Wedding Dash 4-Ever PC Game Review

The fourth Wedding Dash game opens with Quinn’s Mom coming home to help her wedding business and preparing for Quinn’s wedding to Joe. Uh oh. Mom doesn’t know that Quinn and Joe called off the wedding. Talk about a twist as most people probably expected this one to cover their wedding. Aside from a couple of tweaks — one of which affects strategy — the fun series remains entertaining albeit a couple of disappointments.

The premise remains the same. As Quinn and Flo, you seat the guests, serve them and prevent disasters earning enough points to beat the goal score to go on to the next level. For those who like the extra challenge, they can aim to beat the expert goal score. It doesn’t lead to bonuses or anything. Just motivates those who want to go the distance.

Another way to further challenge yourself is to change the game setting from Normal to Firecracker. You may play through the entire game in Normal and then switch to Firecracker. This ups the game’s replayability, but there’s no second game mode to be had. That’s neither a good nor bad thing. Other game modes don’t always attract players.

Wedding Dash 4-EverYou replay a level when you miss the goal score or you don’t find all of the hidden items. If you don’t get all the hidden items, you don’t get a gift to play Quinn’s Big Day. You must collect all 50 gifts from 50 levels to play the Big Day, which turns out to be a disappointment.

On one hand, it’s a good thing it’s just one game as some people may struggle to find all the hidden items or prefer not to play that part of the game. On the other, when the game is called Level 6-1, you’re thinking you have 10 levels of game play left. You don’t. It just ends. I’m not the only one thinking this because I searched the Internet thinking something broke in my game. It didn’t.

Wedding Dash 4-EverOne improvement is that you no longer have to read about the couple and their preferences, and then answer questions to get points. Instead, you look for items on the scene such as silverware, rings, tickets. When you find all the items, the newlyweds thank you with a gift of something to use in Quinn’s called-off wedding. It could be flowers, seating, decorations.

Another cool twist — and the one that changes strategy — is the bride and groom will ask to sit at a certain table or next to a guest. Once you seat them and feed them, you can send them back to the altar and ta-da! Room again for guests. It doesn’t sound like much, but it affects how you handle the game play.

Plus, when they ask to be seated again a second and third time, you’ll need to feed them the entree and cake. So it could mess with your chaining bonus. (A chaining bonus comes in when you do the same thing in a row and points increase. For example, feeding guests appetizers.)

Wedding Dash 4-EverNew in Wedding Dash 4-Ever is guest requests for photos with the wedding couple. The request comes after the guest finishes eating cake and prior to going out on the dance floor.

Also new are two mini-games. (See both in last two screen shots.) One mini-game involves seating guests at the wedding ceremony based on their preferences. The other is trying to get all the guests to join in the conga line. In leading the conga line, the next guest must be in a straight line from the current one and you must figure out the direction to go that gets you through all the guests to the newlyweds.

Upgrades to speed Flo and Quinn, have more servings of food available and more are also present. You earn the money in playing previous levels and mini-games. Quinn also has to deal with disasters such as the aunt who cries when she loses her dog, giving the microphone to a guest who wants to make a speech and so on. They keep you hopping.

Much of the game play remains the same save for a couple of twists. You also may not feel the need to read much about the couple since there’s no questions being asked. The story was average, but an unexpected one. Wedding Dash 4-Ever reeled me in like the previous ones, but did become tedious at times especially in the later levels when my hand was cramping from doing so much at once.

FTC disclosure  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evanssecured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans

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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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Hotel Dash Suite SuccessPlayfirst adds another dash game incorporating both Flo of Cooking Dash (and many, many others) and Quinn of Wedding Dash. Quinn sees going into the hotel business as a natural extension of her wedding planning business. Newlyweds need a honeymoon spot, so she finds a run down hotel and works to revamp it with Flo’s help.

Like a typical dash game, Hotel Dash: Suite Success includes five hotels with ten levels each in its story mode. Lots of upgrades, of course, are available so you can renovate the hotels and the rooms raising their star level from zero to three stars. You collect stars when customers leave the room happy. If the room has two stars, you get two stars every time a customer leaves. In other words, if occupy a two-star room twice, you’ll earn four stars that go toward decorating the VIP rooms that exist in every hotel. The opportunity to redecorate the VIP rooms comes at the end of a level.

