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Cooking Mama for the Wii: by Bill

Well LITHCast listeners, I mentioned before that we will be having new content. There is more on the way, but I wanted to start off by posting this column that seems very promising. You see, when on LITHCast 29, I offered positions to writers, many sent me an email. This column, which is written by a man in Japan named Bill, seems very promising. His column is thus-far unnamed, but I hope you will enjoy his take on Cooking Mama for the Wii.

-Daniel Friedlaender


Cooking Mama First Impressions
Released in Japan February 8th, 2007
North Amercian release date: March 27th, 2007
(Japanese version)

    While unwrapping the plastic off my newly purchased copy of Cooking
Mama, I couldn't help but chuckle to

myself.  I had just earlier been reading an article about some Nerf brand
Wii accessories for Wii Sports that

included  bat, tennis racket, and golf club attachments for the Wii-mote.  I
wondered if Cooking Mama could see a

similar line of products!  There could be a clip on spatula and wisk.
Perhaps a rubber knife cover! But my

amusement was short lived once the disc had loaded and the Cooking Mama
peeked out at me from the bottom of my TV


    One of the first things I need to get out of the way is to point out
that I never played the DS version of

Cooking Mama.  So I was going into this fresh... a virgin mama if you will.
Ummm yeah, sorry.  Anyway, I really

didn't know what to expect.  The intro was bright and cheerful.  Not much of
a surprise there.  I chose to start a

new game, selected one of three Mama save spots, and then I was greeted with
a menu giving me three game play

choices and an options screen.  There is single player, a VS mode against
Mama's from around the world controled by

the Wii, or a two player option to cook head to head against a friend.  I
fired up the single player which opened up

a cookbook giving me 5 recipies to choose from.  I chose the first recipe on
the list and got ready!

 The first step I needed to complete was to open a can of tomatoes.  A large
countdown greated me after I

pressed start 3! 2 ! 1! A graphic of a can with a manual can opener appeared
and to the side in a circle an image of

the wii mote showed me what movement to make to start of that can, while at
the top right corner a counter was

already on the move!  I frantically began twisting my hand to mimick the
instructions the wii mote was giving me and

the can opener did its work on the virtual tomato can. When I was nearly all
the way around the wii mote flashed "A"

at me, but in my enthusiasm to get that sucker open it was too late.  The
lid of the can fell into the tomatoes. I

was then taken to screen where Mama tallied up my points.  She gave me mild
encouragement and tilted her glasses a

bit at me.  Next it was time to peel a potato and a carrot..  seems more
like a punishment doesn't it?  I got

through this one by waving the wii mote in a downward motion carefully to
strip the dirt born veges of their skin.

But I couldn't seem to quite do it fast enough and only made it half way
though!  This time Mama was very displeased

with me and her eyes burned with fire! She scolded me and said she would fix
it.  I was determined to make her proud

the next round.  Now it was time to chop up that potato and carrot.  An
arrow appeared on the potato, and the wii

mote icon waved up and down at me to the right side.  I aimed the cursor and
in one perfect swipe cut that sucker

right in half.  I followed each arrow cutting the potato like a pro.
couldn't have been easier.  I was done both in

no time, and oh Mama was so proud now, and I recieved a speed bonus on my

    Now that I was getting the hang of things I could start to take in the
details a bit more.  Not that there

was much to notice.  The items in the game look extremely simple and blocky,
with large black outlines to give them

that cartoony look.  It almost seems as if they took the same graphics from
the DS and just imported them, so that

on a larger TV it was like a big blocky image.  I suppose this minimalist
simple approach is part of the series

charm, and I am not one to rate a game on graphics so I'll leave it at that.
I cute poppy soundtrack and gasps of

encouragement from Mama round out the cuteness factor of this title.  I
suppose it was obvious even as I had picked

up the game from the store, but one thing was certain after playing for a
short while.  This game is for kids.  Stop

the presses.  And I could see this really appealing to any little ones who
love to play house and cook up banquets

for their stuffed dolls.  Or perhaps I am just "too cool" to get Cooking
Mama.  But I suppose I was expecting

something different.  A free kitchen mode would have appealed to me so much
more.  Give me the tools and ingredients

and see it I can get it right.  Then a final score afterwards.  Each recipe
in the game was a tedious chore for me

as you would do it for just a few moments, then wait for the score and move
on to the next step.  And many times

many of the steps would take any a couple of seconds!  It seemed that the
game would ramp up the challenged but

unlocking more recipes that had more steps to complete, but then I unlocked
a recipe to make popcorn that was only

two steps!  One good point though is that there are recipes from all over
the world, and perhaps you can even learn

a thing or two about how to prepare some exotic dishes.  But having said
that, it's not exactly a detailed guide and

you don't get a real sense of the portions.

    I believe Cooking Mama would have been great as a launch title, but now
that Wii Play, Wii Sports and Wario

have shown us how we can use the wii-mote effectively in so many ways,
Cooking Mama's controls seem shallow.

Especially after Wario has shown just how many possibilites there really are
with the controls of the Wii....