After Diner Dash 4: Hometown Hero, I was unsure how they could top it. After all, Playfirst reduced their chances of people buying a sequel because they’d introduced the mini-transaction element to Diner Dash 4, enabling people to buy new restaurants, outfits for the characters and so on.
Therefore, this time they’ve gone down a slightly different route. The action still takes place in the food service world, but this time, instead of simply delivering it to the tables – Flo is cooking it too! The catastrophe begins when Cookie the Chef (no, really) leaves Flo’s Diner, tempted by fame and fortune, and seeing his name in lights.
Flo must pick up the slack and muddle through as best she can. Trouble is, Cookie appears to want to share his fame around, and he invites more and more chefs from DinerTown to star on his TV show. Which is great for them, of course, but not so hot for Flo. She and grandma must keep five restaurants afloat, and hundreds of customers happy.
As you progress through the first four restaurants (I’m keeping the fifth one a secret, so I don’t spoil your surprise); Flo’s Diner, Darla’s Café, Tony’s Ristorante and Toshiro’s Japanese Grill, you’ll see many similarities to the Diner Dash series. The action is basically point and click, as it’s always been, but it’s more difficult. Whereas before, you just had to do the taking of orders and delivery of prepared meals, now you’re having to do all of that, plus cooking it.
It isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve got to grab your ingredients, put them either in a fryer, or on a grill, dependent on the type of food (and the cooking methods vary as you progress through the restaurants). You then have to wait for it to cook, all the while keeping your customers happy and taking and delivering other orders. But, alas, if you forget about the food that’s on the grill, you’re in trouble – because as in real life, food burns! You have a period of time to grab the food and plate it up before it starts to burn. You get bonus points for serving the food in that ‘safe’ period – a ‘Perfect Cooking’ bonus. I’d never get that in real life.
Sometimes people will require dessert too, which is great for your score, but not so great for the customers waiting in the queue, who are going to be getting more and more irate. You do have the opportunity to purchase a radio to keep the punters in line happy, but as you watch them reaching the end of their tether, you’ll start panicking yourself… and that’s when you’ll come unstuck.
Overall, I think this is a great title. It’s different enough from the Diner Dash titles to feel fresh, and yet similar enough to appeal to the same people. For those that consider themselves to be hardened casual gamers, and are finding other titles too easy, I think you’ll find yourself presented with a challenge in Cooking Dash. There are so many different elements to it that it takes a lot of practice to get your brain and clicking finger working in unison to get those customers fed. But if you’re a fan of these types of game, I urge you to try!