Some time ago I backed Kitchen Rush on Kickstarter. I probably only back one or two games a year so for me to actually commit it needs to have something interesting about it. As you can see over 2000 people were similarly convinced that Kitchen Rush was offering something fresh and enticing.
Kitchen Rush is a Cooperative game where the players are running a restaurant kitchen. So far, nothing too special. But it’s the way that the game has represented the kitchen workers that really drew me in.
Each worker is represented with a sand-timer. When you want your worker to perform a task, you flip them over onto the action spot where they must remain until the sand has run out.
I don’t know any game that works like this, and the ingenuity made me pledge immediately.
The theme was the other major draw, I had recently played through and immensely enjoyed Overcooked on my PS4. A cooperative game where you control workers in the kitchen. Of course, being a video game there were plenty of differences but the fun I had in a digital kitchen made me yearn for a tabletop experience that was remotely similar.
As we got closer to December I was getting quite excited by the approaching arrival of Kitchen Rush. A few minor delay announcements came through but I see that as standard in Kickstarters.
So, when the game eventually arrived I was itching to give it a go and I hastily arranged a inaugural game the first weekend I could. I have now played it 3 or 4 times so while I can’t get deep into what makes the game tick I can give a fairly well informed opinion.
The reasons I bought the game are absolutely what I like about it now I’ve played it. The sand timers are an ingenious mechanic that really work to push the immediacy and tension making it as close to playing a tabletop version of Overcooked as you could realistically get.
The tiny Carrots and Fish etc… are also great. The only food item that gets a negative comment every time I play is the meat. I think those pieces should have been a deeper red.
I haven’t yet played with every additional thing added in but I love games which have a modular approach to rules. It make it very easy to cater (pun intended) to the audience you’re going to play with and the kind of game you want to play by adding in or taking away the additional rules. I think Magic Maze is another co-op games that does a great job of this by having scenarios of increasing complexity in the rulebook that you can run through.
This isn’t a perfect game, as very few games are, and I would love to be responsible for creating a game with only the few imperfections that this game has. Firstly, I find that the set up time is just too long with so many bits to get out and order around the table, there’s the board, the prestige track and each player has a player mat in front of them. It just takes up too much space!
There have been a few evenings where I’ve been deciding which game to put in my bag and have rejected Kitchen Rush because of the set up time. A similar thing happens with Alien: Legendary, I reach for it but past games flash before my eyes and I choose something easier to start up.
Then there’s the big issue, the issue I feel like I have to apologise for when I introduce the game to people. The art/graphic design quality. This has been mentioned in every review I have read about this game so I won’t dwell on it but the art and graphic design quality is severely lacking and these days there’s no excuse for it.
The recipe cards have a tiny,hard to read font and then the rest is just empty space meaning some cards are almost entirely blank! The prestige tracker and player mats are also very flimsy and feel cheap, pretty laughable for a Kickstarter that funded as highly as this one did.
Ultimately, I’m not disappointed that I chose to back Kitchen Rush. Although it’s not a great game, it’s like nothing else in my collection and it really does nail the pace of a quick service in a restaurant with an impressive use of real-time elements.
I only wish they had taken the time to put that last bit of polish in so I didn’t grimace every time I saw the weird pink meat. .
I shan’t be leaving a tip! Oh, they’ve included a 10% charge in the bill…well I’m not going to ask them to take it off. I don’t want to cause a scene.