Bernie the Bookworm loves to solve a mystery, but he thinks there’s nothing to detect in DinerTown. Flo comes along and proves him wrong. They may not have serious crimes like murder and high-priced robberies, but they have plenty of quirky things happening in this hidden object game (HOG) with a dash of puzzles. Bernie starts DinerTown Detective Agency and Diner Dash‘s Flo tags along to get out of the kitchen for a bit.
While the hidden object piece doesn’t introduce anything new, the game takes a different approach by treating each level as a single case. Bernie investigates a couple of scenes, collects clues and puts together puzzles. Upon completing a review of the scenes, Bernie completes several puzzles to eliminate suspects and then determine the culprit.
Bernie has 25 cases to solve spread throughout 20 DinerTown locations from the gym to the — where else? — diner. Fans of other PlayFirst games will recognize many of the characters, which adds to the charm. Not knowing the characters won’t affect the experience.
A new DinerTown Detective Agency case begins at the scene of the crime and nearby locations. For example, if the crime takes place in an office, Bernie looks around the break room and in an employee’s cubicle. Bernie looks around the store and its storeroom when the crime occurs in a store for items that appear on the list of things to find or a picture of an object where you must find all of its parts to to put together. Some items enter your inventory for use in the scene.
Every case also has an interactive feature such as dusting for fingerprints, using a magnifying glass to find tiny objects or squeezing an eyedropper to find evidence. There is no rhyme or reason for where you need to click — it’s purely a guessing game. It’s fun at first, but quickly turns old.
After completing the scene investigation, Bernie eliminates suspects in mini-games such as matching fingerprints or putting cards onto a grid where the columns and rows have a common theme. When down to three suspects, Bernie uses logic to identify the culprit. Each suspect has a Yes / No column and you check them off based on interviewing witnesses. Whichever suspect meets all three criteria identified earlier is the culprit. Case solved! Celebrate. Next case.
The familiar graphics live up to what you’ve come to expect from PlayFirst games like Wedding Dash, Diner Dash, Fitness Dash and many more. While a fun and cute game, it soon feels repetitive. The humor, funny cases and overall production will rein in Flo fans who like a good HOG or willing to try it with DinerTown Detective Agency.