Customer Reviews: Cooking Mama - Nintendo DS
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on September 14, 2006
This is a very cute game for the DS. A good one if you've just purchased a DS and want a game that really shows you what a stylus can do. ;) Some recipes are kinda easy, while others proove more challenging. I'm still working on peeling potatoes fast enough. The graphics are very amuzing. I laughed out loud as I spilled water all over the place while trying to drain some pasta. The meals are japanese based...and make you want to go out and make your own gyoza! This is very fun for an adult who likes DS mini games, and it doesn't seem too 'kiddish' as I had feared. I'm so glad this unique japanese game made it to the states. Two thumbs up for Cooking Mama!
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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2007
Having recently purchased a DS lite for my seven year old we let him choose his games. Being like most boys he picked a Mario title and a Sonic title. I jokingly commented to my husband I wanted to try Cooking Mama. The game is mine! Or so I thought when he brought it home for me a few days later.

I started playing right away and was quite amused by the cute little graphics, annoyingly catchy music and Mama's firey eyes when I messed up on my Fried Octopus Balls. The mini-game style and chances to practice each technique before making them kept me entertained to the point of taking the DS with me so I could play at random places outside my home. Until of course I laid it down one night (my thumbs were sore from hours of perfecting my Miso Soup) and my husband picked it up. Hearing him curse at the cheery little Mama and his over-cooked chicken was more amusing than watching him throwing his console controllers. Next my son got his hands on the game, it is HIS DS afterall. Soon it was his favorite, Mario and Sonic long forgotten.

I never thought this game would become a family favorite. I expected it to wind up lost somewhere in the stacks of other games. Instead everyone in our family takes turns preparing all these odd Japanese dishes and earning new ones. While very repetative and at times frustrating we've all really enjoyed it. If you're looking for a family friendly game for all ages I would reccomend this game a thousand times over.
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on September 22, 2006
I won't say that Cooking Mama is the best game I've played in recent months. Surely, there's something more important than cooking - like, killing zombies on the X360, for example. However, it's certainly the most innovative, especially when you consider how much you can do on the limited dimensions of a Nintendo DS touch screen.

In Cooking Mama, you're an apprentice in the fine art of cuisine management. Your master, a certain Mama, will put you through a series of saliva-inducing recipes, and will grill you through the preparation of each as if it's the only thing you live for. You can choose to practise before hand, but when you go into the actual process of making a particular food, you'll find that there's no room for error. A wrong move, and Mama will not hesitate to show you her wrath.

Making a food involves several steps. Some are short, while some may take forever. For example, when preparing a pan-fried fish, you'll have to go through the coating of the fish slices, the melting of the butter, the actual pan-frying and the arranging of the plate. Each process in turn involves different ways of doing things. Coating the fish slices, for example, requires you to drag your stylus in a left-right manner while touching the fish. Melting the butter requires you to rapidly drag the butter in a circular motion when it's on a hot plate. Pan-frying involves a "following the command on-screen" mini-game that requires you to perform whatever Mama tells you to, and so on.

The impressive thing here is that, even though you're just stroking your stylus throughout the game's 70+ recipes, you're essentially doing different things. It's a bit like Trauma Centre from last year, but instead of seeing body parts, you're looking at food. If you're more adventurous, you can even combine recipes to form new ones, which adds depth to the gameplay.

For a game as quirky as this, it's understandable that it uses quirky graphics. The presentation of Cooking Mama is light-hearted, and makes the hectic process of cooking (to me, at least) much more enjoyable. The music is a little weak, even though it does have some nice variety. But seriously, graphics and audios are not what you'd buy this game for. I mean, who cares about these things when you've Fried Octopus Balls to make?

For its sheer audacity in bringing the kitchen onto the DS, I'd recommend Cooking Mama to every owner of the DS. Don't expect to see your DS in a few weeks, however, if you bought this game, and have a missus in the house. Now, if only my wife can learn a few tips out of this.
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on September 14, 2006
I got this for my girl along with one of the new pink DS Lite and she is loving both the machine and the game. I think anybody that enjoys cooking will probably enjoy this game.

It is basically simple stylus controlled fun little minigames (200+) through which you make 76 real world food items.

It has a great progression so it is easy to learn even if you don't know cooking or don't know how to play games. For example first you learn to make boiled rice which is as simple as adding the right about of water to the pot with a simple minigame... and then if you do that successfully then next you can try making fried rice.

I really like the low price of the game. It should appeal to anybody that enjoys Warioware, Feel the Magic, etc type games.
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on May 4, 2007
I work at a Japanese restaurant and not only are the recipes in this game very accurate, it's tremendously fun for all of us. Whether it's 30 year old me, my 40 year old boss, or their 10 and 6 year old kids, all of us enjoy it. It's easy enough for the 6 year to do most of it, but hard enough that even I haven't gotten 100s on every single recipe yet. I'd recommend this game whole heartedly.
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on March 10, 2007
This is a fun game. You can cook many different recipes and unlock many more as well. There are probably a lot of recipes you have never heard of. If you aren't allowed to cook you can play this game without getting hurt or burned.
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on March 5, 2007
My kids are 4 and 11 (boy and girl) and both love this game! It is a great alternative to the fast, rush, shoot atmosphere that most games have. I thought that the game may be a bit lame due the price and the graphics, but my kids play this game more than ANY of the other games they have (and they have a lot of I hope they come out with another one!
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on February 21, 2007
Putting me, your friendly Game Freaks 365 video game reviewer, into a kitchen is about as productive as chucking an infant armed with a combat knife on the front lines. I touch spatulas and pots and pans and things go wrong. Three-minute Ramen noodles take me eight. Ultimately Cliff Bakehorn fits with cooking as well as trying to put LEGOs together the wrong way. Well, Mama doesn't care. She wants me to cook delicious meals. In Majesco's cute little DS game, my gaming cooking skill was equal to that of my real-life skill, but I couldn't help but enjoy it anyway.

