Iron Chef America impressions – a well baked Cooking Mama clone



When I first saw Cooking Mama, I had the great idea of making an Iron Chef game. Unfortunately, Destineer already beat me to that since they’re coming out with Iron Chef America for the Wii and DS.


The Wii version has more cut scenes and voice overs, but overall the game play between the Wii and DS games are the same.  Iron Chef America features 15 movement types which in combination make up over 300 different mini-games.


The game has a career mode, which lets you create a character and start off as lowly common chef. Through winning various battles in Kitchen Stadium, you can eventually face off against the three Iron Chefs of the show.  Once they are beaten, they are unlocked and can be played as and against in quick mode.


I asked the developer about how the battles actually played out and they explained that like the show, each battle in story mode has a secret ingredient.  Once that is revealed, players get to choose a number of dishes from a list of dishes that can be made with the secret ingredient.  They must chop, peel, and do all the menial tasks that produce the dish and the game awards points on a balance of speed as well as accuracy.  My favorite part is at the end of each dish: players must plate their main ingredient in a set area, but after that, they’re free to garnish it however they like.


Just like the show, Alton Brown also butts in every couple of minutes to narrate the progress.  I was impressed that they actually had not only Alton Brown voice his character, but also all of the three Iron Chefs AND the Chairman.


The judges differ from battle to battle, but each have their own personalities including likes and dislikes.  One judge may be more into casual home-cooking while another might be more swayed by molecular gastronomy.


I thought that just chopping and stirring things with the Wiimote or stylus would be boring, but the time pressure as well as the element of accuracy will keep the game engaging.  I’m a big fan of the show, so I’m happy to step into the shoes of a chef and try to rule Kitchen Stadium.  The developer also alluded to a secret unlockable character.  When I asked if it was The Chairman, they did not deny or confirm it, only saying that it’s a surprise.


Images courtesy of Destineer.

Louise Yang