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Review Information
Game Reviewed Cook Out!, by Cruise Elroy
Review Author Q-Nova
Created Feb 11 2019, 11:15 PM

General Commentary and Game Overview
Anyone remember when Nintendo used to be a third-party company and made famous arcade games like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros.? It's incredible to think about how far Nintendo has gotten in the gaming industry since that period; they even saved console video games from the video game crash of 1983! If there was no Nintendo, games would be totally different, I bet!

Cook Out! serves to feel and play like something that Nintendo could've made back then if they did one more arcade game, provided that Toadette and some sound effects went through a time warp to 1984. This game has Toadette doing some cooking (the more dangerous kind that you would only see in a game), and like arcade games back then, she does it the rest of her life!

Does Cook Out! come out as an authentic experience? Well, I would give two thumbs up (and more if I had more thumbs) as an answer to that question! Is it a complete masterpiece, though? We'll have to look into this game in detail for that question!
 
Pros +Simple, fun gameplay
+It feels just like the good old days!
+Different level variations
 
Cons -A graphical glitch sometimes happens when picking up a power-up
-Power-ups make the game feel dependent on luck
 
Impressions
Gameplay
9 / 10
In Cook Out!, you get to be in Toadette's shoes, as you must pick up ingredients and throw them into a pot that spews out fire every once in a while (yeah, don't ask me what did she put into that pot prior to starting the game, since there's not even a story). It's kinda like Toadette's Soup Kitchen when it comes to the premise, but in gameplay, Cook Out! is less reliant on puzzles and more about action and risk-and-reward.

Toadette can carry more than one ingredient; in fact, she can hold up to five ingredients! Putting more into the pot gives you a taste of extra points, but when the girl has more to carry, her speed and jump height are reduced. Also, it's easy to get all the way down (even if you don't take the stairs), but it can be difficult to get all the way back up, especially once you get past the early levels. Cook Out! does have some form of risk-and-reward that's common in old arcade games (including those not made by Nintendo), and it sometimes does it well.

Note that I mentioned "sometimes" regarding risk-and-reward. So, how does it sometimes mess up in the risk-and-reward part? Well, let me point to the power-up. There is red, flashing grass that, when plucked, gives Toadette something that grants invincibility, super speed, and really high jump height! It doesn't sound so bad, but what if I told you that they pop out randomly? Yes, RANDOMLY! There's been times where they show up frequently, and times where it feels like forever until they show up, to the point where I just think "Come on, where's that power-up!?".

As the cooking pot never stops spitting out fire, getting the ingredients back to the pot on the top can eventually feel nearly impossible when there's a drought in power-ups, especially later on. I think it would feel more fair if the luck was taken out, perhaps power-ups can instead show up based on time and only a few locations.

Also, one more thing I'd like to mention about the power-ups is that sometimes, when Toadette gets another power-up while she's nearly done using one, she'll turn invisible for as long as she is invincible! It's a graphical glitch, but it negatively impacts gameplay as it makes it hard to tell where Toadette is exactly at.
 
Graphics
10 / 10
It wouldn't feel like an arcade game in the early 80s if it didn't look like one! Luckily, Cook Out!'s sprites matches the old games very well! I don't know if Nintendo would really reuse the fire sprites from Donkey Kong if they made this game, but that doesn't mean it looks out of place! I thought Toadette looks kinda cute!

Cook Out! has some really cool details packed in, such as the start-up screen. I really like how the ingredients change in each level, although at some point (I think it's either level 10 or 11), the levels will randomly pick a type of ingredient that Toadette will use. I also like that each level variation has its own color, as it makes them more distinct.

The game looks great as it is, but what makes Cook Out! truly stand out is that Cruise Elroy added options to have a CRT filter and an overlay, making it feel as if you really are playing on an arcade cabinet. I leave them off (the CRT filter makes my computer run slow, but I think it's more about my computer than anything), but they're really cool extras to have nonetheless! The artwork in the overlay looks pretty great and really fits with the arcade cabinets made back then!
 
Sound
10 / 10
The sounds are just as authentic as the visuals here! Cook Out! offers some music never heard before, and they are really nice and catchy! The sound effects are good, even the footstep noises really add to the experience! The fact that Cruise Elroy even added a sound effect (one that would be from the machine rather than the game) for the start-up screen is the cherry on the top!

If there's anything I would suggest adding, it'd be a 1-Up sound effect. I think some arcade games have a sound for getting an extra life, so I don't know why doesn't Cook Out! have one as well. I sometimes don't even notice that I got a 1-Up until much later on!
 
Replay
8 / 10
I would definitely order Cook Out! again if a waiter asked me if I want more of it! With 4 unique level layouts, the game is just really fun and addicting to play, even if the RNG involved can sometimes cause frustration. There are high-scores in the game, so you can try to beat your own best score (awesome default names, by the way)! Online high-scores could really boost the replay value, although it might affect the arcade feel of the game. Eh, you can go invite your siblings or friends to play the game in your computer if you want more competition in the high-scores (this game even has a 2-player mode).

One thing that you'll know it's in Cook Out! but not know how to unlock it (at least not right away) is Free Play mode. In the options menu, there are grayed-out options that affect the gameplay. I have yet to find a way to unlock these options and I'm not sure if it's really necessary to have them locked in the first place, but once you figured it out, I'm sure Cook Out! will be more accessible and have more replay value!
 
Final Words
9 / 10
Cook Out! is a dish best served to retro arcade game fans, although it could've been cooked a little longer.

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