Hell’s Kitchen Review

Do you have what it takes to survive Hell’s Kitchen? Find out in the new game based on the hit TV series. Starring none other than Michelin Starred chef Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen the game serves up some hot time management fun.
Right off the bat you are greeted with Chef Ramsay’s cold, penetrating stare, letting you know that this will not be your average casual game. You’ll have to cook up the goods and prove your mettle in the kitchen to meet the Chef’s exacting demands. You start off ranked as a lowly dishwasher, but if you can prove your worth, you can quickly advance and become a Hell’s Kitchen apprentice. Continue to climb the ranks as you improve your skills, and you’ll eventually earn the rank of Senior Chef.
Think that all you have to do is cook up a few dishes to please the likes of Ramsay? Not so! Unlike the lucky cooks on Hell’s Kitchen, you don’t have the luxury of the masterful maitre ‘d, Jean-Phillipe to run your dining room. You’ll have to keep an eye on those patrons while preparing their meals, moving back and forth between the kitchen and dining room quickly to keep an eye on both the food and the impatient guests.
So how does it work? Well, you begin each level in the dining room. Using the point and click method, you direct your wait staff to seat the guests and take their orders. Once the orders are in, you move over to the kitchen and begin to cook.
The cooking takes place in several steps. First you have to prepare the ingredients: Vegetables must be chopped, grains must be ground, and meat must be cut. Then, you drag the bowl of ingredients to the pan and it will start cooking. A timer underneath each pan will tell you how long it requires to cook. All the dishes for a table have to be served at the same time, so you need to watch these timers closely.

Some dishes will require more than one ingredient, so it’s important to time your prep work carefully. For instance, if the first dish requires vegetables and grains and the second dish requires poultry and grains, make sure you move out the first bowl of grains and start prepping the second bowl before the dishes start cooking. If you don’t do this, you’ll have one dish finished long before the other and lose quality points.
Every dish that is prepared perfectly will earn you up to five stars. The more stars you earn cooking, the more patient Chef Ramsay and the diners will be. Leave a dish on the stove for too long and it will go up in flames. Leave a dish waiting on the pass for too long and it will go cold. You’ll have to start all over and risk losing your customers.
Once you’ve managed to prepare all of the dishes for a table, head back to the dining room and your wait staff will serve the food. Clear the dishes once they’ve finished eating and you’re done! Well, sort of.
As you progress in the game, your dining room will have more tables for more customers and larger groups of guests. This will make timing between the dining room and kitchen far more challenging. You can chain your wait staff’s actions, which can help minimize the time you need to spend in the dining room.  It will likely take some practice to meet Chef Ramsay’s standards and keep Hell’s Kitchen from closing.

Hell’s Kitchen
is quite different from other cooking based games, such as Cooking Quest and Cooking Academy, as the focus is not limited to food preparation, but the overall management of the restaurant. Although the beginning levels are relatively simple, and designed to help you learn your way around the game, the later levels are definitely not easy.
Challenge levels will require you to cook for both the red and blue kitchens at the same time. You’ll have to balance several orders at once and get them all out on time and together. Thankfully you don’t have to worry about the dining room for this task, but that doesn’t make it much easier!

I’m sure many people are wondering about Chef Ramsay’s language within the game. If you burn the food, you may hear, “You donkey!” However, none of the more erm, colorful words of Ramsay’s vernacular are present. It’s definitely safe to let your kids have a go in the kitchen.

Aside from all of the cooking fun, the game comes with an added bonus. Each level you unlock gives you access to one of Gordon Ramsay’s own recipes. You can print them out, share them with others, and cook them in your own kitchen. It’s like getting a free Gordon Ramsay cookbook when you buy the game. Foodies are sure to gobble up this neat addition.
There were few things that I disliked about the game, but to be fair I should mention them here. After the first ten levels or so I became rather annoyed with the Chef’s voice-overs. There are only a handful of different exclamations and they repeat often. Another issue is that the game begins to feel a bit repetitive, even though there are new items and challenges introduced regularly.
Overall, Hell’s Kitchen is challenging and a lot of fun. Hearing Gordon Ramsay’s voice cheering you on when you succeed (“I like that. I really like that!” and “Finally I’ve tasted something delicious!”) is great for any fan of the show. If you’ve never experienced Chef Ramsay’s personality through his television shows, the game might seem a bit harsh to some, but it’s all in good fun.

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