“ Manufacturer: Zoo Digital / Genre: Family & Entertainment „
About the Game
Released in 2007 by Zoo Publishing, Betty Boop's Double Shift is game for the Nintendo DS. The game is based around the adorable cartoon character Betty Boop and is a multitasking arcade style game.
On starting the game you have the choices of picking one of three profiles, which are game save slots. Once chosen you have the option to start a new career (or continue a career if you are returning to the game), play in multiplayer mode or run a tutorial on how to play.
Poor old Betty is fed up of living in the downtown suburbs and wants to become a film star and relocate, with her dog Bimbo, to the big bright city. To do this she needs to desperately earn some money and luckily her gramps owns a local Jazz club and offers her employment.
Unfortunately Betty's grandfather is a bit of a slave driver and has Betty working double shifts as a waitress and musician.
The first part of the shift is serving the customers.
Inside the Jazz club there are several tables with pairs of seated customers and gramps is tinkering tunes on the piano.
The customers raise hands when they want to be served. You must run to the table to take their order. The customer will order either candy or a milkshake. The customers order is represented by an icon above their table that depicts their choice. Once they have made their choice Betty must return to the drinks counter to prepare or fetch the customers order. The drinks counter has a candy dish, a milkshake maker. If the customer has ordered a milkshake then you must go to the milkshake maker and prepare it for them which can take approximately 5 seconds. The candy auto replenishes itself and can be collected immediately. The longer you take to serve a customer the more disgruntled they become. The customer's satisfaction level is represented by a heart gauge, which depletes the more upset they become. In addition to the increasing demands of the customers you also get requests from Gramps for music, which fortunately is satisfied by a single click on his piano!
Then a bop-boop-be-doop and the second shift has started!
The second shift involves poor Betty in a musical frenzy. In this stage of the game musical notes on a stave appear in the top screen of the console. Betty must then match the notes in the correct order by selecting them with the stylus on the lower screen. This must be completed against the clock to succeed.
For each happy customer and successful musical stint you are awarded cash.
After both shifts are complete, Betty is given a shift report which shows if the shift was successful; where enough cash has been earned to progress to the next shift.
As the shifts continue Betty can win power ups, such as a new sound system for the club to keep the customers calm. However, it's not all fun as Gramps has a great idea to make more money ... add more tables to the hall, and serve more customers.
I found that the game starts quite easily and the first few levels were a breeze to complete. The pace is quite slow and relaxed. its when the arrival of more chairs and customers arrive that I found the game started to get more difficult. The panic of serving all of the customer simultaneously caused my head to go into a spin. Customers left disgruntled, were served the wrong milkshakes and left without candy or music!
In multiplayer mode, you can compete against a single player by Wi-fi. You are given the option to host or join a game. In this mode, you go head to head with a human component and must complete a shift quicker than your competitor. I found this more fun than playing in single player mode as you can have a real challenge against a quick witted colleague.
The graphics are bright and colourful, as you would expect for a cartoon based game.
Betty's graphic represents the cartoon character well and overall the animation flows well throughout the levels. Even in the more busy levels there were no slowdowns or graphical glitches.
Sound and controls
The game predominantly has a jazz swing beat musical background. The tunes boast lots of tinkering piano solos and muted trumpet riffs. The music fits in well with the game and conjures up images of art deco ballrooms full of petite Charleston dancers! The sound effects are minimal with the odd grunt of dissatisfaction from the customers and a few clicks and pings from your kitchen machinery. Overall the sound is satisfactory though not really that important to Gameplay.
The game is controlled solely by using the stylus. The whole game is controlled by a sequence of clicks on Betty and the food counter. I found the control to be responsive and easy to play.
There are several games on the Nintendo DS of this genre, Cake Mania instantly springs to mind. There are no real reasons to choose this game over another within the same genre, unless you are a Betty Boop fan. That said, despite the licensed theme of Betty Boop this is actually put together quite well and Gameplay, although easy at the start, can be quite challenging as the game progresses to the harder shift levels.
If you are an organised and methodical person then this is a game for you. If however, like myself, you get frustrated by multitasking tasks and increasingly difficult repetitive Gameplay then I'd give this game a wide berth.
Additional details, Price & Availability
The game was available for £14.98 from www.amazon.co.uk at the date of writing (14th August 2008).
Copyright M Jones (Otalgia) 2008