Part of the Touch Generations series, the first Personal Trainer title released by Nintendo in North America is a great looking and detailed cooking manual. The highly informational software can guide a novice cook through complex recipes and offers a lot of great additional features. With 245 recipes from over 25 countries, Personal Trainer: Cooking’s only drawback is that its recipe selection may be too exotic.
Most of the featured recipes are quite elaborate and include several ingredients. Some recipes include alcohol like wine or sake and other special ingredients. Its list of substitute ingredients becomes handy when some of these are not readily available. The majority of the recipes are of Asian origin. Read More...
Every recipe contains a lot of information, including average preparation time and caloric content. They can be sorted by countries of provenance, by ingredients used and by various requirements like difficulty level, main ingredient, cooking method, calorie content and cooking time. Viewing all recipes lists them by type of dish such as salads, soups and meat. The title also offers tutorials on ingredients, utensils, cooking terminology, helpful tips and has a library of example videos.
Users can select the number of portions wanted to determine the exact amount of ingredients needed. Certain ingredients can be excluded, in the case of food allergies or other dietary constraints, removing the corresponding recipes from your searches. A monthly calendar keeps track of which recipes you have cooked and of how many times you have prepared them.
The title is controlled using the touch screen and stylus or the face buttons according to user preference. Most actions are selected using scrollable menus and buttons. To execute a keyword search, you will need to print the letters in two writing boxes. The handwriting recognition is adequate and mistakes can be corrected by choosing from a menu of similar looking letters.
While preparing a recipe, users can advance or repeat a step in the instructions using voice prompts like “continue,” “repeat” or “last step.” This is particularly useful if your hands are dirty but you will need to speak loudly for the DS microphone to pick up the sound of your command. The touch controls can also be used instead.
The title is completely voiced, with a narrator reading all printed instructions aloud. His speech can even be adjusted to be slower or faster. The audio stands out with cute and happy music that can be turned off and sound effects for certain actions like frying or chopping when viewing the cooking instructions.
Personal Trainer: Cooking is an excellent informational software title, almost a short encyclopaedia of cooking. Its presentation is attractive with bright colours and well designed menus. It would be nice to see additional titles featuring more recipes in the near future. A sequel has already been released in Japan. Other sequels would benefit from being grouped by recipe genre, like Vegetarian, Italian or French cuisine. However, this title does the job and will turn a beginner into a cooking pro.
Brian’s Take: Priced under 20 bucks, Personal Trainer: Cooking costs less than your average cookbook making it a great value. Though only about half of the recipes seemed practical for day-to-day use in our household, the excellent presentation, timers, voiced instructions and hands-free operation all impressed me quite a bit. People living in places with access to Asian markets would benefit from this software more than others, provided of course that they are interested in cooking things like octopus salad.
+ Hands-Free Operation
+ Clear, Detailed & Spoken Instructions
+ Ingredient Substitution Reccomendations
- Heavily Asian Recipe List
Game Forward score: 4/5
Nathalie Caron > Game Forward
Personal Trainer: Cooking (NDS) Quick Facts:
Genre: Educational / Training
Release Date: November 24, 2008
Price: $19.99 US/CAN
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)