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PlateUp! Review: A hearty meal not easily swallowed but worth every bite

Emma Flint

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PlateUp! Review: A hearty meal not easily swallowed but worth every bite

Featured Image Credit: Yogscast Games

Whenever I’m cooking, I turn into Gordan Ramsey the moment someone steps into my kitchen, their mere presence a disruption to the delicate environment I’ve carefully choreographed for myself. As a result, the notion of me readily eating up the opportunity to play PlateUp! seems like a poor decision, especially considering the obvious time constraints that such a game places upon its budding chefs. Yet here I am, worse for wear but highly satisfied by what I’ve achieved.

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If anyone is delusional enough to think they can tackle the stress of the kitchen by themselves, let me tell you that PlateUp! doesn’t hold back with the strain it exerts on you. You’ll be rushed off your feet, customers growing angrier by the second if you don’t serve up on time, not to mention their ire if you fail to serve the whole table at once.

Can you handle the heat in PlateUp!

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However, venturing into the world of culinary perfection isn’t much easier with a partner in tow, especially if they’re not used to fast paced, fiddly games like this. Please don’t go into this expecting it to be a cosy experience that’ll have you longing to retreat into your own kitchen, fresh culinary ideas at the forefront of your mind, because you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. Yet, there’s something strangely cathartic about it. Maybe I’m a masochist at heart…? Maybe that’s a question I don’t want any answers to.

Anyone who’s played other management/cooking sims will be pros at the level of patience but also speed you need to act with. Unfortunately, I’ve not played such a game in years, meaning I was rusty going into this. Not a great start, let’s be honest.

PlateUp! is basic in terms of its controls and visuals, making it easy for anyone to start playing, though it also makes it all too easy to assume that you’re ready for the kitchen, but let me emphasise how foolhardy a notion that is. You’ll be challenged, and you will “lose”. That being said, losing is part of the process to better understand the business you’ve naively started and thus thrive in the near future.

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Image Credit: Yogscast Games
Image Credit: Yogscast Games

You begin with a tutorial. Fantastic! Wrong. It matters little whether you play this tutorial or not, though I deeply suggest you do. Once you’ve (loosely) got to grips with the mechanics of the game, you begin your journey to Michelin savant (not the tyres, you heathens), a process that begins with a decision that will impact how distressed you’ll feel once your restaurant opens its doors. Choose between two floorplans, then finish off your vision board by choosing the only meal available in the beginning: steak. More meals will be unlocked as time goes on, but you’re basic, you need to start from the bottom and work your way up; a proper rags to riches tale for the ages.

The steak is an uncomplicated dish that involves merely placing a steak on a hob and waiting for it to reach the desired cooking level as per the customers’ order. It sounds like you could do this with your eyes closed – don’t be lulled into such a false sense of security. Fat and oil will splatter the floor, eventually slowing you to a comical Scooby Doo-esque jog on the spot as you try to get away. There’s also dirty plates that need to be washed, as well as mopping up any mess customers make, which happens a lot and often.

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Despite its initial ease, the simple steak dish soon turns up the intensity, introducing red wine sauce, chopped onions, and broth cooking into the mix. By the time those multiple components come into play, my restaurant had closed its doors after yet another failed attempt to keep my business afloat.

Image Credit: Yogscast Games
Image Credit: Yogscast Games

As you gain more notoriety in the form of increased star ratings, the consecutive days slowly tallying up, you’ll be able to properly start to renovate your space. Wallpaper, new flooring, mood lighting, and other aesthetic flourishes come with the benefit of reducing the impatience of waiting customers if you’re running late with those dishes.

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You’ll be thankful that such features are in place because as your kitchen becomes crammed to capacity, accidentally selecting the wrong appliance becomes second nature, much to my annoyance as I put cheese on my pizza at the wrong point and had to bin the whole thing. Still, making a pizza, even when extra toppings are factored in, proves to be the most convenient meal as it feeds four at a time and thus means you can speed through a couple of orders at once.

My advice: the moment you can upgrade and get more counter tops, plates, skins, and hobs, do so without hesitation. And if you lack the funds, grind as best you can until you hear the clink of gold coins.

Beyond the drive to earn yourself the title of master chef, there are other just for fun elements to PlateUp!, like wearing silly hats, trying – and failing – to stroke all the cats, as well as becoming an expert in looking busy without actually doing a single thing. I’ll be honest, I’ve not unlocked all these features yet because I keep missing the mark, forced to man a kitchen by myself because the idea of co-oping with my partner fills me with dread. I don’t intend to test our relationship beyond the trials of Ikea – PlateUp! would spell disaster for us, I suspect.

Image Credit: Yogscast Games
Image Credit: Yogscast Games

PlateUp! is best experienced as a group activity, though who you select to embark on this adventure with will determine whether you’ll have an intact friendship by the end. Obviously if you play with family, family gatherings could get awkward.

Although better played with others, this unpretentious game is entertaining, exasperating, fulfilling – all the adjectives. It’s a game you can come back to after months away, having left it defeated, not sure if you could muster up the courage to face the hungry hordes once more. This experience demands a lot from you. But most of all, it demands you have fun. Palpable fun you can’t resist despite every instinct screaming for you to quit and live in the wilderness.

Serve yourself a plate of PlateUp! to prevent the pangs of hunger gnawing at your insides, reminding you you missed out on a meal that’s as delicious as it is tough to swallow. Dish up, my fellow chefs, and bon appétit.

Pros: Incredibly accessible, simple controls, much replayability, and an undeniably warm atmosphere that welcomes you in

Cons: Basic looking visuals, less polished than other cooking sims, surprisingly difficult to play solo

For Fans Of: Cooking Mama, Overcooked 2, any cooking and/or management sims

6/10: Good

PlateUp! is available on Steam, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox. Nintendo Switch review code provided by the publisher. Read a guide to our review scores here.


Topics: Nintendo Switch, Steam, PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X

Emma Flint
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