Local co-op games seem to be something of a lost art, with the rise of competitive and online multiplayer romps as well as single-player epics. But Ghost Town Games and Team17 proved such a style is not only still fun, but can be a uniquely exciting endeavor. They’ve done this in the form of their surprise hit Overcooked, and its even more beefed-up sequel. The series brings a charming arcade sensibility with its simple mechanics and frantic gameplay.
At the same time, these games very much do their own thing, with the emphasis on multitasking and collaborating with other players. This has spawned a number of similar efforts – though there are also titles predating it, which ring similar in some way. Let’s get cooking and take a look at titles Overcooked fans should love. Some of these will stress cooperative gameplay, but all will hinge on multitasking when it comes to mechanics or objectives.
39 Days To Mars
This hand-drawn puzzler is a huge departure from the colorful Overcooked – and most other games for that matter. Still, the emphasis of multiplayer communication and multitasking here certainly has some overlap. 39 Days to Mars has players tinkering with a number of weird, inventive puzzles in order to progress and repair their steampunk ship.
The campaign is slim, but the “outside the box” thinking and juggling of several tasks ensure there will be much time spent experimenting. Objectives span from controlling a space bicycle to fixing some tea. Like Team17’s game, 39 Days to Mars truly thrives when collaborating – even if it can technically be played alone.
On the surface, a sidescrolling platformer might seem like a far cry from a cooking-based party romp. Yet, at its core, this colorful game from Space Mace and Graffiti Games is Overcooked-esque in its co-op leanings, rapid pacing, and juggling of multiple tasks.
The name of the game is to sort out the color-coded avatars while chugging along, which corresponds to platforms and other elements. Bringing the right color forward allows players to progress, while mismatching the colors often leads to a swift death or pitfall. Joggernauts is truly a fun, innovative spin on the puzzler/platformer, especially when coordinating with other players.
Much of the excitement of Overcooked comes from racing against the ticking clock and completing the job on demand. It’s much the same with this even more intense title, which is described as a “party railroad game.” That certainly sums it up – as Conduct Together! takes the job of navigating trains and adds a chaotically fun twist with its fast-paced arcade gameplay.
Players will be forced to shift from multiple points of interest, as various trains will be chugging along different paths. The goal is to guide each train to their station and pick up commuters, all while evading each other and avoiding crashes.
Those few who have discovered this hidden gem have often called it “Overcooked in space,” and to a degree, this is true. Though this 2018 romp from Inertia Game Studios shines like a star with its own unique charm. Rather than whipping up meals, up to 4 players will man a spaceship, working to keep it running smoothly and ward off attacks.
This means arming torpedoes, evading solar flairs, and extinguish fires in a manner very much like Team17’s game. Catastronauts especially feels like the more chaotic Overcooked 2 with its dynamic settings and thrilling action happening around the players.
Human Fall Flat
Speaking of humorous gameplay – this indie gem from No Brakes Games seemingly fell out of nowhere. Human Fall Flat has largely flown under the radar even to this day, despite some inventive physics and puzzle-based platforming. Just a brief look at the stumbling, doughy avatars is enough to sense that we’re in for a unique and wild ride here.
Players will team up in groups of stretchy, staggering figures who struggle to even run or jump. Fumbling with the drunken physics proves both challenging and hilarious – as players drag, hop, and fall around while messing with platforms and contraptions that trigger the next part of the stage.
Surgeon Simulator 2
Like the Overcooked games, this is a similarly-frantic arcade-style sim that will have multiple players fumbling through various tasks. While messing up in Team17’s partier only yields angry, hungry customers, Surgeon Simulator 2 puts lives on the line. These high stakes, coupled with some precise controls and tricky surgical procedures, makes for a uniquely tense experience.
This sequel to the 2013 sleeper hit ups the ante in terms of depth and difficulty, injecting cooperative gameplay and a story mode that further immerses players. Like Overcooked, the cartoony visuals and animation provide some yuks.
The Knights of Unity’s Tools Up! is to home renovation what Overcooked is to cooking and baking. Outside the vastly-different motifs, the core gameplay rings quite similar to Team17’s party game. Though the experience is a bit rough around the edges, scrambling with a friend to move furniture and tear down wallpaper proves surprisingly fun. It’s an amusing alternative for Overcooked fans looking to knockout different types of tasks with a friend.
It wouldn’t make sense to have a list discussing Overcooked-esque games and not include a cooking romp, especially one that similarly has players scrambling to complete food orders. Of course, this time cakes alone are the focus, but that doesn’t mean Cake Mania is any less thrilling or tough – far from it!
The series began as a Flash-based time management game in 2006, which eventually become a mobile game, and even saw releases on the Wii and PS2. Still, it’s hard to beat the charm of the original, which manages to be both addictive and accessible.
Put the collaborative, multitasking gameplay of Overcooked & rework it into a cube-centric puzzler, and you might have Death Squared. Just as that game has chefs fumbling with various ingredients, this puzzle game forces players to deal with a number of contraptions, electric currents, and deadly robot explosions. Multiple actions and triggers will need to be initiated at once, meaning players will either need to have a friend at the ready or be great at multitasking.
Holding parallels to the similar Tools Up!, this Team17-published game also takes a typically laborious job and turns it into a fun, thrilling endeavor. Described as a “moving simulator,” Moving Out puts an arcade-style spin on the task of hauling furniture with its cartoony visuals and fast-paced gameplay.
Players will work together on a single isometric screen to drag various items and furniture around, compiling them into a moving truck. Speed and maneuverability are stressed over strategy – though the mechanics, style, and thrilling co-op gameplay definitely invoke Overcooked vibes.