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iPhone Game Review: Cooking Dash
      #34963 - 10/23/09 11:05 AM

iPhone Game Review: Cooking Dash
Reviewed by JadeDragon

PlayFirst has struck gold with the Dash game series from Diner Dash to Wedding Dash and now Cooking Dash. Our busy bee heroine, Flo, has a new adventure: the cook at Flo's dinner is going to star in a chef TV reality show, leaving Flo and Grandma the task of making diner as well as serving them. If you've played Diner Dash, you are no stranger to the gameplay. The concept is easy to grasp: people come into your restaurant to eat, people are impatient, you must serve them the good exactly the way they want it, or you loose customers. You must keep the customers happy in order to earn high scores, and only after you have achieved the goal set for that level can you move on to the next level. However it?s easily said than done. The gameplay can get very hectic, especially in the later levels at the last two restaurants locations.



Gameplay

There are five restaurants and each location offers 10 levels and a different ethnic cuisine. You must complete one location to move onto the next. Like in the previous Dash games, each level has a Goal score and an Expert score; you must reach the Goal score to move on to the next level and if you get the Expert score you earn higher points which are very useful for upgrades and get on high score board. In order to earn enough points, you must help Flo take care of the customers from the moment they come in: seat them quickly, take their orders quickly, cook their food quickly and serve to them quickly. If customers are happy with everything, you ear good scores. If they are really happy, they will order desert and you will ear even better scores.

Like in Diner Dash, each restaurant in Cooking Dash has its own ethnic cuisine with unique ingredients and dishes. Thanks to this design, you don?t feel like cooking the same things over and over, though there is a learning curve in the beginning levels in each restaurant locations as you will need to get familiar with the ingredients. In addition to the dishes Flo makes, Grandma cooks her special dishes you order for the customers. The difficulty levels ramp up as you move through each location, however the beginning levels in each locations have slower pace in order for Flo to learn about new ingredients and new dishes. Though items change, most appliances have similar positions (like the juice machines, coffee maker, cookers, etc.) so you know your way around almost immediately even on the first level of a new restaurant.



To help players along, Cooking Dash offers more ways to reach the Goal and Expert scores. They include both in-game extra points and between level upgrades. In-game extra points are designed to make customers happier so you earn higher points. If you match customers? clothing colors to the colors of the seats in the restaurants, you ear extra points. The game also helps you out by giving you the types of customers (quick eaters, loud talkers, etc.), what they like and dislike, so that you can make adjustment to cater to their needs. The personalities of customers add some depth to the gameplay. You will also get upgrades to both restaurant appliances and to Flo and Grandma abilities. Flo?s speed upgrade is essential in all locations at later levels, and cooker speed upgrade is also very handy. Other upgrades include adding coffee (to make customers happier), hot sauce (to make customers eat faster), bigger counter with more seats, better deco and more.

The game is solid, doesn?t have any crashes or noticeable bugs. The only thing might get in the way of finishing the game is the difficulty levels at last one or two locations for novice gamers. Since the gameplay doesn?t change each time, the more times you play the better you will get. So all it takes is patience if you wish to complete all levels. Cooking Dash uses finger controls and it works well mostly. The only part that might get a little tricky is when some ingredients are super close to the edges of the screen, making it hard to tap quickly to select.



Graphics

Cooking Dash stays true to the Dash series graphics with clear layout of each restaurants and Flo?s movement is very smooth. The ingredients are easy to see and cookers, blenders, coffee makers, etc. have good size that work well with finger touch. The ingredients close to the edges of the screen are hard to select some times which can waste some precious time. But all in all, the game has pleasing graphics.

Sound

Cooking Dash has an upbeat background music accompanying you throughout the levels. The music is pleasing and has good variety, but if you prefer your own iPod music, you can build a playlist in the game. Sound effects aplenty, from sizzling fryers to buzzing blenders, everything has its own sound. The finishing bell tells you the tasks are completed. It?s not as noisy as in a real restaurant, but there is enough sound FX to reflect the busy scene.



Conclusion

If you are a fan of the Dash series games, Cooking Dash expands your skills while providing a similar gameplay to Diner Dash and Wedding Dash. The game has 50 plus levels with different ingredients and dishes. You do have to work hard to get through all the levels though, but then again, you didn?t choose Dash games for their leisurely pace. The last couple of levels might be too hard for a non-veteran player of this genre, but with some practice and patience you should all see the glorious achievements in the end. It?s a good game for the price.


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: -4- Clear layout of locations, characters move smoothly.
Sound: -4.5- Good BGM and option to create your own playlist with iPod music. Plenty of sound FX.
Controls: -4- Touch control works well for the most part. Items near the edges of the screen are hard to select some times.
Gameplay: -4.5- The game packs 50 levels of cooking and dashing, customer personalities, restaurant upgrades and extra points give the game more depth. Addictive gameplay.

Playing Hints and Tips:

-Before the customers come in, make juice, order some dishes from Grandma, make ice cream? You will need these later on in the game, why not use the time before customers getting in.

-Always multitask. Don?t run around with one hand empty. In later levels you won?t make it if you don?t multitask.

-Always upgrade Flo?s speed first, then grandma?s counter, cookers and adding more seats. The deco upgrades can wait.

-Try to remember the first few orders if you replay a level. You can get stuff cooking before the orders coming in. This will save you in the last few levels.

App Facts:
Developer: PlayFirst
Release Date: July 29, 2009
Price: $2.99
Buy App:
Lite version (free): iTunes App Store
Full version: iTunes App Store


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