Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat? DS
Reviewing Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What to Eat? as a game is the equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson casting his critical eye over a caravan. In truth, there’s really nothing for me to comment on as it is not really a form of entertainment. In contrast to other ‘non-games’ like Brain Training and Wii Fit there really is no game to speak of in Cooking Guide, as it is purely a piece of interactive software to help you prepare and get better at cooking. Unfortunately, unlike Clarkson I can’t really mock and set fire to Cooking Guide as that would be a waste of my money.
Thankfully, there is really no need to get all grumpy in the first place as Cooking Guide does a rather good job achieving what it sets out to do, and as such offers quite the unique product. Of course, you have to be interested in cooking, or want to get into cooking to get the most out of it. But if you are then in is certainly worth the £25ish asking price.
So, what do you get for your money? Well, at the core you have 245 different recipes to choose from, which Nintendo boast contains dishes from all around the world. Obviously, just having a selection of recipes to choose from is not all that exciting, as you can pick up any fat chefs cookbook and find something similar. However, it is how Cooking Guide presents these recipes that makes the title stand out.
It starts by letting you pick a recipe from the selection available, which are grouped into sections that let you specify what ingredients you want use, how much time you want to spend cooking, how difficult you want the dish to be, how much calories you want the final meal to contain, what region the dish originated in, along with a selection of other requirements.
Once you pick a recipe the game lists all the indigents needed, with a little box beside each of them. You can then walk around your kitchen to get your hands on all the ingredients, and put a little tick in each box as you take each out. On the other hand, if you are missing some stuff you can then bring the DS to the supermarket with you and use it as a shopping list to find the stuff you need.
Once you have everything needed you can get cooking. You can tell your DS your ready to go by tapping a button handily labelled ‘Cook’. This is yet another area where the DS sets it self apart from a run of the mill cookbook, as it offers a friendly interactive interface that works with you as you cook.
In this menu there are various options for people brand new to learning the skill, as the game will inform you of the best way to dice an onion for a particular recipe, or de-seed a pepper. It will also give some other useful information on different ingredients from a glossary available should you take the time to read them. There is also a huge collection of video tutorials as well, which tie in to all of the recipes available. However, if you already know the culinary basics you are not forced to watch these tutorials, and you can just follow the visual and voice prompts as you work your way through the steps to make your dish.
There are some problems which undermine the whole package though. Number one on the list of niggles would have to be the game’s voice recognition that seems to hear everything. This works okay when it’s really needed, and responds when you says “Continue” or “Go Back” to it. However, the feature is almost too responsive to random sounds you make when in the kitchen. For example, when I was chopping an onion for my recipe the game heard every chop and responded by telling me it did not understand what I was saying multiple times. Another small nuisance I noticed was that the game did not offer many recipes for vegetarians, which is a bit disappointing.
So there you have it. For the most part Cooking Guide succeeds in what it set out to do, and that is to offer an interesting piece of interactive software to help you learn how to cook. Of course, it won’t make cooking any more entertaining if you already find it a bit of a chore, but if you just want to be entertained you could also sit back a look at Gordon Ramsey curse his way through an episode of The F Word.