Hotel Dash Suite SuccessTo pass a level, you need to reach the money goal for that level. If you reach the next higher score, you can earn expert. The game also rewards you with trophies, which you can upload to Playfirst to add to your account. A standard round consists of Flo delivering the baggage to the rooms, providing room service, dropping off extra towels or pillows, taking food to dogs and setting out the newspaper in the sitting area for impatient customers.

Guests come with single-color outfits. If you match them with the color on the door, you get bonus bucks.  To reach the guests rooms, everyone takes the elevators and Flo is first in line. She starts out carrying the suitcases herself, but she can upgrade to carts so she could eventually carry up to six bags in one set. It gets frenzied when you have Flo riding the elevator to get where she needs to go and sometimes she has to take two elevators. After a while, you become used to it and figure out the different customer preferences.

Hotel Dash: Suite Success customers have unique traits. One brings a dog, another brings six bags (!!), the honeymooners ask for pillows, the lumberjack-looking dudes always request room service twice, the celebrity whose bodyguards block the hallway and so on. Their tolerance for patience also varies. The professional woman has little patience while the bookworm has more patience. Clowns are very clumsy that Flo needs to be ready to come after them with a mop.

Hotel Dash Suite SuccessIn the midst of the frenzy, Quinn needs to put out fires just like she did in Wedding Dash. Someone tries to sabotage the hotel by turning off the electricity. Quinn has little to in the game, it would be nice if she could help more. We know she’s an strong gal who can handle herself.

Some people won’t feel challenged in Hotel Dash: Suite Success as it’s one of the easier games in the dash series. You can’t help but want to complete the story mode. Those who like endless mode will be challenged plenty. I never play those as they don’t sit well with my stomach, but expert players will appreciate the challenge.

The biggest irritation was the game crashing. I have a newish laptop with a good graphics card. Nonetheless, the graphics are worth it as they’re the same high quality cartoon style most of us love in Playfirst games. And of course, the story has humor and comes together nicely, for the most part.

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FCC Discalimer: Copy received from publisher. It has no bearing on the review.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans

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Despite the “3” in the name, Farm Frenzy 3 is the fourth game in the Farm Frenzy series. Farm Frenzy Pizza Party wasn’t worthy of a number despite its success. Anyhoo, Farm Frenzy 3 brings more of the same while adding international locations and heavy-duty graphics that slow down the game’s performance.

In the latest incarnation, you take care of animals, store the goods, produce other goods and sell them. Cows, chickens and ostriches make it back in this one as do the bears and dogs. This one adds llamas, yaks, penguins and walruses. The international part comes in when Scarlett travels to Africa and other faraway locations to help with the farms as a step toward her goal of becoming president of the farmers union.

Scarlett has different goals to meet for every level. The goal could be earning a set amount of cash, collecting X amount of products or making X amount of products. Sometimes you have one goal and sometimes four. Anything goes.

Farm Frenzy 3She also has to buy and upgrade equipment for managing her farm including transportation, product making machines and defenses like cages to trap the bears. Many of the levels require you have certain upgrades before you can play them, so you’ll have to play other levels or replay them until you collect enough cash to upgrade.

The strategy and planning aspect of Farm Frenzy 3 remains one of its strengths. You can’t always play the next level and you’ll have to experiment with different strategies to earn the gold or silver star. This approach prevents boredom and predictability while boosting replayability.

One of the flaws in the game is the graphics. Oh, they’re gorgeous, but too much for the game’s performance. When clicking bears to cage them, the game jerks and the graphics flake. This happens too often. I’ll take performance over graphics every time.

Farm Frenzy 3Farm Frenzy 3 has a couple of strange features. For one, the dogs that keep the bears away from the animals now roll off the screen with the bears. I like that the bear gets out of my way instead of just stands there while the dog barks. But the way the dog rolls off freaks you out. The other problem is the African farmer who looks like an inappropriate stereotype. I appreciate the developers try to reflect the African culture — but it’s not the best representation of Africans.

Despite the performance issues, Farm Frenzy 3 keeps you hopping and never bores. The game comes with 95 levels, 30 animals of which 5 are the enemies, and 33 products to produce. Because of its diversity in game play, animals and scenes, you’re more willing to try reaching for the gold though it means replaying levels many times.

