Have you ever wanted to run your own restaurant? Maybe you've worked in the food service industry before and want to show a friend just how stressful and annoying it can be. Or perhaps you're just a glutton for punishment and find fun in serving angry customers and cleaning up after messy babies. If any of those strike you as a good time, then you're in luck as we are about to see a downloadable release across all major consoles for the PC hit, Diner Dash.
The single-player mode of Diner Dash is lifted directly from its PC cousin, with main character Flo opening a series of restaurants and then proceeding to serve increasingly demanding customers. The objective is to earn enough money before closing time to move on to the next round. Obviously, speedier service means bigger tips, so Flo must constantly juggle the steady flow of incoming customers and those already seated in the hopes that no one will get too impatient and just up and leave. If you've never played the game before, it can actually be pretty frantic and entertaining, and if you are already familiar with the mechanics, then you can jump right into this version without missing a beat.
The big addition for the console release is the inclusion of local and online multiplayer, in both co-op and competitive varieties. The competitive varieties are the most fun, featuring Tip Wars (the first to earn a preset amount of cash wins) or Time Wars (see who has the most money after a certain amount of time elapses). Both players share a screen, so it's a constant battle to see who can be first to seat, serve and clean up after customers in order to rake in cash. Furthermore, since customers don't remain exclusive to waiters in certain sections like in a real restaurant, players can continually steal customers to rack up points.
While Diner Dash will have an online component, it's really the sort of title that is best played locally so you can trash talk and jockey for position with someone else on the couch. It also has fairly strong potential as a party game for those whose gaming interests tilt more toward the casual.
Diner Dash isn't going to win any awards for technical achievement and the hardcore crowd will likely hate on it relentlessly, but it does a good job simply being what it is: a casual game with a good amount of action and a little bit of strategy thrown in. The inclusion of multiplayer only sweetens the pot, and the end result is a great family title that should serve its specific audience very well. If it manages to dethrone Halo and Call of Duty from the top of Xbox Live, though, then it may be time for me to take up a new career ....
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