As your restaurant becomes more popular, the number of simultaneous orders you are cooking will increase. When four orders start coming to you at the same time, you have to be efficient in your use of resources. You have one cutting board, one deep fryer, two burners, and a griddle. Boiling, sauteing, and frying are relatively slow, but you do have to keep an eye on them or you will, as I did on my very first order, burn your restaurant to the ground. Grating, dicing, and slicing are fast, so you can do them while the other ingredients are cooking. The worst sets of orders are those that have a lot of deep frying to be done – you have just the one fryer, so you have to plan accordingly. Your assistant chef can also fry for you, though, and he's very good at it. If you can stand his constant harping and whining, you can offload some work to him.
As you progress through your career, you will work with Mexican, Italian, and snobby gourmet food. As such, you will soon be working with a couple of dozen different spices and cooking techniques. The management aspects of restaurant ownership will remain pretty constant, though, and they are pretty simplistic. That's not a criticism, by the way: if the most onerous thing I have to do as the restaurant owner is keep the spice shelf well stocked or wash some dishes to prove to the Board of Health that I know how to do it, that's just fine with me. Coin management is also pretty straightforward. Buy what you need to buy one you've earned enough coin, then move up to the next restaurant. Nothing to it, really.
Once you've succeeded in growing the reputation of your gourmet restaurant to the five star level, you will be recognized as the premier chef that you are, and will be entered into my favorite part of the career: an invitation to compete on The Fortified Chef Show, an entertaining version of the Japanese Campy Cooking Classic, The Iron Chef. If you win that, your career is over. All told, it only takes about six hours to complete your career. At this point, the question of replayability rears its unattractive head. Without the goal of progressing through a career to drive you, will you ever come back to play Order Up! Again? This is still an open question for me. What would make it a much easier decision would be the ability to play The Fortified Chef in a two-player mode. Unfortunately, there is no two-player mode, which seems like quite a missed opportunity.
All in all, Order Up! was very entertaining. I found it both approachable and fun. The repetitive statements of some of the characters can be somewhat grating (heh!) on older folks, and even the 14 year old tester that I employed for a second opinion was soon looking for the options menu to shut them up. The biggest weakness in my opinion, though, is the lack of a multiplayer challenge mode. Even so, Order Up! scores a solid B+.
Order Up! will be entertaining and easy to learn for all ages. At an average of six hours to complete, though, it suffers from the lack of a multiplayer challenge mode.
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