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Wedding DashLove. Quirky family members. Wedding crashers. Beautiful brides. Bridezillas. Groom kongs. Who doesn’t love a wedding even with all of its craziness? Quinn returns in Wedding Dash: Ready, Aim, Love! for a third helping as a wedding planner who happily serves her clients in this blissful (most of the time) time management series.

She is planning the biggest wedding of her life — her own to Joe, the photographer. One hitch: he doesn’t know about it! An opening came up in a hot spot and it was either grab it in six weeks or wait years. She asks cupid for help, but he has a backlog of his own. If she helps him through his backlog, he’ll help her with her situation.

Like the previous games, your job is to seat guests and keep them happy or else face Bridezilla and Groom Kong. Of course, Quinn has a few tricks for managing manage guests when the food doesn’t get to them fast enough. She has cocktail tables and bells that bring out the cherubs.

She holds weddings in interesting locales beginning with an aquarium followed by a barn and two others. The game receives a few new features to make it the best one in the series. The cherubs can add one or two hands in helping Flo carry food and gifts, but they’re upgrades.

Wedding DashBefore you start the reception, you have to figure out what the couple wants. In the past, you picked the three things that best meets their requests. in Wedding Dash: Ready, Aim, Love!, you also have to watch the budget and it’s possible to have several right answers. This is more enjoyable although it turns challenging in the later levels.

Guests may request champagne, the microphone to share a special message to the new couple, a song request or seating change. These give you bonus opportunities as well as chaining (doing the same actions in a row). Of course, Quinn has to deal with disasters ranging from over-celebrating bridesmaids and birds at the table to falling gifts and a missing dog.

The guests have personality traits to vary the pace. Some eat fast, others eat slow, one eats two of every course and one forgets to eat. While all of this sounds overwhelming, the game introduces new guests and features over time rather than all at once. The challenge level also slowly works from easy to tough.

Every venue comes with one cupid mini-game. Cute, but kind of pointless except to earn more coin. Cupid needs to shoot one man and one woman to match the given couple. Not only do you control the location of the arrow, but the strength of the shot.

Wedding DashAs expected of Dash games, the game tells a great and fun story without overloading or confusing you. Two modes come in this one: adventure and endless. Wedding Dash: Ready, Aim, Love! has the honor of being my favorite of the Dash series. Diner Dash is simply too hard and the customers are bland compared to Wedding Dash’s.

PlayFirst knows how to put on a great wedding and succeeds again with Wedding Dash: Ready, Aim, Love!

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  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans

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Fitness DashBefore digging in Fitness Dash, beware that playing the game does not substitute for exercise! Maybe it’ll motivate you to exercise when you take a break as you’re Jo, who is friends with Flo of Diner Dash and Quinn of Wedding Dash. So Dash fans will recognize a few characters including Uncle Ernie, brides and Aunt Ethel.

Fitness Dash is exactly what you expect if you’ve played any Dash game. Except replace the theme with the gym. Jo frantically runs around passing out towels, handing out water bottles, putting the lazy folks on machines instead of them walking over themselves and dragging them into the shower (I suppose they’re too pooped to do it alone).

The machines change up from treadmills and bench presses to rowing machines and ellipticals. Machines provide cardio (treadmill), strength training (ab cruncher) or both (skiing machine). Clients let you know what kind of exercise they want and how much. For instance, the body builder wants three rounds of strength training and the career woman usually wants both types.

Fitness DashJo works with her clients for 10 rounds to help them prepare for a game of tug-o-war, the only original part of the game and a creative one at that. It’s a match three-style game except you must match at least FOUR connecting tiles and you can click the tiles to change the color. The bigger the match, the more your team pulls the rope. Too slow and your opponents will have the stronger pull. The whole war takes place below the matching grid, but who has time to watch it when you’re working to get those matches made?

Story and endless modes are available — no surprise. However, endless mode provides two options: gym and tug-o-war. In gym mode, you simply just keep the customers happy for as long as you can without losing five of them. Tug-o-war is one endless stream of matching where you level up every time you clear the screen. Endless mode comes with easy, medium and hard levels.

Disasters also appear in Fitness Dash where Jo needs to fix the TV, shoo away the ice cream truck guy or fix broken machines. Healthy muffins and water bottles earn you happiness points — these are the kind of things you give to customers without them asking for it. It’s possible to play a few different locations without using the water machine and still reach expert status. But the game does get harder and frantic by the fourth locale.

