Top positive review
52 people found this helpful
on July 1, 2009
One important thing to note: I haven't actually cooked anything using this game/recipe book just yet, because a) I just got it this afternoon, and b) I'm moving next week so buying a bunch of groceries and messing up the kitchen are not on the agenda. [...]
Upon starting up the game, you first must set up a profile. In addition to name & birthdate, it takes your photo (if you have a DSi, which as far as I can tell is the only enhancement for the DSi in this game), and asks you some very useful questions. It gauges the amount of calories you'd prefer per meal, how much time you have to prepare meals, and how much you want to spend per meal. Then it gives you the option to select foods that you can't stand and foods that you really love, so it can make recommendations based on your preferences (though you always have the option to explore and use any of the 240+ recipes included).
After going through this process, it suggests today's meal, which you have the option to use or move on to other suggestions. I was impressed that all the suggestions sounded REALLY good and perfectly fit my preferences! I also explored some of the other recipes and wound up expanding my preferences a bit...originally I wanted a <30 min prep time but there were too many >30 min recipes that sounded really yummy!
The recipes themselves are very easy to search - you can go by suggestions, browse everything, or do a more specific search. There is an excellent variety of recipes here! My primary complaint about Personal Trainer: Cooking was that they really skewed strongly toward Asian recipes with ingredients that are hard to find in my small town. This one seems to have a lot of different types of meals (plus snacks, desserts, and sauces) with more commonly available ingredients. Maybe it just suits me better because I already like cooking healthy foods, but I found a lot more in this game that I want to try.
As far as the preparation instructions, they seem a little less detailed than the other game, but there is a similar interface. Both games have decent voice recognition so you can work hands-free and tell it when to move on to the next step (or ask for more information about things like chopping onions). Unfortunately it does NOT have little movies that show you the correct way to perform certain tasks, which is a component of the other game that I really liked. Both games have internal timers for each step in the cooking process, plus My Healthy Cooking Coach also has two standalone timers, so you can time multiple items separately even if you're using a recipe from a book (or timing anything else).
The "shopping list" feature is VERY seamless and easy to use in this game. When you pull up a recipe, look at the ingredients and check off what you need to buy. OR, go directly to the Shopping List feature and select which recipes you would like to make from there. OR, you can make your own shopping list by typing in anything you need to pick up (even laundry detergent or cat food). To me, this is very handy and a little bit more user-friendly than the other game; I'll definitely be using it!
There's also a Calendar feature that allows you to plan your meals for the whole month...personally I'm just not that organized but maybe that will be helpful for very busy people.
There's also a little "mini-game" that has you play around with virtual versions of the recipes. Basically you follow the instructions on the top screen while using the bottom screen to manipulate virtual ingredients correctly. It's not like Cooking Mama (you don't get to virtually chop or stir anything); I think it is really intended to give you a feel for the recipes in a quick and easy way. It's not especially FUN but it actually is kind of helpful.
I'm pretty impressed so far! It has a lot of recipes that I can't wait to try, I like the way it customizes my suggestions, and the shopping list interface is very handy. I'm deducting one star because a slight bit more detail would have been nice in some of the recipes, and there aren't any video instructions for any of the steps, which isn't essential to a successful recipe (seriously, how many cookbooks have instructional videos?) but still. I actually think I'll use it more than the other cooking "game" and would recommend it highly!