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PlateUp!

Developer: It's happening

Publisher: Yogscast

Action
Co-Op Multiplayer
Family
Strategy
  • Price: $19.99
  • Release Date: Feb 15, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1 - 4
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
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Reviews:
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    An alternative take on the likes of Overcooked-style multiplayer food prep chaos that has both ups and downs

    Given the popularity and success of the Overcooked series, which stands among the best local (and online) multiplayer options on the Switch, it isn’t surprising that we’ve seen a variety of games with very similar ideas pop up, though generally not with nearly the polish. As much as I do appreciate the Overcooked titles, the thing is that I do believe there are areas where it could be improved on, leaving the door open to the competition to tweak the formula and try to make something better. PlateUp may be the most promising competitor I’ve seen to date, addressing some of the things that can make Overcooked frustrating, and doing things its own way. I just wish that some of its aspects with regards to controls and its general set up were handled more effectively.

    Starting with what’s similar, PlateUp is also focused heavily on being an approachable arcade-ish food service sim, with you needing to prepare a variety of dishes quickly and effectively. That will usually entail grabbing ingredients, chopping them up, perhaps throwing something on the cook top, and then being sure to put it all together in a timely fashion to hand off to the customers. As you progressed through Overcooked, the challenge was typically focused on confronting you with a variety of dishes which had different preparation steps and by reconfiguring your work area to be less convenient or sometimes subject to change over the course of your dinner run.

    PlateUp, instead of simply going through the same motions, changes things up in a few key ways to help differentiate itself. First, rather than only having you focus on the food preparation phase, you’ll also be tasked with serving the customers. This adds a layer to your headaches if you’re taking the game on solo, but one benefit of it is that if you’re playing with a friend or two it can help set up an easier dividing line in responsibilities, essentially isolating the front and back of the house tasks. Second, unlike the Overcooked series, you’re able to configure your kitchen and dining areas however you see fit. Don’t like the flow of the default layout? Change it up! Feel like you need more counter space or another stove? Feel free to set one down wherever you’d like. In PlateUp how you choose to organize everything can be as important to success as being quick in executing the typical food prep steps.

    That concept of customization then leads into possibly the most significant change in the formula, and that’s the addition of some randomness and variety through the introduction of roguelike elements. After each successful round you’ll accrue some money as a reward for your effort, and you’ll have the opportunity to use that money to buy new equipment or upgrade some of your existing stuff as well. In addition, you’ll have the periodic opportunity to add some modifiers to either make the grind tougher for a reward or perhaps break even with a less ambitious choice. This combination of elements really helps the game break away from the likes of Overcooked to stand alone with its own unique flair.

    While there are plenty of positives, that also isn’t to say it’s a perfect experience. While the controls generally work fine, sometimes nuance and fine control for things like placement of your equipment or people’s food can be a frustration. Another area that could use improvement is the means by which you choose your upgrades, as the system with them being dropped as envelopes and you sorting through them is pretty clumsy and clunky. Even with all of that taken into consideration though, at the end of the day PlateUp feels like pretty worthy competition to the current reigning champion in the cooking show race. Given another year of progress for both, it will be interesting to continue to follow them to see how everything pans out.


    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.2]
2024

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