Shopping for upgrades is still there even for endless mode. You can stop to shop whenever you want (and have enough cash) in endless. The game doesn’t stop for you.

The game went a little berserk when things were happening fast. Picking up a client to carry to the shower didn’t go as smoothly. Selecting water and towels on their machines didn’t always take.

Fitness DashThough the Fitness Dash sticks to the reliable Dash formula, it has enough going on with its theme that it can addict fans (me, included — even my surgery-healed thumb hurt from playing the fast levels). Playfirst has an unbeatable formula in its Dash games and produces a decent spin-off. Playing the free trial will give you an idea of the game play to see if you like the theme enough to make the buy.

Download the game from Big Fish Games.

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Diaper DashI’ve been wondering what the next Dash series would be as PlayFirst enjoys a hit almost every time it releases a Dash. The good news: We have our answer: Diaper Dash. The bad news: This time management game doesn’t measure up to the other and more successful Dashes.

You’re not a baby sitter, nanny or caretaker. Instead, your Wilson, a scientist and inventor. He lost his job (read: fired) with an evil corporation. Wilson meets with Flo who gives him the idea to invent child-safe machines.

He opens a daycare in his sister’s basement and starts working on inventions to make his job easier beginning with Cleanatron, which cleans baby messes.

Like most Dashes, you’ll move around after spending 10 levels in a location. Every building contains a waiting area in the form of a playpen, high chair for feeding, cribs for sleeping, changing station for well… you know, and play area. Instead of customers of all kinds, you have babies with different needs and temperaments. One baby has a voracious appetite and another needs many diaper changes.

Diaper DashLike Diner Dash, you earn bonus points for matching the baby’s gender with the station. The baby’s current need pops up in a pink or blue colored bubble to indicate gender. If a baby needs to eat, you earn extra points by putting the boys in the blue chair and the girls in the pink chair. You can also earn more for swaps. Swap a girl baby in a crib with another girl baby needing a nap.

Not only do you move to new locations, but also get upgrades and new inventions such as a toy dispenser that spouts teddy bears to cheer up a sad baby and a storybook reader who reads stories to babies in the playpen waiting area. For each level, you want to reach the minimum cash goal and try to go for the expert cash goal. Fail to meet the goal and you replay the level.

As expected, the game has two modes: Career and Endless Day. Career tells the story and takes you from building to building in 50 levels. Endless Day comes with three levels (easy, medium and hard) and you play until five babies become unhappy. As you play Endless, you’ll receive upgrades. It gets crazy and makes a gal panicky — that’s why I don’t like Endless mode.

Diaper DashDiaper Dash starts slow and proceeds at a decent pace, but this one — story and game — doesn’t grip me as much as the other games. It feels repetitive and contains no surprises aside from the inventions. Still, the graphics remain top-notch of Dash games and Wilson is a likable guy.

If you want to take care of virtual babies, Daycare Nightmare is a better option since it adds a twist. If you want to check out a good Dash, go for Diner Dash, Cooking Dash or Wedding Dash.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans

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Daycare Nightmare Mini-MonstersDaycare Nightmare: Mini-Monsters puts me in Halloween spirit in an instant — not the candy corn or my son’s carved pumpkin. This time management sequel to Daycare Nightmare surpasses its original, but doesn’t take the game to the next level.

Molly returns as the manager of the monstrous daycare where she cares for mini-monsters of every kind. Monster families know and trust her now after their experience with her in the original game. However, the monster families still don’t trust humans especially with the Bureau of Out of Ordinary Operation (B.O.O.O.) agents on their tails.

Monsters now have the ability to wear human disguises to help them blend better with the human occupied suburbs. Not only does Molly need to deal with the B.O.O.O., but also Tut and an informant known as Deep Change. These three enemies force her to move to several locales while Tut hampers Molly’s efforts to build the daycare center.

She takes care of four new monster babies including witches, werewolves, monkeys and mummies. She also takes on human agent babies whose parents obviously work B.O.O.O. agents.

Molly works as hard like any other daycare worker, but has to deal with a consequence few do. These monsters come with the ability to mess things up big time if she doesn’t keep them happy.

