Cooking Mama on the Wii is the follow-up to the quirky DS game of the same name. Once again you're tasked with cooking various dishes (over 50), but this time you need to use the Wii-mote instead of the DS stylus and Touch Screen. It sounds like a match made in culinary heaven, but does the Wii-mote have any right to be in the kitchen?
Game modes in Cooking Mama are limited, with the lack of a core game mode being the biggest problem. You simply pick and choose what recipe you'd like to attempt, carry it out, earn a score and hopefully do well enough to unlock a new recipe. There's no real structure to it, meaning Cooking Mama doesn't really work as a cohesive game. It's more like you're playing the mini-game mode of a much larger title.
The cooking itself is where the game needed to get things right though, but sadly it just doesn't feel as natural as the cooking in the DS original. Each dish that you cook requires you to go through numerous stages. One stage might be peeling some vegetables, another might be slicing some meet, with some stewing to finish. While there are plenty of dishes to cook, you're really just repeating the same mini-games over and over again, with the end dish being the only thing that differs.
While some of the stages work well, with your actions being mimicked on the screen, a lot use the Wii-mote as a glorified button. In the DS game there was a physical connection to the DS Touch Screen, but when you're waving a Wii-mote around it's hard to get a sense of what you're doing actually matching what's happening on the screen. The peeling is a perfect example of bad controls, with the peeler often refusing to move to the bottom of the vegetable, despite numerous attempts to carefully aim using the Wii-mote.
Aside from choosing dishes to cook for high scores, you can also play against AI friends from around the world, in what can only be described as cook-offs. This mimics the two-player mode that lets you challenge a mate in split-screen, where each player attempts to cook each dish as well as possible, with speed and skill being important factors. Both these modes are nice additions, but you're simply doing the same as in the main solo game mode, except against a real or virtual rival chef.
Presentation isn't one of the game's strong points, with the visuals only being marginally more impressive than those in the DS original. It's all nice and cute, but a little more effort could clearly have gone in to making it look like it belongs on a modern console. Audio is frequently annoying, with Mama's sayings often being almost impossible to understand due to her thick accent.
Cooking Mama is another Wii game that seems content with offering little more than a series of half-baked mini-games, with the lure of motion controls seemingly being enough to draw in users. But when those controls are clunky and only work half of the time, the game as a whole falls down.