Cooking Mama World: Outdoor Adventures is a step apart from the normal Cooking Mama games, as rather than preparing various culinary delights through a series of mini-games, you'll be making your way through an outdoors themed maze of hedgerows and trees, completing a variety of camping themed mini-games while you go.
Generally, the Cooking Mama series of games go down rather well with younger children, particularly girls, because of their simple to understand, touch-screen controlled mini-games - and this should be no different. While Cooking Mama World: Outdoor Adventures mixes this up a bit by adding maze-like levels you can wonder round, searching for treasure, avoiding stray animals, and working out the best way to get to Mama or Papa at the end, the mini-games are still present and correct - just this time they're themed more around camping than around cooking.
While the fact you have to wonder around a maze and find the mini-games for yourself might confuse kids used to the immediate mini-game-ness of the other Cooking Mama games, it actually seems to make it into more of an actual game, as now there's exploring to do. As with the previous Cooking Mama games, you do get a sentence or two talking you through what you need to do in the mini-game, but it's often not really necessary that your child fully understands it, as the mini-games are generally rather self-explanatory, with some that your child will likely familiar with, like pairs, or arrows that show you exactly what to do if not. Besides these little instructions, there's very little in the way of reading - about the same as the many other Cooking Mama games really, so if they can manage with those, then they'll likely be fine with this too.
As for controls, you can move your character around each of the mazes using either the stylus and Touch Screen, or by using the buttons on the DS - whichever one's easiest for your child to get to drips with - but you will need the stylus for the totally Touch Screen-based mini-games. Cooking Mama World: Outdoor Adventures also gets bonus points for not assuming you're going to be a girl, as it lets you choose whether you'd rather play as Mama's son, Ringo, or daughter, Ichigo at the beginning - you can also swap between the two whenever you feel like it by heading back to the camp site.
Although Cooking Mama World: Outdoor Adventures revolves around camping and the great outdoors, it's thoroughly family friendly stuff. There's no gore, swearing or violence whatsoever, and although you can catch fish in order to cook them, you don't actually have to kill them or anything yourself.
Cooking Mama World: Outdoor Adventures doesn't support the competitive download play mini-games that previous instalments have done, which is a bit of a shame. It does let you send a demo version to friends through, which lets them try out a couple of the mini-games for themselves - either 'Catch Fish' or 'Have A Barbeque'.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS