iPhone Game Review: Gourmania Reviewed by JadeDragon
Alawar is a casual game specialist that has developed some great time management titles, like Farm Frenzy, as well as hidden objects games such as Sprill - The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Now Alawar has mixed these two genres of gameplay together and packaged them into one game, Gourmania. Think of the game as a hidden objects game on a timer. You will need to search through countless food and drink ingredients for the right items to fulfill customer's orders and make dishes in record times. The game offers a massive number of levels in 8 different restaurants. It's a lot fun to play, just don't play it with an empty stomach.
There isn?t much of a story in Gourmania: you start out as a trainee at a local fast food joint, and you must work your way through the ranks and different restaurants to be the top chef at the Grand Restaurant. Gourmania is a food and drink galore, every scene is stuffed with food items you might need to make dishes or drinks. Gameplay is simple to understand: you get customer orders which has all the ingredients listed; you must find these ingredients fast to fulfill the orders. Once you?ve completed enough number of orders, you reached the level goal, and you can also achieve more to the Expert level.
Unlike most hidden objects games which usually find ways to hide things in plain sight, Gourmania doesn?t really try to hide items. It uses a large number of items in bright colors in each scene, sort of blitzing the visual as opposed to being discreet. Finding items actually aren?t hard, the trick is to find them in time to make the goal or expert scores. Although the game gives you busy scenes, there are of course patterns in the madness. Items usually appear in the same positions and there are often multiple versions of the same thing to select from. For example: if a recipe calls for wine, you might have a bottle sitting on a shelf, or a wine rack somewhere or some wine already sitting in a decanter. Any of these will do, the game doesn?t care where you get your ingredients from or in what form. A whole lime is as good as the sliced lime.
To help you achieve the Goal and Expert scores are some combo bonuses. If you get several actions together (like activating multiple appliances or gathering cash from multiple customers) you get combo bonus scores which add up very quickly and come in handy for you to reach the Expert levels. It?s unlikely that you will need it, but there is a Hint option available. You first need to touch the Hint button and then tap on the ingredient you can?t find, the game will show you where it is.
There are over 60 levels in Gourmania, each restaurant location has 6 levels of main gameplay and 2 levels of bonus play. The bonus play is where you match food items available in that restaurant to a fast side rolling sheet of outlines. While it?s very nice to have a bonus level after every 3 games to relax your eyes, the bonus levels all have the same gameplay. The game uses touch screen for picking out items to make the dishes, and in bonus levels, uses finger to drag the matching items to the outlines. The controls work well most of the time. If an item is blocked by the customers? order tickets or too close to the edge of the screen, just pinch to zoom in. You should be able to tap on anything once the images are zoomed to max.
Gourmania has nice graphics with bright colors and mouth-watering realistic food items. The scenes are littered with ingredients, glassware, plates, cups and more, yet it?s quite easy to single out every item however small. The menu screens are restaurant map are well done and polished. The graphics handle zooming very well.
While there isn?t an option to play your own playlist in Gourmania, the game offers plenty of background music and sound effects throughout the game. You can also turn on or off the sound as well as the music which is an alternative way of playing your own iPod music. Each restaurant in the game has its own ?theme music? which often fits the ethnicity or the style of the place.
Gameplay video of the PC version:
Mixing a time management game with a hidden objects game is an intriguing idea and it worked well in Gourmania. If you?ve played the casual PC version then the iPhone/iPod touch version will allow you to satisfy your addiction while on the go. The game has plenty of levels and many different scenes with a large variety of food and drink ingredients. Gameplay feels balanced and addictive. The graphics and sound are all very polished. The price is great for the amount of gameplay you get.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4.5- Very colorful graphics with sharp ingredient graphics. Sound: -4.5- Relaxing background music and appropriate sound effect. Turn music and sound off to enjoy your own iPod music. Controls: -4.5- Touch control feels responsive. Zooming is smooth. Gameplay: -4.5- Game has lots of levels and two levels of scoring goals. Gameplay is addictive.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Combo scores are very handy in later levels. Try to get several appliances ready to go together. The combo scores are easy money.
-In many scenes, the customer order tickets will block some items you need. Zoom in to max first then tap on the item.
-If you can?t find something, keep looking. Chances are there will be one or two more of the same thing hidden somewhere.