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Developer: Ludia Inc.
Release date: Available now
Review by: Michael Moody
Since the Wii’s conception, developers and publishers have jumped on the bandwagon to push the casual gaming market to a new level. The dizzying array of titles has swamped the market faster than you can shake the Wiimote. Hell’s Kitchen, inspired by the hit Fox TV series, is a new game on the casual chopping block. Does Hell’s spark a flame or is it just another title in this marketing frenzy?
Hell’s Kitchen focuses on preparation, cooking and service. You must master these skills to avoid the juvenile tantrums of Chef Gordon Ramsay. Acting as Ramsay’s apprentice, you must quickly accommodate each customer in the dining hall by making sure that they are seated and their orders are taken. In the kitchen, you must prepare the food. Each meal has its meat, veggie and fruit ingredients and has an allocated time to cook. The quality of the prepared dishes is measured in stars. If the food is cooked and sits too long unserved, the star rating decreases. The goal is to get the food out of the kitchen as soon as possible by clicking and dragging the provided icons. Ramsay’s temperament (indicated by a flaming meter on the screen) fluctuates depending on how well these tasks are completed. If your pace is slow, the indicator increases, and vice versa if your pace is swift.
The bulk of the gameplay takes place in Career mode. You must achieve a preset star rating each day during a five-week period to progress. Most of the Career mode involves balancing duties in the kitchen and dining hall, but certain days take place only in the kitchen. On these days you get double the tasks and two sides to manage as you’re given a certain number of orders and timed. As you progress through the game, the challenges become increasingly difficult; you are given more customers to serve and different foods to prepare. Prioritization and pacing are the keys to successfully completing your tasks.
Hell’s Kitchen offers several other modes of gameplay. The Arcade mode is stripped straight out of the Career mode. Your goal is to manage two sides of the kitchen, while at the same time assuaging Chef Ramsay’s short temper. If one player isn’t enough, Hell’s allows you and a partner to annoy Ramsay together. In Cooperative mode, both sides work together in a tier system similar to single player. Both of you work in the kitchen creating and completing dishes. Competitive mode has both of you working against each other; whoever pleases Ramsay most emerges the victor.
What’s a cooking game without a little something to whet your appetite? Hell’s Kitchen includes authentic recipes from Chef Ramsay that you unlock as you progress through the game. For those looking for a little bit more than gameplay, these can come in handy. For a television series running for five seasons, Hell’s Kitchen clearly has a strong fan base, but does this game do justice to the show?
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