Dec 31, 2009

Diner Dash 2

Diner Dash 2 from Glu Mobile is part of the new "time management games" category with the original Diner Dash making its debut on the PC in 2003. Ok, so maybe it's not so new. In this type of game you are managing customers and resources and their needs. More specifically in Diner Dash 2 you're managing customers, tables (with varying seating capacities), and things like whether they are in a hurry or need a high chair. Whereas there are other variations of this kind of game where you manage spas, grocery stores, farms, airports ...etc.

The interesting thing about these games is that they're quite addictive. In pondering why that is I suspect it's because they're easy enough to achieve success with, but hard enough to bring out that competitor in each of us. In Diner Dash 2 each level has pretty basic requirements to pass it, but pretty strict requirements to ace it so we end up competing with ourselves to get all the gold stars.

Ok, so what exactly is going on here? First, there's a tutorial to get you started and the game holds your hand pretty much every step of the way as new features are brought into play. On each level you're serving customers at your diner and your goal is to have the most satisfied clientele. Customer arrivals are shown on the left along with their party size. If you keep them waiting they get angry as shown on the meter. Angry customers score fewer points. You'll then assign them to tables, take their orders, deliver their orders, collect money, and clean up their tables. The trick is that not every customer acts like every other customer. The party of 4 with kids may take longer to order despite arriving before the couple that just saw a movie and is hungry (no, you don't know that they saw a movie in the game) so you're having to manage your time the best.

Next, you get bonus points for efficiency which means things like delivering two meals at the same time (versus taking two trips to the counter to pick up each meal). And then there are the extras. Things like high chairs needed by families or the mop to clean up a messy table. The game advances at a smooth rate so it always seems to be adding something new.

One problem I had with the game was when my waitress would become unresponsive to my commands. It took me a while to figure out what was wrong, but here's what I learned. If I tap on a customer and there's no available table for them they stay selected until I tap them again to unselect. That made little sense to me given that it was obvious I didn't have seating capacity and the usual 'choose a table' selector did not appear. Nonetheless, I initially thought that was a bug, but it turned out to be operator error.

One thing that's nice about this kind of game is that anyone can play it and enjoy it. It's a well done port of a game that has stood the test of time and remained popular despite being almost 7 years old. And it's one of few choices Android owners have for this style of game... fortunately it's a quality port. So if you like these kinds of games or are looking for something new it's a good bet that this game will serve up hours of entertainment.

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