Go Go Gourmet Chef of the Year is a pretty distinct title. The market is saturated with hidden object and time management games. This game is both.
You play a wholesome young chef called Ginger, who, after a year of training is now ready to enter her first Chef of the Year competition.
You and Ginger will travel around the world to seven different countries; USA, China, Mexico, an unknown tropical island, Russia, Italy, and finally France. In each of these countries it is your aim to complete all the recipes expected of you in the quickest time possible. In each location you will complete several rounds, and at the end, the chef with the least points will be knocked out.
You complete meals by locating each of the ingredients on the recipe, then preparing them, be it chopping, mixing, grilling or baking them. Sometimes you’ll do each of these in turn, until you have cooked an entire meal. You must deliver the finished article to the judge ras quickly as possible. The more speedily they receive their meal, the more points you receive.
The mix of hidden object and time management in this game is superb. You must locate each item and click on it to send Ginger to collect it. You will collect x amount of ingredients, then switch on the blender to chop them, or perhaps boil them – dependent on what the recipe requires, you must carry out the actions. But you don’t have to do this in a linear fashion. In fact, it’s to your benefit to do a little bit of a recipe, then while something is boiling, or frying, jump onto the next judge’s requirements and start collecting what it is you need for that meal. That way you’re saving time and getting yourself more points.
Once you get used to the game you’ll find yourself juggling this quite easily. There were only a couple of rounds throughout the entire game where I didn’t finish first. So it’s not all that difficult a game, but it is pretty frantic and you’ll find yourself memorising where items are so you can locate them quickly when you need them. Sometimes, if you complete a meal in a good time, you’ll be given bonuses, like ‘point multiplier’ and ‘time freeze.’ These can come in handy when you need a bit of a breather on a level.
Every so often you’ll be given a bonus round in which you can net yourself some extra points to put you ahead in the next round. These are often mad finger-clicking things where you have to find every sprig of rosemary in the kitchen and the like.
The storyline running throughout the game is pretty amusing. It’s not needed to make the game interesting, but if you have the patience to watch the scenes between levels, you’ll probably have a chuckle to yourself. I certainly did, but didn’t find it added to the game. But then I’m usually too eager to carry on playing to pay that much attention.
Added extras include the awarding of prizes. For coming first in a level, you’ll win a prize that can help you in future levels, for example a change of outfit which will increase Ginger’s speed, or a fast-boiling pot. Sometimes the prizes are useful, and at other times they’re completely pointless.
Another nice touch (though completely useless to an anti-cook like myself) is the fact you can actually print off some of the recipes in the game. Including ingredients, weights and cooking instructions, you can add these recipes to a folder. Given the target market of casual games I thought this was a pretty good idea – but I wonder how many people would realise they’re actual recipes, not just a gimmick of the game?
Working your way through the game, as you’d expect things become more frantic and difficult as the lesser chefs are knocked out and you’re left with the best ones. But it’s a very easy learning curve so I think most casual gamers would get through the levels without too much trouble. The final stage is the most nail-biting. Instead of completing a series of recipes to get the most points, you’re going head to head with the final chef in the competition. You both have the same recipe and are in a race against time to see who can complete it first. And you must win each level in the final round to win. I have two words: Good Luck!
Overall, a great little game. It’s original, fun, colourful and addictive. Little replay value though.