Overcooked 2 has a bit of a reputation for destroying relationships, usually friendships. Really, any intensely cooperative game has the potential to spur arguments and frustration among otherwise solid bonds. My friend confided in me that the biggest fight he’s had with his future wife was while playing Portal 2.
So, naturally I decided to play Overcooked 2 with my fiancée. In my review, I went over what an immensely cooperative experience Overcooked 2 is, highlighting its specific requirement that two or more people work together, separately and all at once in unison. The kitchen is a multi-part song; it requires a choir, not a diva. Marriage may be hard, but, for now at least, Overcooked 2 seems harder.
With about 20 levels completed together, mostly between worlds fourth and fifth, I’m happy to report that we’re still getting married, if only because we’ve already put down the deposit on our venue. I’m kidding of course, and in all seriousness, we’ve left our Overcooked 2 experience largely unscathed. Here’s some tips to make it through:
Recognize Your Strengths and Admit Your Weaknesses
A little backstory: I’ve been playing games since I was a child and been reviewing them since I graduated college in 2014, so I have a fair bit of experience in the area. My fiancée? Not so much. That said, my fiancée has also held down several jobs in the food service industry, whereas I have not.
More than just recognition, though, you can make your strengths work together. My experience with game controls might make me better at tasks that require speed and precision, such as plating and running, but my fiancée’s experience in the food industry might make her better at macro-managing. This certainly turned out to be the case, as I failed at almost every time we decided that I would be the one to call out orders, as I focused too much on doing the individual task.
It’s never about being good at this and bad at that; it’s about learning how to make your relative strengths work off one another to succeed at a common goal, which brings me to my second point.
Think Before You React
It’s easy in Overcooked 2 to see your partner mess up and react with frustration and even confusion. “Why would you do something like that?” “Why would you put that plate there?” “Why wouldn’t you take the noodles off the burner?”
The answer is so obvious as to not even warrant the question—they weren’t trying to. You weren’t trying to serve an empty plate, they weren’t trying to mix up ingredients. It just happened, and when you think about it, one of the most important tips to remember for Overcooked 2, and perhaps marriage itself, is that you both want the same thing.
So, rather than go out with that immediate reaction, think about it for a split second, and then move on. Maybe you need to change up your strategy or switch roles. But remember: your partner is not your enemy.
Accept When It’s Time to Go to Bed
In a game called Overcooked 2, it should be obvious when you need to let things sit and cool off. There are times when you need to give it a rest. You’re not going to solve every issue, or, in the case of a video game, beat every level, without some strife. Put the game down, come back to it in the morning.
This should be obvious to any gamer, but it’s also a difficult conundrum to avoid. It doesn’t matter if you play games as involved as Dota 2 or as simple as Minesweeper. That “just one more” mentality is hard to shake. You don’t want to “end on a loss,” so you keep banging your head against the brick wall.
That’s when you’re reaching risky territory. Patience wears thin as nights go on and energy drains, and that’s an unstable concoction for any relationship, especially romantic ones. Don’t go down that road. Put the game down, go to bed—angry or not—and, as my fiancée so aptly puts it on bad days, “try again tomorrow.”
Communicate When Things Get Hard
On our hardest level to date in Overcooked 2—a level we still haven’t together beat and one that I’m convinced requires three people—I got overwhelmed by the insane difficulty and reverted to an almost auto-pilot problem-solving state where I shut down verbally and just acted. It’s a tough instinct against which to fight, but you need to.
There’s a burning pan of chicken—I need to get that. Rice overcooking—I need to get that. Meal ready to serve—I need to get that. This was my thought process, and it was entirely internal. Things got difficult and I stopped communicating.
Don’t be like me. It’s more important than ever to communicate when things are difficult, because, as I mentioned earlier, you’re on the same team, working toward the same goal. You have a partner to help, which, in hopefully all cases, brings me to my next point.
Share the Dishes
Overcooked 2 is a game about splitting, but also sharing duties, and it’s perhaps most relevant in the game and in life to do so with the dishes. Dishes are always piled up, because we always use them, and remember not to wait for the green light from your partner to get them done.
Communication is important, but initiative shouldn’t be flouted. You can take it upon yourself to solve problems that need to be solved, just as long as you’re communicating. If you see the dishes are piling up, wash them. Don’t be one of those clueless guys who says, “why didn’t you TELL me to do this dishes?” They probably didn’t tell you because they assumed you have eyes and also saw that they needed to be washed.
But again, communicate. A simple “I’m washing these plates!” tells your partner what you’re doing and helps them prepare around it. That kind of relationship will work out better in the long run. Maybe next time, they will do the dishes while you prepare around them. It’s simple stuff, but things will end up a lot *ahem* cleaner.