“ Manufacturer: Big Fish Games / Genre: Strategy - Prepare, cook, assemble and serve the delicious menu items from each TV-themed restaurant / System: Windows XP/Vista/7 / CPU: 2.0 GHz / RAM: 1280 MB / Hard Drive: 35 MB „
Cooking Dash: Dinertown Studios is a time management game released by Playfirst, and follows on in their popular Dash series of games - the most recognised being Diner Dash, but also including Garden Dash, Doggie Dash, Parking Dash plus many other sin offs without Dash in the title!
Flo, who you may recognise from Diner Dash, has been drafted in to help at her friend Darla's film studios where the lead actor is threatening to leave due to poor food in the staff restaurant. Flo takes over running the restaurant, and has to deal with a variety of different customers including the Star & Starlet, the business woman and the Director. All have varying degrees of patience Unlike Diner Dash, Flo is responsible for everything - seating customers, cooking food, delivering food, taking the money and clearing the plates, rather than just serving it, and the customers are lined up along the counter rather than on tables.
In the kitchen there are a grill and fryer, a drinks station, a burger maker, an ice cream maker and juice station, although you don't get all of these from the beginning. You also have Grandma in the centre making various dishes. Once you have seated your customer and they have chosen a meal you then have to rush around preparing their orders - things like drinks and ice creams can be prepared in advance and taken as needed, but hot food needs to be prepared as ordered and watched as they will burn if left alone for too long. You can also get an upgrade to get Cookie to help you prep food later in the game, which can be really useful if you time using him correctly.
I found Cooking Dash: Dinertown Studios really addictive. Time management games are a favourite of mine anyway, but this one held my interest through to completion without becoming too repetitive. I liked the way that new customers were staggered throughout the game, as were the upgrades between levels, so you couldn't buy the top upgrades until you were several levels in. I liked to try and get expert on all the levels (although there were a few that evaded me) and you can boost your points by chaining - doing the same action on different characters one after the other, or by seating the correct coloured customer in a matching coloured seat. There are 5 different restaurants each with 10 levels, so there is 50 in all so there is plenty of game play in the main stage - there is also an endless shift level where customers keep coming until you lose 5 customers. I found this really difficult even on the easiest level. This game kept me amused for a couple of weeks but I don't play that much.
I downloaded this game when it was the daily special for £2.30 on Big Fish Games, from its normal price of £7.70. It doesn't really offer anything new, and the graphics are nothing special but for the price paid I think it was well worth the money. It is one of the better casual time management games I have played, and I have since purchased the follow on to this - Cooking Dash: Thrills and Spills which I have just started and will report on soon.
Available from www.bigfishgames.com