PlateUp! is now available on Game Pass and consoles, and it’s ideal for virtual double dates

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A chaotic scene in Plate Up, with a lot of customers and chaos in the kitchen as players make steak pies.

Image: Yogscast/PM Studios

Pete Volk
(he/they) is Polygon’s Senior Curation Editor, with a particular love for action and martial arts movies.

Like Ikea trips before them, games like Overcooked are littered with fights between previously loving couples. Instead of coming from arguments over utensils or sectionals, these fights spur from who made the unforgivable mistake of chopping more onions instead of removing the burning meat from the frying pan. These games are more about communication and coordination than anything else, and while they can be stressful, they can also be incredibly rewarding once you get into the rhythm.

The Overcooked games are fun, but my favorite of the genre is PlateUp!, which is now available for free for Xbox Game Pass subscribers and for sale on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch. (It’s also currently 50% off on Steam, at just $9.99 — so it’s just a great time to pick up the game in general.) PlateUp! expands on many of the ideas from the Overcooked franchise, adding a captivating roguelike twist that makes it an endlessly replayable and entertaining restaurant game experience.

In PlateUp!, up to four players start a restaurant and work together to make it through 15 chaotic days without messing up an order. There are plenty of options in terms of cuisine — maybe you start a burger joint, a salad spot, or a pizza place — as well as the layout of your restaurant. Each day, you get a set amount of customers who come in and place orders. Your staff has to take them, cook their food, and deliver it — pretty simple stuff, right?

Two restaurant workers with cat ears get set up in their restaurant in PlateUp!

Image: Yogscast/PM Studios

However, the roguelike mechanics really take PlateUp!’s strategy and replayability to the next level. Each day you finish, you get a slate of equipment and supply options to add to your restaurant, like a new sink, a better plate rack, or a faster stovetop. Every three days, you choose between one of three cards that permanently alters your run and gives you bonus XP. One card makes your customers eat more slowly, increasing the amount of time it takes to seat new guests. One card adds a new item to your menu, changing your ability to prep everything ahead of time. The most chaotic card I’ve played with allows customers to change their orders after placing them, throwing your plans in the kitchen into total disarray.

The most fun I’ve had in PlateUp! is in a group of four — it’s actually a fantastic double-date game. Usually, we’ll have one pair be the front-of-house team, taking care of customer orders and serving them their food, and the other pair in the kitchen cooking up a storm. At its best, the game feels like a complicated, wordless dance — eight rounds in, and we’ve usually hit a rhythm in our strategy that results in a satisfying gameplay loop of preparation and execution.

It helps that PlateUp! is quite silly, too. Seasonal events help mix things up with new costumes and ingredients, and the game encourages pun-based names for your restaurants. It always starts you off with one, which you can change at any time, and boy, do I take advantage of this, including a running bit of vampire-themed names during the game’s Halloween event.

There are lots of games out there that welcome groups of four, but not many of them appeal to various player preferences. Through its combination of cooking sim and roguelike genres, PlateUp! presents a winning recipe for fun group gaming, whether you’re on a double date or just hanging with friends. (The game supports online, local, and mixed co-op). And now that it’s more widely available than ever, it’s time for you to cook up a storm, too.

 

Source: Polygon

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