Cook or Be Cooked! Review
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Available For: Nintendo Wii
Reviewed On: Nintendo Wii

I’ll admit it: I’m a Food Network junkie. I love the challenges and reality shows. I love Guy Fieri and Alton Brown and everyone at Charm City Cakes. But when it comes to actually preparing a meal…well, that’s a different story. I guess, when it comes to cooking, I would rather be a couch potato than spend the evening making mashed potatoes. And now I have one more reason not to spend time in the kitchen: the Food Network’s new Wii game, Cook or Be Cooked!

No, it’s not about food fights—nor is it about creating dishes on the fly. Instead, Cook or Be Cooked! is about following recipes to cook up a meal for judges Mory Thomas and Susie Fogelson—and earning points in the process.

It all sounds simple enough. Just grab a remote and a nunchuck and follow the recipe, which appears in the top left corner of the screen. Then just chop when it tells you to chop and stir when it tells you to stir.

After the first simple challenge—a quick breakfast of bacon and eggs—you’ll feel confident enough to move on to the next challenge. In fact, you might even feel a bit cocky. But the more challenges you complete, the more meal options are unlocked—and the trickier they get. Just like in a real kitchen, you’ll have to learn to multitask—to flip your pancakes while keeping an eye on the bacon—to ensure that nothing is overcooked (or undercooked). You’ll have to work on one dish while waiting for another. And if you don’t season your herbed tomato salad just right, you’ll hear about it from the judges.

Cook or Be Cooked! isn’t a highly competitive game—though you can go head-to-head against an opponent if you really want to make it competitive. Otherwise, you can play on your own—or you can play in Hot Potato mode with a partner, trading off the controls after every couple of steps. It’s my favorite way to play—because, really, cooking is much more fun when you’ve got a friend by your side in the kitchen.

So whether you’re an Iron Chef or you can barely boil water, you’ll find that Cook or Be Cooked! is an enjoyably low-key game that even teaches you a thing or two about cooking while you race against the clock. The judges give little tips and hints as you play, and most of the recipes are even included in the game booklet—so after you’ve finished preparing a virtual meal, you can try the same recipe in your own kitchen. But, then again, you probably shouldn’t count on it—because you might get so caught up in the game that you’ll only have enough time to order take-out.

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