STAFF REVIEW of Cannibal Cuisine (Xbox One)

Thursday, January 27, 2022.
by Josh Morgan

Cannibal Cuisine Box art Couch and online co-op games have seen a surge in popularity with the never-ending pandemic we seem to be in, and if you are familiar with the popular Overcooked series, you will feel right at home with Cannibal Cuisine. They tried to put their own spin on the popular title that it obviously borrows from, but did they succeed? Or is it a little... undercooked? Ha! Get it? No wait, please don’t leave, I promise won’t make any more jokes like that.

Cannibal Cuisine by Rocket Vulture is a single screen cooking game with a spin. You are controlling a single character from a cannibal tribe that worships their God Hoochooboo, and he’s HUNGRY for human flesh, but cooked to perfection of course, and paired with vegetables and fruits. But, instead of preparing food by chopping them up on chopping blocks and throwing them into cooking pans or pots, you must attack visiting tourists and then take the body parts that they drop and throw them on a fire spit with the requested side dishes.

Sometimes Hoochooboo likes ribs with sliced oranges, sometimes he likes an arm with grilled squash. He is a connoisseur of fine dining, and you never know what kind of combination you will have to serve him. Be careful though, the tourists fight back, and they will attack until they kill you, resulting in an inconvenient respawn timer. The tourists also hold a mean grudge and will follow you across the screen, so it’s best to take them out while you can so they don’t kill you while you are waiting for some food and then it burns while you are respawning.

Before starting a level, you get to choose the color, the head dress and a special power that your character has during the rounds. You can choose from a healing post, dash, and fire breathing, and these abilities can really make a difference in how well you do in each round and how well you work with your friends. It’s best to make sure everyone has a different ability and they know how to use them. The fire breathing ability for instance can be used in a few different ways. You can breathe fire directly on a fire spit to make the food cook faster, or you can take the food off early and breathe the fire on it while it’s on the ground to finish cooking it. During a few of the levels we found it was a good strategy to have the fire breather near Hoochooboo and others would grab half cooked meals off the spits and then have the fire breather finish them off and turn them in for points. The abilities really add a lot of options to how you play the game, and they can really help you maximize your time and increase those scores.

Scoring is based on speed of cooking, accuracy of orders and delivering fully cooked meals. Each round totals up your scores and you are rated 1-3 stars depending on the requirements of the level. You can play co-op or head-to-head with your friends both on the couch and online. There are boss battles and events that have nothing to do with cooking at the end of each group of levels and some of those can be really frustrating but are a good way to break up the game monotony level to level.

And... now for the bad. I think Cannibal Cuisine throws too much at you. I really enjoy these co-op games where you work together to complete objectives, and if you fail you can talk it out with your friends on how you can do better next time. Maybe have the less experienced person handle the cooking and delivering, or someone that can easily handle the narrow bridges or obstacles working on moving the food back and forth for your friends that prefer to stay in the same small area. I have played hours of Overcooked with my wife and we work surprisingly well together in stressful situations. But, with Cannibal Cuisine a lot of your failures will come from things you cannot control.

I died so much in Cannibal Cuisine by falling off platforms, impaled by spikes that I SWEAR MISSED ME, and beaten to death by tourists that are only alive because the game didn’t register the 3 hits I did on them, that it really just stopped being fun. My wife, who is not a gamer, played two levels of it and said she’ll never touch it again and she’s played both Overcooked and Overcooked 2 with me to completion. She cannot cross a bridge without falling off, she cannot remember which button places the food on the fire, and she never once used her ability, but those are her fault. We both expect those types of frustrations because we know she’s not a big-time gamer.

Cannibal Cuisine is just brutal with its difficulty, and what makes it worse, is that the controls aren’t really that precise so you are already at a disadvantage. There were many times that I felt I crossed a bridge safely only to fall in the water at the end resulting in a round crushing respawn timer. It’s always when you are delivering food, so you have to start cooking that order over again, and in most cases, it’s best to just reset the level because 3 Star scores demands perfection to attain.

I was pretty excited when I read about Cannibal Cuisine and the abilities that your characters have. Being able to cook the food away from the spit and heal yourself and teammates with totems adds another layer of co-op and planning that I love in these types of games. But it’s just not enough for me and my wife to enjoy it. We are fine with us failing a level due to bad communication or her lack of skill, but when we fail because I lost most of my health running through the unavoidable spikes, and just as I am about to throw a meal on the fire an angry tourist tracks me down and kills me with one hit, or I fall off a moving platform because there wasn’t enough room next to a fence, it just takes all the fun away.

**Cannibal Cuisine was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 6.5 / 10
Gameplay: 5.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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