans on toast? Sometimes stretch to a Bacon Sarnie? While I can’t say that making food on your 3DS is going to appease the growling in your stomach, nor can I say tapping the screen with a stylus will improve your ability to pat out dough, I can tell you that Nintendo’s newest handheld has finally got its own instalment of the phenomenally popular Cooking Mama series, and a demo can be found on the e-shop right now.

Strap on your aprons, we’re going to the kitchen!

The Cooking Mama 4 demo allows you to make a Pizza from scratch, playing through a series of mini-games in order to produce the end-product. Great universal choice, I guess. Everybody loves Pizza, even banadana wearing, over-sized ninja turtles.

So, Cooking Mama. If you’re expecting anything above and beyond what it says on the tin, you’re more naïve than a naïve little baby that just popped out of its mummy’s womb. Cooking Mama 4 is about a Cooking Mama, and to make a pizza you need to mix up the dough, spread the base with tomato paste, put some cheese on top, sprinkle it with seasoning, then cook in a clay oven. Voila, Pizza.

The mini-games vary in their control, from whisking up the dough in a bowl by drawing circles with your stylus, to tossing cheese onto a pizza that seems to be floating in the air unsupervised (magic or something…). Regardless, they are all focused on the touchscreen, and don’t make use of the system’s tilt functionality, the analog or buttons. Bit wasteful, really..

Most of the mini-games are responsive and work well, although one or two were simply awful. Fortunately, you can just give up on stages, and move onto the next. Just as well, had I been forced to plough through the sections I wasn’t enjoying, I’d never have made it through this demo.

On each task, Mama will grade you, either saying that she will finish off the mess you’ve tried to make, or telling you that you don’t need her and you’re awesome all by yourself. Once you’ve finished the product, you get a final grade to tell you the quality of your creation. Have to say, I’d rather take my tips from Lloyd Grosman, or Delia Smith, but that’s just me.

Cook for Mama. COOK DAMN YOU!

Once you’ve gone through all the stages, you finally get to see the finished product in glorious 3D. I say glorious, I showed my girlfriend my immense creation, quite proud of myself, and she described it as ‘fucking hideous’, while commenting ‘I’d never eat that shit’.

Job done.

Aside from the final showcase, Cooking Mama 4 doesn’t make much use of the 3D, apart from a crying old mama face coming toward you, shouting and screaming if you fail one of the mini-games. Like that’s really going to be an added incentive for me to cook properly…

I can’t say playing this demo has tempted me to buy the full game, nor can I say it’s turned me off. It’s not awful, it’s not great, it’s just there. It could be for you, it could be your worst possible nightmare, but all the same, Cooking Mama 4 is available to try on the 3DS E-Shop now and is out now on shop shelves.