You aren't likely to find a game like Cooking Mama anywhere but on the DS. In the same vein as titles such as WarioWare: Touched and Feel the Magic: XX/XY, Cooking Mama relies heavily on the unique inputs of the DS to provide a fun collection of cooking related minigames.
The premise is pretty simple; you'll prepare dishes by completing a handful of cooking minigames. These minigames vary heavily from recipe to recipe and can consist of anything from chopping vegetables to peeling shrimp. Successfully completing a dish earns you a ranking and usually unlocks a new recipe to attempt. A wide array of primarily Japanese and Americanized dishes are featured, such as hand-rolled tuna, stuffed peppers and miso soup.
Most of the minigames use the stylus intuitively and give you a sense that you're actually cooking, which can be a lot of fun. You'll end up repeating a lot of the same tasks in different recipes, but there are enough of them to give you new things to try at regular intervals. You will eventually however run out of new dishes to cook, and while entertaining, it's questionable whether or not you'll want to keep doing the same recipes over and over again.
Cooking Mama is bright and visually charming. The food looks real enough to be convincing and the good amount of visual feedback you get from your actions really serve to maintain the illusion of cooking. A cute and cartoonish art style combine with an upbeat soundtrack give the game a pleasantly light hearted feel.
If you're looking for something a bit different, and are into minigame compilations, Cooking Mama is definitely something you'll want to check out. Just keep in mind that while there are a lot of different things to do, this experience is definitely best enjoyed in short bursts. Cooking Mama simply doesn't have the lasting value to endure extended play sessions.