All of us have played a time waster game at some point in our lives. Maybe it was Tetris on the Gameboy or perhaps more recently Peggle on your iPhone. One thing for certain is that even the most core of gamers love a bit of light-hearted high score based gaming in between bouts of Modern Warfare 2 or any other hit game you’d like to mention. Diner Dash has been a huge success since its release in 2003 as a simple PC flash game and can now be found on more than 12 different platforms. If you thought you could escape Flo and her restaurant madness on your next gen console then you were wrong. Diner Dash has hit the Xbox Live Arcade in mountains of HD goodness.
So if you happen to be one of the twelve or so people that haven’t played Diner Dash before let me explain the rules. You take control of a cute redhead called Flo who has decided to open up a restaurant business after getting bored of her normal 9-5 day job. If you’ve seen any of the copious amounts reality shows set in restaurants you’d probably know that working in a catering establishment is horrible, let alone running one. I can’t imagine Flo being happy with this career change in the long run, I know I wouldn’t be.
Your role is to control the entire restaurant’s activities from seeing customers in to clearing up their plates when they leave. Here is how the cycle goes: Your first job is to seat a customer when they walk through the door, after they peruse the menu and decide what they want you then need to take their order and deliver it to the chef. After a few moments he has prepared the food and you are required to collect it from the counter and take it to the customer. When they’re done your next chores are to supply them with their bill, collect the money and clear away their dirty crockery to the washing bin.
That’s the basic premise but once your restaurant starts getting busy with customers arriving at any moment you will find keeping up with the orders a real horror, you’re the only waitress and if you don’t keep the customers happy at every stage of their stay then the heart meters above their head will decrease. When all the hearts disappear so do the customers and a shed load of your points. Your woes can easily worsen with just one mistake such as putting a party of two on a six seater table and then not having enough room when a party of five or six arrive shortly after. What happens if you’re carrying a dirty plate and a fresh order to the washing bin? Yes you got it; the fresh food goes in the washing bin along with the dirty plate requiring the chef to remake that order which can add a significant delay to the customer. All of this and more will drive you insane with fury but Diner Dash is so addictive that you’ll want to keep playing.
Beating a level (unless you are on the endless time mode) requires you to reach a set number of points before closing time. Almost every task you complete gives you points but sadly you’ll need to put in extra effort to achieve an expert rating. This means matching the colour of a customer’s clothes to a particular chair to get bonus points as well as performing multiple chains. Chains require you to perform the same task multiple times in a row for an increasing multiplier score but as soon as you switch chores the multiplier resets to zero. Things are getting a bit tough and so you are given a little bit of help in the form of additions to your restaurant. Such additions include a drinks machine which can help satisfy customers waiting to receive their food and a podium which will let you recharge the heart meter of people waiting for a seat in your restaurant. The downside is that serving drinks and standing at the podium saps time you could be spending serving the customers already seated.
If you get stuck trying to make a success of Flo’s 4 restaurants then maybe you’ll want to attempt to play Diner Dash with friends. You can play a locally on the same console or head online and play a seriously hard head to head match with up to 8 players. Lots of fun can be had here and best of all many of the achievements are earned in multiplayer mode which makes this typical single player game a new multiplayer experience.
Diner Dash for Xbox 360 Arcade is a basic yet addictive casual title. Costing just 800 points means it’s a bargain too. The 1080p visuals are bright and colourful if a little bland and repetitive here and there but are crisp and smooth enough to do the job. There’s nothing to shout about when it comes to music and sounds but sadly you’ll need to keep the in game sound turned up to hear the audio cues, if your favourite CD on you’ll easily miss the sighs, grumbles and groans of the baying mob in your restaurant. The simple and intuitive one button control scheme means almost anyone can play and enjoy Diner Dash as much as I did.
There is really nothing to complain about here apart from this being a game you may have played several times before. If you’re new to the series or want some online Diner Dash action and some tough yet rewarding achievements to unlock then Diner Dash scores a nifty 7 out of 10.
Get Diner Dash now
New: Buy Diner Dash from Amazon.com