Might I start by saying that never in my life has a video game made me hungry. They've made me happy, excited, angry and, in the case of Kingdom Hearts, cry like a baby. Cooking Mama made my stomach growl like an angry dog. There are dozens of recipes for gamers to prepare, including simple things like Instant Ramen and much more difficult dishes like shrimp curry (there goes my stomach again). Now, bear in mind that Cooking Mama is no simulation-far from it, in fact, it is closer to being a rhythm game than a simulation. Wolfgang Puck will still make a better meal, even if you earn gold medals in all of Cooking Mama's dishes.

The audience that Cooking Mama appeals to will appreciate the simplicity of the game's controls; almost everything is done with the stylus. The stylus is your virtual hand, fork, knife, spatula, everything. You'll trace lines to cut vegetables, draw circles to stir, and tap things scattered around the screen to add ingredients, select pieces of food, and the like. Like real-life cooking, Cooking Mama is all about directions rather than difficult controls.

The game is set up in a way that is even more simple; each step in the recipe is its own mini-game of sorts. For example, you'll begin to make rice by filling up cups of water and pouring them into a pot. Then you wash the rice, and if the recipe calls for adding other things, you continue in that direction. When stirring and cooking things in a pot, you'll follow a rhythm-like line of commands, changing stove temperature, blowing on the DS microphone, and stirring when prompted. Mama grades you on each individual step, and making good meals is a matter of doing each step as efficiently and properly as possible. For example, filling up a pot with too much water makes Mama very mad, and she gives the fiery death glare and a Failure to any cook who messes up.

Sadly, some actions don't work as well as others. I had the hardest and most frustrating time trying to peel vegetables, but had absolutely no trouble with the rhythm stuff. Fortunately the annoying task of blowing into the DS microphone is done better here than in other games, and at least with a cooking game it is appropriate.

There isn't much lasting appeal to Cooking Mama, sadly. Sure, it's fun to go back and play through all the recipes, earning gold medals and unlocking extra stuff, but there is nothing outside of that. Majesco was wise to release Cooking Mama at the bargain price of $20, because it isn't worth more than that to anyone. The Nintendo Wii follow-up, Cooking Mama: Cook Off releases this April with multiplayer features, Wii remote controls, and more content-perhaps anyone who hasn't invested time into Cooking Mama and is now considering it should wait for that release instead.

Visuals and sound effects are pretty simple. Cooking Mama has a ridiculously cute art design, that's for sure. The ingredients and different parts of foods are hit and miss, but I don't think sushi seaweed ever looked very good anyway. I am actually quite satisfied that Taito didn't use more realistic images of food, because in hindsight, that wouldn't have been a very attractive sight. Real food, before being prepared, rarely looks delicious.

For $20, you can't really knock Cooking Mama. It's a simple, cute game that I can guarantee for any younger or female DS owner. As mentioned before, the Wii follow-up is coming soon with even more Mama to go around, so DS owners with a Wii might consider waiting for that instead.
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on September 13, 2006
I looked forward to this game coming out here in the USA after I read about the Japanese version, and I have to say I'm glad we got it. It's a fun, quirky game that's simple and quick to play, nice if you've just got a few spare moments to play, doesn't take a lot of concentration and is easy enough to not be frustrating. Mama is pretty forgiving though, she gets a nasty glare if you mess up but then she "fixes" things for you, although she lowers your score if you don't do it right.

Most of the recipes have a Japanese feel to them, which is nice if you wanted the game to be the same as the Japanese version, but maybe not so good if you don't relate to sweet fried eggs or sushi. Also, I think the Japanese version had voices, but this one only has sound effects (not sure, but in the videos of the Japanese version there was talking, it might have just been narration though.)

The only main drawback is that it might just be a bit TOO easy, the only real challenge is trying to get higher level medals. But the price is right, and I wish more quirky games from Japan made it to the US.
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on December 23, 2006
My husband purchased the DS, Cooking Mama, and Brain Age for me for Christmas (among other things). I absolutely love this game! I enjoy cooking and this game is fun and educational. I've learned new recipes and cooking techniques like how to cut a squid and the quickest and easiest way to chop veggies. It even sounds like I'm really cooking, boiling, and chopping.

I even have my 1 year old chopping and cooking with me. I haven't tried the recipies but I know they taste good because the recipies are variations of food I already cook. Overall you have a bunch of food to cook and get new recipes all the time. So unless you don't mind preparing and cooking various different foods you will walk away with learning cooking tricks or new recipes from this. You get rated each time you chop, peel, boil, stew, and place something: bronze, silver, and gold. In the end it averages. Happy Cooking!
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