Cook, Serve, Delicious! is an extreme-action restaurant simulator. Don’t dismiss this game as a Cooking Mama clone, though. CSD! is not just an exercise in frantic reaction button pressing, as it also provides the sweet, sweet opportunity to micro-manage everything involved with running a restaurant, from the purchasing of equipment to the setting of a menu, and everything in-between. You must do all of these things alone, with no help from any AI or other players.
The game starts with an interactive tutorial on how to cook and serve various dishes, which makes up the bulk of the game. You are then given various prompts on how to manage your equipment, food, menu, and a stat called “buzz,” which brings in more customers, and ultimately more money. Then you can start cooking! The main goal of the game is to expand your restaurant from a crappy grease-painted dive to a fancypants rich people place. The better you do at serving food, the faster you’ll be able to expand.
Micro-managing your menus and creating a game plan for expansion is a neat touch, but the meat of the game is in the frantic, day-to-day running of the restaurant. You start off with four order slots and relatively few customers, slowly flipping burgers and salting pretzels. As the game progresses, you are given more order slots and more menu items. Your buzz will increase, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself frantically pressing buttons and clicking your mouse, trying to satiate the teeming masses of surly customers while also rushing around to clean the bathroom and take out the trash.
Learning how to react quickly to orders is the most fun and frustrating part of the game. Each customer has the option of customizing their order, kind of like Burger King’s “have it your way” deal, only with actual (actual-virtual?) food and not pressed fat-soaked cardboard. This changes the keys you have to press or what you must click. To do this you can use either keyboard shortcuts or the mouse. I used a combination of both. Either way, you’ll be hard-pressed to not screw up once you pass your first star restaurant. There are also a bunch of different bonus challenges that mimic the hectic day segments of the game.
If you love quick-reaction games, striving for perfection, or being extremely stressed out for short bursts of time, then Cook, Serve, Delicious! is for you!