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Game Info:

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit!
Developed by: Office Create
Published by: Majesco Entertainment
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Available on: 3DS
Genre: Simulation
Number of Players: Up to two
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $29.99 

Thank you Majesco Entertainment for sending us this game to review!

My kids have been playing Cooking Mama since the original game came out on the Nintendo DS.  Before playing this game, we highly recommend putting screen protectors on your 3DS system to prevent scratching your screen.  Cutting, chopping, stirring, sautéing all require you to move your stylus across the bottom touch screen.  Add a time limit to those movements and you have a recipe for disaster if you're not protected.  

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit! has over sixty dishes to prepare (I wish they showed the recipes behind them!).  Some of the dishes are more complicated than others and in my opinion some of them are overly complicated.   For example, when I prepare peanut butter crackers for my kids, I slap some peanut butter from the jar onto some crackers, serve it on a dish, and I'm done.  Mama has to make peanut butter from scratch.  That's too much work in my opinion.  I did find it amusing that she used pizza sauce from a can in the pizza dish though.  I tend to make my own sauce when I make deep dish pizza.  To each their own.

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit!
Highlights:

Strong Points: Same cooking fun with new dishes and gardening activities; multiplayer support and learning mini-games added; Mama doesn't give you the burning angry eyes when you mess up
Weak Points: A screen protector is HIGHLY recommended for this game
Moral Warnings: You get to rip the heads off of shrimp and gut fish 

I was pleasantly surprised with many of the changes in Cooking Mama 5.  Mama is now 3D rendered and has chilled out a bit.  When I messed up, she no longer had fire burning eyes and would just frown and say "It's okay, mama will help you"  (in a heavy accent as usual).  Time given to prepare dishes is more generous this time around too.  I often completed tasks in a quarter of the time provided.  There are still some jobs that I couldn't pass in the allotted time though.  I always failed when playing fridge Tetris to make enough room for the dish to cool. 

There is a practice mode available to help you perfect your technique.  Once you have mastered a recipe, you can challenge Mama in the dojo to see who can prepare it faster and accurately.  You can also play against a nearby 3DS player who also owns the game.  

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit!
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

In addition to the cooking challenges there are more than thirty unlockable mini-games to help Mama garden, run a store, a café and tending to her pets.   Some of the games focus on your memory by having you serve restaurant customers the correct dishes they ordered or by playing the classic card game.  There are several arithmetic games as well including giving the proper change back to a customer.  One of the mini-games has you match the Japanese character from the top of the screen to the examples on the bottom.  It would have been nice to know the meaning of that character, I felt like that was a missed opportunity there.  The gardening games have you harvest various fruits and clam shells like you would in the Gardening Mama series.  

There's obviously a lot of content packed into this title.  While the food preparation hasn't changed too much, the new features make this a worthy purchase.  The ability to compete against other players is major selling point alone.  The more lenient Mama makes this a great starter game for those who are new to the series.   I highly recommend this game for kids since they can learn from it and may develop an interest in cooking.   (Mine did.)

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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