Can you guess what happens in Diner Dash 5: Boom!? Diner Dash Flo indeed sees her diner go ka-boom! in Flo decides to provide a health conscious menu, so she posts a sign that says, “Fat-Free Breakfast.” Someone removes the “Fat-” on the the sign to show “Free Breakfast.” Naturally, when her diner opens, the whole town rushes in and destroys the diner. The nasty Mr. Big comes in and announces he has a standing contract with the city that any lot that goes unused for a week becomes his.

Hal, a contractor and huge Flo diner fan, offers to help her rebuild her diner within one week. While he gets to work, Flo goes from neighborhood to neighborhood running outdoor diners to help Hal with the rebuilding. As he progresses, he’ll ask you what design and color you want for the diner. The diner you customize will appear near the end of the game.

The game play remains the same in that you fill in as Flo. You’ll take orders, deliver the dishes, clean up, fulfill customer requests for special snacks and fix problems that pop up. You’ll met new customer types as well as some from past Diner Dashes. As usual, customer personalities can drive your strategy. Lawyers and working women have little patience, so you probably want to serve them first in a chain. One customer type takes his time. Librarians and bookworms like the quiet while the working men make a lot of noise talking on their cell phones.

Gain bonus points by matching customers’ colors with the seats and doing a bunch of the same activity in a row (chaining). For example, deliver the check to as many customers as possible ready to check out. The more you chain the same task, the higher your bonus.

For each level, you need to earn a minimum amount to advance. Those who like to challenge themselves can work toward the expert scores. After all, the more money you earn, the more you have for shopping for power ups before starting the next level. Power ups let you speed up activities whether it’s Flo getting around or Cookie cooking faster. But there’s one new type of power up — the kind that’s only good for one level, if you can afford it. You can hire Quinn of Wedding Dash to fill up the salad bar, get another set of hands for carrying things or a hostess to keep the people in line happy.

Oh, that’s right, we have the salad bar element. Sometimes diners choose to go to the salad bar instead of ordering from the menu. You need to drag the salad folks to the salad bar while ensuring the salad bar remains full. If one column of food is empty, the diners can’t move on.

Another new feature is Facebook. Diner Dash 5 can send your game updates to your Facebook page. You don’t have to use the Facebook feature. You can also win virtual gifts that you can give to a Facebook friend. While a cool feature, I didn’t know anyone who is a Diner Dash fan. If you send it to someone who doesn’t have Diner Dash 5, it’s useless.

One big improvement in Diner Dash 5 is that it’s easier. I could never get far in past games because they were very (yes, I am using this modifier) hard. This one, I did. Diner Dash pros — don’t fret… believe me, there are challenges in the game. This game does a great job of easing the challenge while retaining it for advanced players.

I still have problems with chaining at times. I’d be running all over, click, click, click only to find something failed and that failure can mean the difference between standard score and expert score. Plus, snacks break the chain. I don’t think that’s fair.

You get a lot of game value for the time. Once you play through the game, you can replay levels to reach expert scores. As of this time, only the Collector’s Edition is available and it requires a Big Fish Games Club Membership. The regular one — read: cheaper and no extras — will be available later. Extras include:

  • Advanced levels: Extra game play for those who love a good challenge.
  • Strategy guide: Walkthroughs to help you conquer levels and reach Expert scores.
  • Story comics: Review the story, which is divided into scenes. I wish it came with fast forward, previous and pause. The game plays the whole scene and repeats.
  • Wallpapers: Six screens for your background.
  • Screensaver: One animated screensaver, but it doesn’t let you preview how it looks.
  • “Flo Over Time”: Looks back to the history of Diner Dash.

The extras may or may not be worth it. You can get walkthroughs from forums around the web. You can review the story by going back to previous levels. I rarely change screensavers and wallpapers, so these had no value to me.

FTC disclosure: Review based on expired review copy received from publisher.

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3 responses to “PC Game Review: Diner Dash 5: Boom!”

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