Cooking sims have often been a uniquely fun niche in the overall simulation category, but the formula has largely stayed the same. Players add ingredients in the right order to deliver a hot and ready meal to their awaiting customers. But what if this formula could be distilled down even further? Remove the chaos of the kitchen, replace it with a mathematically clean process, and you get Neon Noodles.
Created by independent developer Vivid Helix, Neon Noodles recently released on Steam Early Access. The game is a cooking simulator where all your cooks are replaced with programmable robots. The frenzied dashes between food stations or platforms found in titles like Overcooked or Cook Serve Delicious! are replaced with methodically thought out paths to each objective. Players are tasked with programming their cooking bots accordingly so they will fulfill an order and avoid any pesky collision errors.
With this take, Neon Noodles feels more like a puzzle than a stress-inducing mad dash around a kitchen. After a few levels, it’s easy to get sucked into the game play of carefully tuning your robot’s pattern of movements. Recipes are laid out in a process, with specific stations for each step of food prep are limited. Players are left to determine the most optimal amount of steps for each bot to get the final dish prepared. The robot cooks however, are prone to colliding if their actions overlap each other, which makes careful planning a necessity.
The game has just hit Early Access, meaning it still has some items and issues being smoothed over. However, Neon Noodles is surprisingly addictive. The environments are simple and the controls (currently optimized for controller only) are easy to adapt to. Taking the time to carefully lay out a pattern and finally complete a recipe without robots overlapping each other is incredibly rewarding. Neon Noodles somehow manages to replicate the amazing frustrations and victories of coding in a simple game format; making it a unique and worthy entry into the cooking simulator series.
Neon Noodles is currently available for PC via Steam Early Access for $14.99. Watch the trailer below.