For those of you who follow my gaming recommendations, you've heard lots about my two sons, ages 7 and 9 -- and the games that we play together. But there are two other gamers in my family, whose ages are 3 and 29-and-holding -- and their favorite pastime right now is Cooking Mama -- for the Nintendo Wii.
While I am almost exclusively an Xbox360 (high-def/next-gen/action) player, my wife and daughter continue to find great titles on the Nintendo Wii. They love cooking together in real life, so this was a natural to try -- and they love it.
But what is really amazing to me is how much of the game my 3-year-old daughter can do on her own. Using the intuitive Wii controller, one can stir a pot, flip a skillet, or cut tomatoes into slices. To be fair, there are a few activities that are difficult for her -- and while reading is not a true requirement, some word recognition or just a better memory would help. So, the game is most suitable for ages 5 and up -- as well as anyone who enjoys cooking.
It's also great for two-players, playing split-screen -- so that my wife and daughter don't have to wrestle for who does the cooking on our Wii.
For full disclosure -- the graphics on a Wii are 'last generation' -- meaning that they are bright and clear, but cartoonish ... unlike the latest generation (Xbox360/PS3) which can be beyond gorgeous. But in this type of game, photo-realistic graphics aren't necessary and might have even distracted from game play or made it less accessible to younger players. The game really uses the innovative Wii controller in numerous ways which are both intuitive and keep things varied. There is a Cooking Mama for Nintendo DS, but reportedly, it is not near as satisfying -- likely due to the great use of the Wii controller as the kitchen utensil in the Wii version.
For my personal tastes, I don't play this -- but I don't really cook either. When I find time for gaming, there are many Xbox360 titles which demand my attention. But my younger son will happily play this with his Mom or sister, when Dad is unavailable to play Star Wars. And besides, anything that puts such a smile on the ladies in my life must be good.
If you have a cooking fan in your family, ages 4 and above -- or just want another diversion for your Nintendo Wii -- get Cookin' !!!