PC Games

Published on July 6th, 2024 | by Edward Gosling

Yum Yum Cookstar Review (PC)

Yum Yum Cookstar Review (PC) Edward Gosling

Summary: Yum Yum Cookstar, though made from the remains of a Cooking Mama game, does its job as a low-price cooking game well enough, for better and worse.


Just as skilled as Mama.

I’ll freely admit that the Cooking Mama games were something of a guilty pleasure for me back in the day, and to an extent still are. They may be the pinnacle of casual gaming, but even to a Call of Duty addict in his late 20s, there’s an appeal to taking a little time to play a silly little cooking game once in a while. The last full-on Cooking Mama release was the ill-fated Cooking Mama: Cookstar, removed from sale shortly after its release on account of various controversies, front and centre being the fact that publishers Planet Entertainment didn’t even have the rights to make a Cooking Mama game in the first place. This is pertinent to mention because it is the main reason why Yum Yum Cookstar exists in the first place. Released in 2022, a year or so after the aforementioned Cooking Mama: CookstarYum Yum Cookstar is essentially a Cooking Mama game with the serial numbers filed off (the title character even has a chance of saying a variation on Mama’s memeable “even better than Mama!” line) and as such I’ll largely be judging it on that basis.

Half expecting her to call ’em “Skibidi Ohio Fanum tax”…


Yum Yum Cookstar’s premise is much the same as that of a Cooking Mama game – making delicious dishes with the help of a stylised assistant. The replacement for Mama in this role is the unusually-named Chef Yum Yum, who looks like what might happen if a bobblehead came to life, and who holds your hand throughout all the tutorial segments. Chef Yum Yum is joined by a judging panel of three Acme Generic Celebrities – Max Picante, who we are told is a celebrity chef, Basil Wellington, who we are told is a food critic, and Ambrosia, who we are told is a “pop sensation.” These three give little quips during the cooking process and when you’re finished with each recipe. While Picante and Ambrosia have about as much personality as your average Love Island contestant, when you mess up a step or get a middling or low score overall, they can come out with some genuinely funny quips. Standing out among these are Basil’s barbed Ramsey-esque critiques of your pitiful attempts at cookery. I don’t think I’ll ever forget his savage review of my chicken bruschetta, which, according to him, “tastes like the tears of a thousand Italian grandmothers.” Oof.

Where’s the lamb sauce?

Coming back to Chef Yum Yum though, she represents the one bugbear I have with this game: its aesthetic. I’m not against games having a pastelly girlypop aesthetric per se, but in Yum Yum Cookstar, presumably in an attempt to hastily separate the Mama from the Cooking, the visual design choices occasionally come off as being rather hastily cooked up (geddit?). They even somehow bleed into the food, with four out of the first nine unlockable recipes being rainbow-themed confectionaries of various sorts. Now I’m not saying that they went for this aesthetic and these food choices to bait the Gen Alpha TikTok crowd, but I’m just saying. That having been said, it does serve its purpose well enough, and I have seen much worse art styles. I do like the little traditional-art doodles in the loading screens as well, it gives the whole thing a touch more personality.

Behind the occasionally garish aesthetic, the meat and potatoes of the game make a solid enough experience as well. You’ve got the standard cookery minigames that the Cooking Mama franchise is known for, though there are some notable changes – for one, perhaps in an attempt to make it easier to develop, several of the more commonly performed minigames have been homogenised under what the game calls “Techniques”. When you complete one set of recipes, you unlock new Techniques which you then have to practice, which in turn unlocks new Recipes that use those Techniques. Some of the Techniques have also been given new osu!-esque rhythm game mechanics, which add a bit more challenge, at the expense of depth. Speaking of challenge, the game offers several difficulty levels, two for your kids, and two more difficult ones for those wanting something a bit meatier – and on the higher difficulty levels the minigames can be genuinely quite difficult, at least physically speaking, as you’re expected to do everything a whole lot faster and more vigorously.

The Undyne school of mixing.

The overall effect is that Yum Yum Cookstar is at least fun in a casual sort of way, and also has something much more akin to a gameplay loop than its sordid predecessor. Some of them are rather fiddly, for instance the ones where you have to do something quickly, but not “too fast” – and the game makes no attempt to actually indicate how fast is “too fast” until you reach that invisible threshold.. It can also get a bit repetitive, especially when Chef Yum Yum makes you practice the technique before launching into a graded attempt. Let me make a mess, darn it.

Final thoughts

Squarely aimed at the casual market, for what it is, Yum Yum Cookstar is perfectly acceptable. That it’s a retooling of a Cooking Mama game should speak volumes to some, so while some may justifiably not be all too interested in such a casual outing, for others it’s a fun enough distraction with the occasional dash of humour for the occasional chuckle, though with a rather thick coating of girlypop/Gen Alpha aesthetic that some might find overpowering, it certainly will not rock your world. Let’s be honest though, it isn’t meant to and it doesn’t need to, especially for its asking price of just £8,.79.  For that price, it probably has considerably more depth than half the schlock your kid plays (or watches) on their iPad on the daily.

About the Author


Ed has been playing games since he was in primary school, and now has a Steam library of over 2000 games, only a fraction of which he has actually played!

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