“ Genre: Simulation / Rating: E - (Everyone) / Published by: Majesco „
Cake Mania is a game where you're making cakes for customers in a bakery.
The customers come in and queue up and a thought bubble appears. You touch the customer / bubble to give them a menu then the thought bubble shows what cake they want. There are four different shapes of cake, which you bake in your oven, then there are also four colours of icing, which you choose on the icing machine. The customer selects a shape of cake and colour of icing. You press the relevant shape on the oven to bake the cake then pick it up and choose the colour of icing by touching the right colour on the icing machine. Once it's ready, you pick it up and give it to the customer, who pays the money and goes. Pick up the money and they're done.
The challenge is that each customer has some stars, which slowly disappear the longer they wait and, the less stars, the angrier / more impatient they are and the lower tips they give. As there are a whole queue of customers at a time, you need to try to coordinate your cake making to keep everyone happy.
It starts off relatively easy and the customers aren't too quick to get angry, then it gets harder as you get onto the higher levels.
The levels are all different months and in certain months, you get novelty cakes. For example, they have Valentines cakes (heart shaped), Easter cakes (egg shaped) and Christmas cakes (christmas tree shaped).
When you move onto a new level, you're given the option of buying new equipment with any extra money you made. You can buy up to 3 ovens and icing machines, which can then be upgraded, a display stand and there are two areas to buy to add decorations to your cakes. This includes little grannies (for the little grannies who shop there), wedding couples, strawberries, and more.
It's a really addictive game if you like this sort of thing. Very repetitive but challenging to try to keep everyone happy and meet your targets to progress through the game.
About the Game
Released in 2007 by publisher Majesco, Cake Mania is a cartoon style arcade game.
The background story of the game focuses on the main character Jill who bakes and serves cakes in her Grandparents restaurant. The game focuses heavily on the art of multitasking as Jill fights to keep customers satisfied and keep the finances rising (A very poor cake joke!).
On loading the cartridge the cartridge you are asked to create a player profile. The game allows three player profiles so the game can be shared amongst friends or family. The profile is entered via an onscreen keyboard.
Once you have created the profile you are presented with the main menu. From this menu you have six options -
Play - This option starts the game.
Select Player - This allows you to choose which player profile to use for the game.
High Scores - Shows the top 8 high scores and player names.
Options - Allows the adjustment of the music and sound volumes.
Credits - Displays a scrolling list of the game developer's names.
Game Select - This option is initially locked and allows selection of different game types once unlocked.
After choosing the Play option you have the option to start a new game or continue from a saved game. For the purpose of this review I will start a new game.
On starting a new game a cartoon is shown that sets the background for the game. Here we see brightly coloured cartoons of Jill reminiscing how lovely her grandparent's kitchen used to smell from the fresh aromas of baked cakes and explains that she was always a casual onlooker in their kitchen. The success of Jill's Grandparents bakery facilitated her attendance in culinary school. You then are told of the evil conglomerate MegaMart who has bought the land in the name of city development. The scene is set, Jill vows to her grandparents that she will win back their shop using her culinary skills!
With the scene set you enter Jill's first bakery, which is set in the kitchen of her house!
The kitchen has an oven with four shape buttons alongside. From here you can bake a cake of the size selected. You will also find in the kitchen a four colour icing machine, a place where you can place your cake and have it topped with the required colour. To the left of the kitchen, by the door is a long table which is where the customers come and purchase their cakes from. So with the story and scene set, let's get baking!
Typical Gameplay goes like this -
A customer turns up at your counter and requests a menu. After a few seconds deliberation the Customer has decided they would like a cake of a specific size and colour topping.
Desperate to please you point Jill at the oven and press the required cake shape to be baked (this takes about 4 seconds). Whilst this is happening another customer has arrived, so you rush to him to give him a menu. Whilst he is making his choice, your first cake has been baked so you quickly rush to the icing machine at the other side of the kitchen and select the required topping. Whilst this happening you then rush back to your second customer who has chosen the cake that he would like. You rush to the oven and start to bake the second customer's cake. Whilst this is baking you return to collect the first customers iced cake, give it to him and collect payment from the counter. This frantic multitasking continues as further customers arrive and you frantically rush to serve them. If you take too long then they will leave. Your queuing customer's patience can be acknowledged by pictures of them in the upper NDS screen. Each customer has 5 hearts that decrease as time passes. If the hearts all go, then so does the customer!
The whole game progress revolves around a financial cash reward, and the speedier your service the higher the cash level gained.
Cash is important as it allows you to further equip your kitchen and give you more capacity to produce more cakes faster. The most useful of the purchases is a platter that you can purchase and place mid kitchen. This is handy as it allows you to place a baked cake there temporarily, freeing up further use of the oven. It is also useful if you have baked a cake and then the customer leaves before you serve it to him. You can place the unwanted cake on the platter and this then has a chance of attracting a new customer that loves cake (and lets face it, we all do!).
So this manic multitasking and culinary dashing continues throughout the game. As you progress through new larger bakeries and more ovens and multi layered cakes the Gameplay is the same - serve, serve and serve.
The graphics are bright and colourful.
The scenery and characters are quite blobby with heavy bursts of solid colour, and this reminded me of some older Atari ST games, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Overall the colours are well suited to this kind of game and their vividness helps, especially as you need to distinctly pick out cake icing colours quickly.
Sound and controls
The sound is computer generated pop music, the kind that you would have expected during action scenes in 80's cop shows such as Miami Vice! The music is neither annoying, nor enthralling. The cake making pings of ovens and squishes of icing machines are clear and distinguishable. If the music does grate or annoy you its volume can be adjusted from the games option menu.
The game control is predominantly stylus driven. You click on the character and then click her destination and off she trundles. I did find that cake shape buttons on the oven and the colour shade buttons on the icing machine to be a little small and too close together in their groups. Because of this I had manufactured quite a few wrong shaped or wrongly iced cakes (more for me!). Despite this little annoyance, the game controls and responsiveness to touch were generally excellent.
As much as I'd like to like this game and would love to save Jill's Grandparents bakery I did find it extremely frustrating rather than enjoyable. The multitasking and logic of the player has a lot to do with this, and if you enjoy working under pressure then maybe this is a game for you! Despite the progressing storyline and the progression and development of your bakeries the Gameplay remains the same throughout. I personally got a bit tired of this and lost the will to proceed; by contrast my daughter loves this game and flies through the levels (or months as used in the game).
If you enjoy juggling fragile plates or building houses of cards on a shaking table then give this a try!
Additional details, Price & Availability
The game was available for £16.98 from www.amazon.co.uk at time of writing.
Copyright M Jones (Otalgia) 2008
Jill has returned from culinary school only to find her beloved grandparents' bakery closed down. Business has taken a drastic downturn because a new Mega-Mart store opened in the neighborhood. Help Jill upgrade her kitchen with state-of-the-art baking tools while serving her increasingly difficult customers so she can ultimately earn enough money to re-open her grandparents' shop!