"Cooking Mama: Cook Off" is kind of like a bad cable reality show. Poorly made and intellectually deadening, you know it's bad for you, but somehow you find yourself playing over and over and over again.

“Cooking Mama: Cook Off” is kind of like a cable reality show. Poorly made and intellectually deadening, you know it’s bad for you, but somehow you find yourself playing over and over and over again. At a budget price, Majesco could probably find a market for “Cooking Mama” as a guilty pleasure, but many gamers will justifiably balk at the $50 pricetag, equal to a top tier title.

As with other minigame collections for the Nintendo Wii, like “Wii Sports” and “Wario Ware: Smooth Movies,” “Cooking Mama” is essentially a few dozen challenges that make gamers swing, twist, or thrust the console’s motion-sensing controller. In “Cooking Mama,” the moves allow players to crack an egg, grind meat or slice vegetables while making a meal.

It’s simple fun, though not for very long. Game comes with 55 recipes, but that number is deceptive, since the actual gameplay elements repeat. Rolling dough for a pirogi is exactly the same as rolling dough for a French pastry.

Graphics are, to put it kindly, terrible. Bright colors are no excuse for designs so plain they look like they were hand drawn by a 10-year-old.

But if you’re in the mood to turn off your brain, “Cooking Mama” has all the ingredients for a good time, particularly the two-player competitive version. With the exception of stirring, all of the movements register smoothly, and it’s not much work to get the reward of a finished meal and hear Cooking Mama tell you herself, in broken English, “Excewent! Better than Mama!”

Cooking Mama: Cook Off

Rated E. $49.99.

Production

A Majesco presentation of a game developed by Office Create for the Wii.
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