Clash of Chefs serves up a decent VR cooking game, though there’s room for improvement on the menu. Read on in our Clash of Chefs VR review.
Video games involving cooking have a long history, dating right back to the 8-bit microcomputers and continuing to this day. This time, developer Flat Hill Games presents players with the chance to see what life is like behind the kitchen counter of a busy restaurant with Clash of Chefs VR.
Clash of Chefs VR opens to present four different food options to choose from, American, Italian, Japanese and Mexican. The aim of the game is to prepare the requested food items and present them to your waiter, who delivers them to the waiting customers, who provide feedback on your performance in the form of little emojis. As you might expect, the orders gradually ramp up in complexity, making activity ever more frantic.
Things start out fairly simple in the American kitchen. Your first job involves making burgers; throw a patty on the grill, set out the buns, add cheese if needed and present the plate to your waiter. As you progress, more elements are added, such as salad, fries and drinks. The challenge is how best to manage your time to make sure orders are completed accurately and efficiently. The Italian kitchen likewise begins with the fairly simple task of making pizzas before ramping up the difficulty, but the Japanese and Mexican kitchens require a bit more finesse and provide a further challenge to players who have become master chefs of American and Italian cuisine.
Helpfully, there are tutorial videos that give the player beginner advice on how to start preparing each food item. These initially show at the start of each level, but this is actually the worst time to watch them, as the pace of the game dictates that you get cooking right away. The tutorials are also available to view via the options menu.
The visuals have a chunky, cartoonish appearance, which does mean there isn’t much visual clutter to spoil your frantic search for the right knife or ingredient, and the graphical cues to inform the player if a food item is ready or if it has spoiled are solid and easily understood. Each restaurant has its own theming to match the style of cuisine on offer, with the American kitchen having a retro diner-style, while the Italian restaurant has a marble countertop and checked tablecloths on the tables. The graphical simplicity and use of bold colors can make things look a bit flat, but since you will be focusing largely on the task at hand, graphical realism and fidelity is hardly a high priority.
Similarly the music is subdued, with appropriate ambient music being played for each restaurant style. The sound effects are nice and crisp and give a good indicator of performing the task correctly; such as the chopping sound of slicing through cucumber or sushi roll, or the sizzle of beef patties on the grill. The music and background chatter of restaurant patrons fades from your mind with the frenetic pace of gameplay, particularly in the higher levels, but the lack of a solid, immersive soundscape to drive the action is a shame.
The kitchen layouts are logical, and everything you need is accessible without moving too far in any direction. There are some issues with the game recognizing when you want to grab an item, as sometimes you will just fail to pick something up, or it will inexplicably fall out of your hand to fall to the floor, or into the nebulous void and become unreachable. Important items like your knife or cheese grater will respawn after a few seconds, but these small problems can add up over a long play session. In addition, it is difficult to use both hands at once, as the game will only seem to recognize one action at a time, adding to the frustration, particularly at higher levels.
With four different food styles to master across twenty levels each, there’s a fair amount of content to get through in Clash of Chefs VR. There’s also a good chance you will spend a while trying to get the perfect score or maximizing your workflow before feeling secure in moving on to the next level. Each restaurant can take over an hour to complete, easily providing four or more hours of content depending on how you play. There is also a competitive multiplayer mode, where chefs are pitted against each other in a race to see who can complete their orders first, with the option to throw knives or plates at your opponents to disrupt their preparation and give yourself an advantage.
Core gameplay for Clash of Chefs VR basically boils down to time management. The ability to be methodical and being able to plan and anticipate is a crucial skill as your advance through the levels for each style of food. Once your get into the flow, it becomes an oddly Zen experience, the movements needed burning themselves into muscle memory. This is particularly true in the endless mode, where you can just keep dishing up food to all comers and attempting to get your name on the leaderboards. The pace of gameplay is so fast there is no room to simply play around with the environment, and there’s no time to try and juggle knives, mess around with the physics or even have a proper look around.
Clash of Chefs VR Review – Final Impressions
Overall, Clash of Chefs VR is a solid game and one that can provide plenty of entertainment, particularly in multiplayer, but it fails to do anything groundbreaking or extraordinary with the genre and it does have some niggling issues that need to be resolved. If you’re after Overcooked VR, we still say go with Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, but this is a decent addition to the genre all the same.
For more on how we arrived at this rating, read our review guidelines. What did you make of our Clash of Chefs review? Let us know in the comments below!