Cook Hero is a Facebook game from RapaZapp Interactive Studios. The game has been showing activity since December of last year, but has recently showed up in the Trending section of Facebook’s App Center.
Cook Hero is a match-three puzzle game in the Bejeweled mold — that is, it primarily involves swapping objects around in order to make horizontal or vertical lines of like-colored objects. In terms of overall game structure and presentation, Cook Hero takes extremely heavy cues from King’s immensely popular Candy Crush Saga — players work their way through a linear series of levels one at a time, and every few levels the objective required to complete a level changes, ranging from scoring a certain number of points to destroying all the blocks of ice in the background of a level. All levels have a limited number of moves in which to achieve their objective, and failing to complete the level before all moves have been used costs the player a life. Lives replenish at the rate of one every half an hour, up to a maximum of five, and can, as usual, be replenished quicker either by paying or begging to friends.
Cook Hero doesn’t have a great deal to distinguish itself from the numerous other match-3 games available in terms of gameplay, but one of the rewards on offer is quite fun: earning “stars” by beating certain score milestones on each level allows the player to unlock various real-life recipes that they can cook in their own kitchen. These recipes use American measurements so will require some conversion for those who use the metric system, but there’s a wide selection available that grow in complexity as the game progresses, providing a good incentive for food enthusiasts to work their way through the game. Unfortunately, there’s no means of exporting or printing the recipes and the text can’t even be copied, so these in-game recipes are perhaps of limited practical use for anyone who doesn’t have a laptop in their kitchen, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
As for the rest of the game, there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but it’s also nothing we haven’t seen many times before, either. The presentation, animation, music and even the popups that congratulate the player for a particularly nice move are all very reminiscent of Candy Crush Saga — which itself wasn’t particularly original or innovative in the first place. Cook Hero’s monetization is at least somewhat less heavy-handed than in King’s title, however, though the fact that all the purchasable powerups are consumable rather than one-time unlocks means that Cook Hero has the potential to become more expensive in the long term, while King’s offering has larger up-front costs for single powerup unlocks.
On the whole, then, Cook Hero is a competent enough game, but there’s really nothing to distinguish it from the army of other match-3 puzzle games available on the social network and mobile. We’re long overdue for a significant shakeup of the puzzle game genre in mobile and social — there are already far too many match-3 and bubble shooter puzzle games out there and not enough developers willing to explore alternatives. For that reason, it’s impossible to recommend Cook Hero in good conscience — it’s a solid enough game, but there’s really nothing new here at all.
A solid match-3 puzzler… but still a match-3 puzzler. It’s time we saw something new in the puzzle genre.