Yeah, yeah… this game has been out for a while. Having played the preview, I didn’t play it again since I moved on to other games that needed reviews. Flo is so popular that she hardly needs reviews for attention, but when I play something — I review it. Flo doesn’t disappoint as Diner Dash: Hometown Hero (DDHH) adds new buildings, twists, and features to keep the series from becoming more of the same.
But I also wonder why some things don’t get better with the newer releases. The customers still come in crudely drawn monochrome (by today’s standards) colors — blue, green, brown. Wedding Dash proved it’s possible to create interesting looking customers without looking like stick figures.
Diner Dash games continue to be the hardest ones to play in its genre and it doesn’t stop here. I don’t get very far before they have me banging my head on my desk. I can’t be that lousy of a player at these games since I manage to get through other tough diner games including Turbo Pizza — an insane one.
Flo returns to her hometown to find it in near ruins, so she and Grandma help at the restaurants to try to drive up attendance at a variety of locations. She starts working at the zoo and makes her way to the ballpark, museum, and amusement park. Customers also don’t always order, eat, and tip since some order more food.
Beware the game comes in two different versions for PCs. Diner Dash: Hometown Hero Gourmet Edition, which comes with online multiplayer mode, new restaurants for purchasing, and other features that require connecting to the Playfirst server. The Mac version only comes with the basics — no connections or extras.
This game is the first to have meta-transactions where you can purchase more diners, waiters, and restaurants from the boutique. A restaurant costs $4.99 in real-life bucks. Items like clothing, accessories, and décor mostly cost less than a buck. Unfortunately, it requires having the Gourmet Edition to take advantage of these features.
Online multiplayer mode lets players compete against one other player by racing around taking orders, picking up tips, putting away dishes, and all that. Or for those jumpy about competition, try cooperative mode where both of you work together instead of against each other.
Flo also gets an assistant who is more of a pain than helpful. You can’t help but feel like you’re racing against the assistant. Plus, you don’t know what the assistant will do that you start to head to a table only to have the assistant beat you there.
As usual, players earn bonuses by chaining, seating customers by color, keeping customers happy, and placing customers at the right tables so they stay far away from customers at nearby tables who like to chat on the phone or having crying babies.
I’m not into changing outfits, but many others enjoy the feature and this one comes with plenty of new outfits. As you progress in the game, you get to choose the style for upgrading the counters, floors, tables, walls, plants, and so on. However, sometimes the game might only provide two choices instead of three if you don’t reach the Expert score.
If you haven’t played other versions, it’s not necessary to play those before this fourth release. Those who buy the regular edition will feel like the game hasn’t changed much other than new locations, different story, and taking care of customers with reservations. Though most of the new features come in the Gourmet Edition, the regular edition keeps the Flo franchise going strong.
- Windows Vista, XP, 2000
- Pentium III 700 MHz or faster processor
- 128 MB RAM
- 800 x 600 minimum screen resolution
- DirectX 7.0 or later
- 30 MB available hard disk space
- Internet connection required for Together features (multiplayer, sharing content – PC only)
- Mac OS X 10.4 or newer
- G4 800 MHz or newer processor
- RAM: 128 MB
- Minimum Screen Resolution: 800×600
- Hard Drive Space: 50 MB