Daycare Nightmare Mini-MonstersAgent babies drive down the happiness meter, witches move babies to new locations, werewolves scare babies that they change their current needs to confuse Molly, and monkeys turn her into a dizzy person as they shake the room. The mummies are the worst as they put a curse on her to make it impossible for her to pick up any babies.

This means players need to decide which monster to help first when the babies need something at the same time. Which is worse? The mummy’s curse or the witch’s transporting babies?

Molly can upgrade furniture from Melinda’s store, but it hardly feels worth it. It takes a lot of money to upgrade and I lost my upgrades a couple of times. Not sure why.

Daycare Nightmare: Mini-Monsters doesn’t add much as a sequel. In fact, it would’ve been better if this game came out as the original. It brings new babies and easier control of Molly, although it still has a few control quirks as I find myself holding the same baby or no baby at times when I think I switched them. At least, chaining works better than the original.

The difficulty level works great. It adapts to my play and slowly grows more difficult. By the last daycare center, I’m frenzied. Most time management games reach a frenzied pace too soon, but not Daycare Nightmare: Mini-Monsters — it’s its one perfect feature.

The game’s promotional materials indicate it comes with two modes, but I can’t find the endless mode known as One Hectic Day.

Daycare Nightmare Mini-MonstersThe game is too easy as I never lose a level, but it could make a great game for families with younger kids. If you didn’t play the original, try this one instead. If you have played the original, then don’t expect much — just more of the same. It may not be worth paying full price for another similar game with only new monsters. Daycare Nightmare: Mini-Monsters should’ve been a free upgrade for owners of the original.

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PC Game Review: Cooking Dash

Cooking DashWhile I’ve admired the Diner Dash series, I never could get through them as they’re hard. Plus, I always thought the customers look out of place with Flo’s cool cartoon style. The developers behind Flo take a different approach with Cooking Dash and I enjoy it more than the Diner Dash series.

The customers finally receive an upgrade and match the rest of the game and Flo’s style. The characters also get a face lift with subtle animation. No more taking orders and putting the tickets on the diner order spinner thingy (blanking on name).

Flo helps out at five restaurants while Cookie goes off to be a start in yet another chef slash cooking reality show. Grandma makes two dishes while Flo seats folks, runs around to pick up food, throw food that needs cooking on the grill, serve the food, and pick up the dishes.

Each restaurant has a different theme and food to keep things interesting. The grills, ice cream machines, desserts, and Grandma’s station appear in the same place each time. But it becomes tricky when you have to figure out what the customer wants from the grill as the grilled food doesn’t look the same as the uncooked food.

Grandma makes sandwiches, sushi, salads, and pizza. American (three different types of diners), Italian, and Japanese food are covered. The last restaurant takes place on a TV stage complete with an audience that cheers when Flo makes great moves. I love this — it’s exciting and different. Who doesn’t love an applause?

You get a feel for the customers — those who order slow vs. fast, eat slow vs. fast, lose patience slow vs. fast. Other than that, they don’t have much personality. Some diner-style game customers have great personality while others are bland. This falls in between.

Cooking DashNo mini-games in Cooking Dash. Although, the game comes with a Story Mode and Endless Mode. They are as you would expect. Story mode tells what’s going on with Cookie’s show and why Flo moves from restaurant to restaurant. Endless mode just repeats everything for as long as you can. Five stars appear on top of the screen. As long as you have one star, you keep on going. Once the last star disappears, end of game.

Customers sit at the counter instead of tables, another nice change of pace from the Diner series’ tables. Two grills sit on both sides of the kitchen. Often times, customers would order one item from each side. Occasionally, they’ll order just one item. In one restaurant, the left grill contains French fries, onion wings, and wings. The other side contains fish, shrimp, and lobster.

I’m so grateful the game takes care of matching dishes for me. For example, I have one customer requesting rice and kebabs while another wants soy beans and octopus. Sometimes, I mix up the two items, but no matter — Flo gets it right. The only time it goes wrong if you put together something no one orders. That’s when it turns crazy — when you have lots of grill requests.

A customer ordering fish and chips sends Flo off to the left side to throw the fries in the fryer and the right side to toss the fish on the grill. A green indicator lets you know it’s cooking and when it comes full circle and blinks, the dish is ready. Wait too long and the food overcooks, but you can still serve it — just no bonus points for perfectly cooked food. Sometimes you’ll have to add condiments to the dish.

