|Ahh my two favorite things, cooking and fighting, together at last!|
In Story Mode you take the part of proud and fiery young chef Hao, haunted by his dead sensei and out to prove his worth. Every episode you meet one of about a dozen different culinary experts and exchange taunts, threats and insults relating to the other's cooking until you're both worked up to such a broil that honor will allow for nothing less than a final cooking showdown. In you go to an overhead 2d mode of super cute and well animated, even bouncy, SD characters: you, your opponent, various fruits and vegetables, and the particular variety of animal that will be featured in this episode's main course.
You whack the animals with your razor-sharp chopper until they stagger, then you hold the Cook button, spin the D-pad and try to get the best dish possible from them. But watch out because your cooking rival has the same goal and will try to stun you with his knife attack, taking one of your cooked dishes in the process. You, of course, can retaliate in kind. Cook up all the animals and the fight ends: whoever holds in sum the most valuable dishes wins! Not quite sure how vegetables come in but they disappear when they collide with animals, so I think they help "power up" the animal so that he's easier to cook into a more valuable dish, and no doubt you need a certain combination of vegetables to produce certain dishes.
Back to Story mode, once you've won the fight your opponent must sample your dish and invariably falls into a state of ecstacy/despair in which they float numbly in a dazed state as plucked turkeys, eels, lettuce and other foods float past them in a parade of delightful flavors. Realising their unworth compared to your divine skills, they submit to your power. Bring on the next episode!
The lengthy conversations feature top notch, energetic voice acting and some hilarious slide-show pieces as the cooks alternately yell, pose dramatically, and threaten each other with cooking implements. In Free Cooking Battle mode you can play as any of the cooks against any other cook, CPU or human controlled.
The rather simplistic battling would get stale eventually but! Not only do you enjoy the thrill of victory by winning a battle, you also unlock recipes! Yep, whatever dishes your character managed to cook up during the fight are added to that character's recipe list, available for perusal at your leisure. It looks like each character has room for over one hundred recipies, in Japanese, in the chicken, crab, snapping turtle, pig, lobster, eel, horse, cattle and sea bream categories. Collecting every recipe for every character should keep you busy for a while, and think of the joy they will bring to your family at the dinner table!