Written by  :  D Michael (232)
Written on  :  Oct 17, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful

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It's like a really good flash game

The Good

Diner Dash 2 spells the return of Flo, the waitress on a mission to serve up food and keep customers happy to generate revenue for failing restaurants.

While the gameplay is pretty much identical to the original Diner Dash, the story (if nothing more than a distant backdrop) is halfway plausible. "Mr. Big" (how unimaginative) is set to foreclose on the property of 4 different restaurants which he will then demolish to build his restaurant megaplex. The only thing stopping him is Flo, and that's if she can come in to rescue these restaurants by providing such outstanding service as to increase their revenue and provide the needed capital to pay their mortgages to Mr. Big.

One does not need to have experience with this franchise to jump right in. The tutorial level covers the basics in about 3 minutes time, and although you learn only the very basic mechanics of the game, this is enough to take you to the end should you decide to stick around that long.

The gameplay consists solely of the mouse and the left click button. No other buttons are used or needed. Your duties involve seating customers, taking their orders, bringing them their food, providing for refreshments in between at times, desert if applicable, taking payment, and then clearing tables of dirty dishes. Where things get hectic is when you have several tables all at different stages in their meal, and you're trying to juggle various tasks back and forth. If you take too long to deliver on a request, the customer happiness decreases thereby lowering the amount they will tip, and eventually if you neglect them long enough, they will run out leaving you a deficit for the benefit of having them enter your restaurant.

Once you gain a higher level of skill, you can more or less do each task for each table all at once. For example, you may have 5 tables and you have arranged it so that you can take all of the customers' orders at once, serve all of their food at once, clean off dirty dishes in one shot, etc. When you perform the same task over and over, you get a point multiplier which in the later stages of the game is absolutely required in order to advance. If you aren't "chaining" as it is called, no matter how happy your customers are you may not pass the level.

But this is not as easy as it sounds, because there are different customer types that operate differently. Business women tip the best, but order and eat fast and are not patient. Seniors on the other hand will wait for a very long time before becoming unhappy, but take long periods of time to eat and tip very little. Because different types of customers progress at different speeds, chaining can become a real challenge and timing is everything.

To further complicate matters, some customers will be unhappy if they are sitting next to another that makes them unhappy. For example, guys talking on cell phones will make people reading books angry. Babies crying annoys everyone but the cell phone guys and families, etc. So not only is chaining the key to high scores and completion of the game, but strategic seating is also. To add another strategic element into the fray, there is also the issue of colored seating. If you consistently seat people wearing certain color clothes into a matching colored seat, you'll receive another point multiplier. The later stages of the game demand seating people away from one another, while matching colors consistently, all the while timing it so that you can chain for enough points to go to the next level. Thankfully, the difficulty in the game progresses slowly enough so that once you reach this point, it's not as daunting as it might sound.

The Bad

This game is surprisingly fun for what it is, but it's barely a commercial product. This plays like a really well done flash game, but has enough quality and content to pass into commercial status by the skin of its teeth.

Diner Dash 2 is also very short. Having never played in the series before, I went from level 1 to level 50 (the final level) in about 6 hours worth of play time. That is hardly enough product to warrant a retail purchase. At the same time however, by the time it's over you'll likely have had enough. I know I couldn't have played it much longer than I did, so the story and fun factor end at the same time. This could be good depending on your disposition.

Lastly, this game isn't for everyone. For many it will feel like work. A waitressing simulation might have been a good idea, but I find it to certainly be a niche market. What's next, a mechanic game where you manage a lube shop doing oil changes? Hmm...

The Bottom Line

Diner Dash 2 is decent and enjoyable to an extent. It's simple but can require complicated strategies to play successfully (kind of like Tetris). If someone gives you this for free (was a second hand gift for me), give it a go. If you are chomping at the bit to play Diner Dash and think you'll love it with all of your heart, don't spend more than five bucks or so.