Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35
  1. Overall, Cooking Mama is an oddly entertaining game.
  2. 40
    Although there are a few clever mini-game ideas worth seeing, overall it will not hold your interest for long, which is disappointing since the whole concept of using the DS touch screen to control your way around the kitchen seems so natural. [JPN Import]
  3. It’s a fantastic appetizer or after-dinner mint, however - if you need a game for those five-minute playing sessions in the bathroom or if you’re looking to get a gift for someone who has less time in their life to play, Cooking Mama could just be the Chef’s Special.
  4. 70
    Cooking Mama does what it sets out to do very well, even if its concept will never be a true gaming classic. It's a really good niche-filler that utilizes the DS well.
  5. The potential is clearly here for another out-of-left-field cult hit, but the charm of sautéing, stewing, and sometimes scorching wears off too soon, and there's nothing to fall back on to bolster the experience.
  6. 80
    Its smart design takes full advantage of the DS' strengths and is put together in a delicious, ready-to-eat package that's sure to delight.
  7. A charming novelty game, well presented and simply and effectively executed. Just don't go expecting anything more than your thirteen pounds' worth.
  8. Our only technical beef with the game is the occasionally spotty touch screen control. Some of the minigame commands aren't as responsive as they could be, leading to bad grades on dishes you know you're nailing. Other than that, everything here works great - just take your time and don't expect too much.
  9. The core idea of turning cooking into a series of mini-games works well, and the gameplay is simple enough for almost anyone to enjoy. Sadly, a lack of variety does make it a game that won't be played much once the novelty factor has worn off.
  10. A lot of fun, with many different kinds of activities, with an immediate sense of accomplishment. It also has copious amount of practise modes.
  11. The dishes and ingredients are all very detailed and look just like they should and Mama comes across as the tough extremist she is. She exudes her “Cook or die” mentality in every scene she graces. [JPN Import]
  12. At its best, Cooking Mama is one of the best touch-screen games around, but some unnecessarily fiddly moments mean that it doesn't quite hit the heights of "Trauma Center" or "WarioWare." [Christmas 2006, p.66]
  13. 75
    The thing about "Let’s Cook" that seemed bizarre to me is there was no real story to it: you don’t know why you’re cooking, your relation to Mama, who you’re cooking for, etc.
  14. Just keep in mind that while there are a lot of different things to do, this experience is definitely best enjoyed in short bursts.
  15. As is, it's a tasty morsel that will appeal especially to conoisseurs of DS oddities like "Phoenix Wright" and "Trauma Center". Bon appetit! [Nov. 2006, p.90]
  16. 70
    With seventy six recipes, there is a lot of play value here, but once you're done, you're done.
  17. The main factor here is the playability, and bar the aforementioned niggles we came across we can't deny that 'Cooking Mama' uses the Nintendo DS touch screen in every conceivable and more importantly, fun, way.
  18. Cooking Mama is a cute, charming little cooking-themed minigame collection, but it lacks direction and depth.
  19. Cooking Mama saves the data progressively, so it’s incredibly easy to boot up, cook up a couple dishes, and shut down.
  20. While the game does something new and is perfect for a quick game session on the way to work or on a break, it lacks the potential to be anything more.
  21. Along these lines, Cooking Mama could have been a wacky, gameplay-oriented way to have some fun with my food. Because of the dual-screen layout and minigame design, it just plain isn't. [Oct. 2006, p.114]
  22. Cooking Mama was fun for a while, but after the novelty wore off, the repetition of the mini-games and the janky stylus controls just became a bigger and more noticeable defect, and while I’d love to praise the game for trying something different, I have to fault it for not having much depth. [JPN Import]
  23. Controls are tight and responsive, and offer up an entirely new experience, especially since Cooking Mama is one of the first of its kind, but the experience will not last.
  24. If you’re looking for a portable Mario Party fix, minus the Party aspect, be sure to pick up Cooking Mama.
  25. Cheerful stuff, with questionable challenge, and, sadly, questionable point. [Jan 2007, p.67]
  26. It's not that it's badly made or anything. It's just a bit dull, and there's only so many polygon peppers we want to chop. [Dec 2006, p.43]
  27. This is a game best played in small bursts. It's perfect for waiting in line or during road trips.
  28. So while there isn't all that much on the menu, the fast-paced and simple gameplay can't fail to raise a smile, at least for the first few plays. Most will set it aside after that, but it's priced at a decidedly value-conscious $20 -- less than the cost of a good steak.
  29. It's not cool getting all the way to the end of a dish and losing because of some tech failure. But for the most part, things work quite well, and Cooking Mama is a steal at $19.99.
  30. 60
    It's like one of those pricey meals that foodies order at swank restaurants. Three bites and the plate is clean. It's a good thing that Cooking Mama has an early bird special price tag, because right about now we're ready for the desert menu.
  31. 60
    Sadly, the only multiplayer mode included is a downloadable demo you can distribute to your friends -- we would have loved a cooking contest a la Iron Chef, where the highest scoring player across a series of mini-games would win the fame and glory. Still, the mini-games can be fun.
  32. The game is so unique and original that DS owners have to play it, but the fact it’s so short makes it not worth coughing up the cash for.
  33. A lot of fun but unlikely to satisfy your gaming appetite.
  34. 60
    The cheery 'bloop-de-bleep' repeated throughout the entire game is enough to make ears bleed.
  35. Whether you are a master in the kitchen or if you burn toast, Cooking Mama lets you enjoy simulating cooking without all the mess.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Sep 26, 2011
    There have actually been a couple 'cooking' games on the market before but I think they were always limited to obscure Japanese imports that never saw an English or American release. This game does a pretty good job of doing the same thing those did; introducing some fun minigames based entirely around cooking. I don't know exactly what it is that makes these games so addictive, but I can highly recommend giving this series a try when you have a few extra dollars. At it's current price, it's a great deal for some casual fun when you are in the mood for it. I only rated it a 7 because honestly the premise is extremely basic, and it's almost a direct copy of the earlier import cooking games I had played, but it's still a fun experience for the price. Full Review »
  2. Nov 26, 2010
    Adorable graphics and a slew of mini games, heck the whole game is mini games. It's amusing and for that $20 price tag. It's not the best out there, but definitely the best for that price. Full Review »