Restaurant Rush is a Match 3 PC game combined with a time management element. I am a big fan of casual time management games, but I am quite fond of Match 3 games after playing zoo keeper on the Nintendo DS.
Heidi is a successful burger chain owner who has just set up her own cooking school, but the top chef's decide she doesn't have enough experience for a cookery school. Heidi decides to open a variety of restaurants so that she can prove she can cook more than burgers - ok it's not a thrilling story but all these little games seem to have a plotline, no matter how flimsy!
The idea of Restaurant rush is you have to make up restaurant orders using the match 3 method. This is where you get a grid with different items, which can be switched with the items adjacent to them in order to make horizontal or vertical lines made up of at least 3 of the same item. A customer will come into your restaurant and request a meal, which will be made up of so many food items and you then need to make lines that make up the order for instance a Cesar Salad requires you to match 7 chickens and 9 lettuces. You can match other ingredients on the board, but they will not go towards your total unless a customer requests a meal with them in. Heidi will shout 'Order Ready!' when a complete meal is assembled, and you need to click on it to send it to the customer. The customer will then leave the money on the counter, which you need to collect otherwise you will not attract new customers. You need to ensure you complete the meal before the customer gets bored and leaves, and each level has a timer in the corner indicating how long each level has left which gets progressively longer as the game goes on.
There are lots of varied ingredients including cheese, wine, beef and fish and the Ingredients vary according to which restaurant you are in for that level. There are 5 different types of restaurant - American, Chinese, Italian, Mexican & French, and you start off with a few basic recipes for each one. You collect gold coins for every level you complete, getting more if you achieve expert score and random coins also appear on the board throughout each level. You can then use these to buy additional recipes, and the more complex recipes attract more money. You only use your 4 most expensive recipes so I tend to save up my coins so I can buy some bigger recipes as early as possible.
You can also use your coins to buy other upgrades. Each restaurant has a soup and drink machine which switches on after so many matches and can be added to a meal to boost its price and you can use coins to upgrade these machines so that they need less matches or bring in more money. You have the option to buy extra desserts or jukebox tracks which increase customer patience, or to upgrade ingredients so they boost the cost of the recipe they are used in. Coins are a very important aspect of the game and you can earn extra coins on each level but completing bonus challenges such as serving so many soups per level or having no angry customers. If you match 5 in a row you are rewarded with a till containing 2 bonus coins. You can also enter cooking competitions, which are speed versions of the main level where you have to make as many of a list of recipes as you can in one minute. I found they started off very easy but I found it impossible to get 1st place as you got further into the game.
There are 64 levels in the game which gives it quite a reasonable amount of game play - It kept me going for over a week. When you complete it you get told how successful Heidi's school went on to be, how rich she became and what sort of home she had - there are different levels to this and I have never managed to get the best ending first time playing, so you are encouraged to play it through again. You do get to keep all the recipes you bought earlier which made it a lot easier, and I got the best ending when I played it through a second time. Also when you complete the game you then get to play the Arcade Version, which is very similar to the competitions where you have to serve a set amount of meals in a minute - I am stuck on level 17 at the moment so I am not sure how many arcade levels there are.
I would definitely recommend Restaurant Rush - it is one of very few games I have not deleted upon completion as it is very easy to dip in and out of if you only have a spare 5 minutes. I have found matching the meals really addictive, and sometimes play different tactics to complete the game like upgrading the drinks and soup machines to the max rather than buying the more expensive recipes to see if I can get more expert scores... The idea is really simple and the game starts easy enough for even the most inexperienced gamer, and the different upgade options and restaurants should provide enough gameplay for a more experienced player.
I purchased Restaurant Rush through Big Fish Games when it was deal of the day for £2.40, but it is currently available for £5.39 to Big Fish members or £7.70 for non members. As it is one of the older games it is often reduced so worth keeping an eye out for an offer.
Heidi has graduated from Burger Rush, and now she's on a quest to become a world famous chef! Grease the skillet and prepare 50 international recipes like Filet Mignon, Dim Sum, Pizza Marinara and more! Visit the new Farmer's Market for fresh ingredients and use the jukebox to help customers like Supergeek feel right at home! Restaurant Rush combines innovative match-3 gameplay with time management strategy in 80 mouthwatering levels! Let's get cooking!