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 Cooking Mama 3:Shop & Chop
After a blossoming outdoor spell in "Gardening Mama", our favorite celebrity chef is back in the kitchen with a whole new cooking adventure called "Cooking Mama 3: Shop & Chop."

Cooking Mama 3: Shop & Chop" (CM3 from here on out okay) offers up a third hearty helping of wholesome cuisine-preparing fun.

It should come as no big surprise to anyone who's followed the handheld cooking series so that Mama's latest culinary installment on the DS doesn't drop any bombshells or add any major last minute menu changes to the familiar formula. It merely sprinkles in a few new flavors here and there in an attempt to keep gamers satisfied.
Nostalgia is an good name for this game, because playing it conjured up fond memories of past Cooking Mama games-call it choking down a classic.
So yeah, get ready because Mama is back and she's got a kitchen full of recipes to hurl at you.

SideNote:The game is rated "E for Everyone" but has an Alcohol Reference descriptor. There is no drinking in the game; however some of the recipes include alcoholic ingredients, like wine and sake!

This time around, there are 5 different game modes to choose from - Cook with Mama, Let's Cook, Let's Match, Let's Shop and Cooking Contest.

Food prep is still very much the main gist of CM3. The main mode "Cook with Mama" lets you dive right back into making tasty looking meals. As with past games, you'll start out with a handful of recipes to test your skills before moving on to more challenging courses.
Each meal throws a series of step-by-step food prep minigames that let you chop, peel, dice, strain, roll, broil, and grate your way into Mama's good graces. All of your work is still done under Mama's watchful eye, and each task is judged and rated based on speed,accuracy, and efficiency. Mama dishes out lots of praise when you do well and really makes her disappointment known when you fail.

Most of the tasks have you doing ordinary things such as chopping a carrot or frying meat in a pan. Others weren't that familiar to me but were fun anyway(in a goofy sort of way), such as when the game asks the player to circle eyes on old potatoes to remove them. Then come the zany additions, like when you find yourself catching falling marshmallows on a skewer while avoiding dog bones. I like a bit of zaniness in my games or I wouldn't be playing CM3 in the first place, but some of the stuff they have you doing still has me scratching my head.

The next mode is “Let’s Cook”. Here you’ll pick a friend to cook for and then make a recipe. Unlike in “Cook With Mama”, you won’t get any hints, or the ability to practice, or even some downtime before the next game. This is a full on challenge mode to see if you remember how to make a dish and how well you can make it.

There’s yet another cooking mode in the game, “Let’s Match”. Here you have a selection of six different ingredients and you can pick any two of them to make a dish. You won’t know what you’re making until you’re done, so a lot of the fun is in experimenting and seeing what comes out of, say, mixing eggs with marshmallows. Yum!

Ever wonder how Mama selects the perfect ingredients for her delicious dishes? Well, there's a new spatula-spankin' offering gameplay mode called "Let's Shop" which lets you swing by the grocery store to buy ingredients necessary to prepare delicious digital dishes.You must dodge around Supermarket Sweep style collecting items.
Sounds like fun right, well it's not!The supermarket is full of people who have a habit of running into you, and every time you knock into someone you have to play a long, dull minigame such as catching as many items as you can or quieting a screaming baby before you can try again. It's exactly as much fun as it sounds (not at all) and oddly trickier than it may sound.

Up next is “Cooking Contest”. Here you can complete individual minigames in order to get the best time. You can also play with up to 3 more people in the game’s only multiplayer mode. These are all games that are played in the other modes, so it’s really just a time attack mode.

Not full yet? This franchise is absolutely insane when it comes to extras. There are over 200 mini games here to satisfy you. Mangia, Mangia!

Unfortunately, considering it’s all about time and precision, there are some things about controls in "CM3" that are frustrating from a player point of view.

For example, the delayed stirring action in the game is back – as in past Cooking Mama games. The game refuses to register your stirring movements accurately. I'd get to a great momentum going and then mess up so I would have to start slow again,blowing my chances for getting a bonus item. SideNote: It could have been that I was legitimately messing up, but I felt like I was doing really good and it happened every time I did a step like that!

Stirring Up Trouble
I faced similar problems in steps where I would have to add an ingredient to a bowl by dragging it and letting go above the bowl. Sometimes it would not register that I was, in fact, over the bowl, and would send my ingredient back to its starting place, once again ruining my chances of getting a bonus item. Dagnamit!
Bugs like this cost time and points, which is incredibly annoying when you’re cooking up a storm in an attempt to win.
But luckily, such as life, practice really does make perfect. With CM3 the more you practice your technique and making the recipes the better you get at it.

You’ll still get a warm and fuzzy feeling from getting Mama to smile at your work. As far the sound, the music works well and yes, admit it we all love Mama’s funny accent whenever she talks.
So even though there is nothing fresh cooking in Mama’s pot, "CM3" is just so charming and has such a sentimental value.
What can I say, Mama still manages to defrost the frosty leftovers of my heart.

And I ask you, where else are you going to find a game that times how fast you can rip the heads off of shrimp? Now I just need to find a way to eat video game food.

Get Cooking Mama 3: Shop & Chop Here>

Graphics A
Sound B
Pickup & Play B
Overall Fun B

Posted by oxyjen on Jan 5, 2010
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