Cooking Mama meets Assassin’s Creed in the super-chill VR game Lost Recipes

Lost Recipes
(Image credit: Schell Games)

Schell Games has steadily established itself as one the best virtual reality game studios thanks to its stream of excellent VR experiences.

The hack ’n slash-fueled action of Until You Fall fills you with an unrivaled feeling of badassery. Meanwhile, I Expect You To Die and its sequel – I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar – are hilarious yet detailed spy-themed puzzle games that will leave you feeling like equal parts James Bond and Austin Powers as you work to thwart the villains’ nefarious plots.

The team is also developing a VR version of the popular social deduction game Among Us – which we once again expect to fuse the team’s patented blend of action and charm.

So, when we heard that Schell Games was also working on a VR historical cooking game, we were more than a little surprised.

Yet after tying Lost Recipes, it’s clear that Schell Games was the perfect studio to create the game. While the title is not without its faults, it’s still an excellent game brimming with delightfully personable characters and a level of relaxation that isn’t often present in VR titles.

A culinary quest through time 

Much like the food you’re asked to make in the game, Lost Recipes is a combination of ingredients and spices – with some components originating from games that came before it. 

Connections to classic chef simulators like Cooking Mama are clear – albeit with a new level of immersion offered by VR – but Lost Recipes also works in aspects of Assassins’ Creed

We don’t mean that your character will start whipping out parkour skills or hidden blades – instead, Schell Games adopts the series’ drive to showcase and honor history from various different cultures.

Lost Recipes

(Image credit: Schell Games)

These aspects are then combined with Schell Game’s knack for creating charming NPCs and highly detailed VR object interaction to create something more than the sum of its parts.

As you play through the game’s levels you’re tasked with creating dishes from different regions using historically accurate cooking methods – all while guided by a ghostly apparition from that period of history.

You’ll visit ancient Athens, Song dynasty China, and the pre-colonial Yucatan Peninsula on your cooking adventure, creating dishes that steadily rise in complexity. The better you perform, the higher rank your dish gets on a one- to five-star rating system.

That said, even as the game’s difficulty ramps up –  and higher ranks become harder to achieve – the levels remain relaxing. The background music and sounds, alongside the soothing words of your ghostly guide, help create a game that is almost as much of a meditative experience as it is about cooking.

Lost Recipes' laid-back nature makes it a perfect game to unwind with, but also an excellent introduction to VR. The earlier levels can be completed in around five minutes and give you a detailed snapshot of everything VR has to offer: from teleportation movement to object interaction.

If you have friends or family trying out your Meta Quest 2 for the first time – particularly those who may be unfamiliar with gaming in general – the familiarity of cooking coupled with the game’s detailed (yet not overly complex) environments will provide an excellent entry point. Though you could easily play just this title together through pass-and-play for a whole VR session.

Lost Recipes

(Image credit: Schell Games)

Not quite Michelin Star quality… but close

Unfortunately, Lost Recipes can occasionally cause some minor frustrations.

The game’s object interaction is, for the most part, superb but at other times you’ll be completely thrown out of your immersion. 

You’ll go from accurately chopping meat and vegetables – where the knife cuts exactly where you place it rather than across preprogrammed cut lines – to pushing pork cubes through a wok and into the fire below as you stir them with a wooden spoon.

Lost Recipes is also a short game. There’s certainly plenty of replayability here – even after you’ve perfected a recipe there is still joy to be found from preparing it again – but if you’re after fresh experiences you’ll have exhausted the game’s supply after just nine levels.

That said, Lost Recipes is a worthwhile follow-up to Schell Games’ other titles – providing a more relaxed approach compared to most VR games that strive to be action-packed or mentally taxing.

As we've outlined above, it also acts as an excellent entry point into VR – a necessary service for those who are interested in the medium but have little to no experience with it, nor gaming at large.

Lost Recipes

(Image credit: Schell Games)

And while you may finish with it quickly – we reckon you can wrap it up in about two to three hours – the game has a veritable buffet of DLC expansion opportunities that the developers could choose to capitalize on.

Schell Games has yet to announce any plans in this regard but we hope it has something cooking away in the background because we’re hungry for seconds. And if you try this game, we’re sure you will be too.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.