Upgrades appear between levels with them falling into two groups: looks and function. The looks change the counter, floor, windows, and so on. While function speeds Flo and Grandma, adds a coffeemaker and jukebox, and faster stoves. I have no problem buying all of the upgrades at least two levels before reaching the end of the round.

Cooking DashChaining remains important as in the other Dash games. They can make or break the goal level. Also, customers have different colored clothes. When you match the clothes to the chairs, you gain bonus points. You can even get 3x, 4x, etc. if you keep putting the same colored customer on the like chair.

It doesn’t take me long to get through 50 levels. I have to replay a few several times before I can pass it. Those who can conquer Diner games will find this too easy. Those who are tired of the difficulty level (me) in the Diner games will appreciate this one. Cooking Dash takes a different approach from the Diner Dash series and it works well.

Download Cooking Dash from Big Fish Games.

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Meryl Evans

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Cake Mania 3It feels like the original Cake Mania came out years ago because it’s one of the first casual games I reviewed. Here comes Jill Evans (no relation to me) again in Cake Mania 3 — this time as a bride trying to prepare for her wedding. Nothing can go wrong. Yeah, right. A time bender appears on the scene falling to the ground and shatters. The family picks up the pieces and disappears.

The disappearance mystifies Jill who sees one piece left. As soon as her fiancé, Jack, comes to the door — she grabs the piece and goes >poof<. She arrives in limbo where she faces five doors with a relative lost behind each one. Here’s the exciting part: we get to pick the door for her to enter. Unlike many time management games, this one doesn’t follow a linear pattern.

Not only does she visit five places, but five different times and cultures: Egypt, China, England, France, and the Stone Age. Well, one more place, but I’m not in the business of spoiling things. Anyway, the customers’ dress also reflect the locale and some not (more on that later). She needs to bake cakes to raise money so she can free her relatives from wherever they have landed.

This one will be tough to get help on because with six locations going in any order can create 350 possible level combinations. So unlike other dash games, you can’t ask for help with level such ‘n such because it won’t be the same for all. This isn’t good for me now because I’m stuck in the third locale and have played it until my mouse arm went numb. It takes me longer and longer to conquer each level.

You could be cooking in France and see characters from Egypt appear. What’s up with that? Well, the time bender doesn’t work right. The cut scenes also differ from most games. Most games use comic strips to tell the story. Cake Mania 3 goes further with its animated scenes and talking characters complete with lip movements.

Cake Mania 3Of course, upgrades figure in the game except this time you can customize the kitchen a little. You can’t move everything at will, but you can make some changes. You can change Jill’s outfits, but I prefer to have her wear the current period’s costume. You can dress her back up as Marie Antoinette while in ye olde England.

Some of you might like mini-games and others tired of it. Cake Mania 3 gives you a choice to play ’em or skip ’em. Or play them later. One thing that bugs me is that you can’t replay a previous level in an attempt to reach expert level. You’d have to start over. No thanks.

Every period has a troublemaker. In England, Robin Hood will steal Jill’s hard-earned money if you don’t pick it up fast enough. In France, Napoleon won’t let anyone else be served until he’s served. In Egypt, Anubis turns other customers into mummies AND changes their orders if you make him unhappy. I do that too often.

Also, every period has its own special feature. France has a colorful button on the froster that lets you remove frosting. England has a crystal ball you can use once per level to see what the customer wants to order without having to provide a menu.

New feature Sugar Rush makes everything instant. Push a button to make a cake and it’s there. Put the cake on the froster and it’s done. Make tea or coffee — done. All these features require figuring out strategies and adapting as you go. Sugar Rush can start anytime based on your progress (a progress bar displays on top to give you a heads up).

Cake Mania 3The mini-games don’t excite. Not spectacular. In one, make a cake that looks exactly like the cake on display. In another, assemble a cake order from cakes that flow down the conveyor belt. Also, several bonuses sit at the bottom of the screen like lightning feet to make Jill move faster. It’s not clear how these bonuses work.

Cake Mania 3 brings a fresh eye to the Cake Mania enterprise that we haven’t seen in many time management games. The game starts slow, but give it time especially until you can upgrade Jill’s shoes. It’s worth the wait. After all, you need to eat your veggies before you get the dessert.

Download Cake Mania 3.

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