The basic controls, like tilting the Wii remote to coat a pan with olive oil, go a long way toward feeling like you're in the kitchen.
The meals you make in Cook or Be Cooked run the gamut from a simple plate of fried eggs and bacon to elaborate entrees like Tuscan lasagna and grilled ahi tuna with a Caribbean mojo sauce. Though the game's visuals are nothing remarkable, the food itself looks realistic and appetizing, likely leaving your stomach rumbling with hunger by the time a meal is complete. Unfortunately, the "30+ recipes" advertised on the box actually amount to a paltry 12 in-game meals to choose from. For example, the overly easy fried eggs and skillet bacon meal counts counts the eggs and bacon as two different recipes, which is still just one meal in the game no matter how much it pads the figure on the outside of the box. Thanks to this creative use of math, you'll be done with all the game's recipes before you know it--probably around three hours. Though you'll likely have picked up a handful of valuable new techniques along the way, the small selection limits the game's appeal. Beyond that, there's not much fun in going back to old recipes once you've learned them already.
Adding a bit more value to Cook or Be Cooked is a pair of multiplayer modes that let you work as a team or go head-to-head. There's a pass-the-controller mode that lets two to four players take turns on one meal, and a two-player split-screen cook-off that has two chefs going at it for the best overall point total. Neither one has a significant effect on the basic experience, though there's a certain level of entertainment in making sure your friend doesn't overcook the meatballs you assembled a moment earlier, or taunting him if he has left his salmon on the grill too long.
"That's right, Susie! Enjoy your giant novelty bacon!"
Cook or Be Cooked succeeds at offering an entertaining cooking experience in video game form. It uses uncomplicated motion controls to successfully mimic various tasks in the kitchen, and that simplicity is aided by a mostly helpful scoring and feedback system that keeps you focused on the job at hand. The result is a game that makes it fun to learn the basics of a new recipe before you try it out in your own kitchen. Though the limited number of dishes and extremely modest replay value is a major strike against its overall value, Cook or Be Cooked is a pleasing mixture of video game and recipe book.