Crafting Mama Review
The Cooking Mama franchise has been around for a while now. It’s gone through a number of iterations on both the DS and the Wii. Mama’s even tried her hand at activities outside of the kitchen. The release of Crafting Mama adds another list of jobs for the happy homemaker.
What You Need To Know
If you’ve played Cooking Mama before you probably know exactly what to expect. You’ll perform a series of mini-games that all link together to create one big object. Most of the time you’ve been preparing ingredients for one of a number of meals, but this time things are different. You’re going to trade the meat cleaver for a bamboo saw and the mixer for a paint brush.
Everything you do, all the motions you perform translate almost perfectly into actions you’ve performed in previous iterations of the Mama franchise. You’ll use the DS stylus to saw through pieces of bamboo much like you’ve done to cut up pieces of meat. The drill works exactly the same as a mixer and molding pieces of clay is exactly like kneading bread dough. Because of that the game is very easy for fans of the franchise to get into. Most of the motions are very self explanatory and the game does a really good job of giving you some indication of what it wants you to do. There are plenty of onscreen prompts that if followed properly will result in you completing the action the game wants you to do. It’s very easy to understand what’s going on and it makes it that much easier to complete all of the tasks that are required of you to make each new craft.
You’ll follow a number of steps that all lead up to seeing the completed product. These steps will usually take anywhere from 5 or 10 seconds up to around 30 seconds, but usually no more than that. It’s the perfect game for pick up and play style gameplay and there are plenty of breaks in between tasks to set the system back down in sleep mode to pick up at a later time if you choose.
Use Your Created Crafts
For so long all you’ve been able to do in a Mama game is build the ingredients and prepare the final dish. You never got to do anything with it. Crafting Mama now allows you to use the objects that you’ve created to play other small mini-games. For example, the ocarina that you build can then be used to play a song mini-game where you get scored based on how accurately you follow onscreen notes. It can also be used in a free play mode where you get one octave worth of notes to play any songs you might actually know. You’ll also be doing things like rebuilding broken felt dolls that you’ve sewn together in a quick puzzle mini-game. It adds a little bit more replayability to a game that might have gotten stale very quickly.
If you don’t like the way Mama looks takes some of those crafts, like the apron or the handkerchief, and redress her in the designs that you’ve created.
Everything you do, all the motions you perform translate almost perfectly into actions you’ve performed in previous iterations of the Mama franchise. You’ll use the DS stylus to saw through pieces of bamboo much like you’ve done to cut up pieces of meat. The drill works exactly the same as a mixer and molding pieces of clay is exactly like kneading bread dough.
That’s the biggest problem I have with the game. It’s good that the franchise sticks to its roots somewhat, but you’re still doing the same things you’ve done in every Cooking Mama game that’s come before this. While the items are new the ways that they’re put together haven’t changed in the last four years and seven games. The formula is starting to feel a bit repetitive after this point. There needs to be more to the games than just doing the same few motions again and again.
I’m a fan of the Mama franchise. I’ve played every release in the series, with one exception. I like the simple gameplay style and the pick up and play feel of the games. The problem is it’s really getting tiring doing the same few things over and over. I would like to have some reason to continue playing these games. Local leaderboards for families, or online competitions would be nice. There is some wireless single card play for families or friends with multiple systems. Give me more freeform ability to create whatever I want rather than using the same pattern every time I create something. Every plate I make, or ocarina I build is the same with few little exceptions. It’s time to give Mama some more freedom. She’s got a lot of experience under her belt now. All the mini-games work fine. Mama’s as cute as she’s ever been with her broken English. Fans of the Mama franchise will find another game that feels very familiar and that’s not a bad thing, but there needs to be more to the franchise at this point than what we’ve got.
Final Score: 3/5 Average
Review copy of the game provided by Majesco.
Completed every craft and mini-game for those crafts.
Total Play Time: 7 hours