Diner Dash
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-12-13 PS3 Time Management E10 (Everyone 10+) Hudson Entertainment / Playfirst

I've been saying it forever, why don't we have Diner Dash on a console yet? Well... now we do, but I'm not sure I like it as much as I expected.

Diner Dash has become pretty much a phenomenon in casual games of the "task management" kind ever since its release about 4 or 5 years ago. It has sprouted a series of "sequels" with Flo as the main character, as well as plenty of spin-offs.

Following the handheld releases for PSP and DS, Diner Dash now arrives on consoles through XBL and PSN, mainly a port of the original PC game, but with a welcoming slightly 3D graphic makeover and some gameplay changes.

Flo daydreaming

For those not familiar with the original game, in Diner Dash you gain control of Flo, an aspiring restaurant owner who basically does everything but cook the food. You seat the customers, take their orders, serve the food, grab the check and clean up the tables. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Basically, there is a pre-set button for everything: to select the next customer in line, to take Flo to the counter, to direct Flo to the dirty dishes bin... However, the game fails in telling you these commands during the tutorial. It was only by accident that I discovered them. "What was that? What did I just press? How do I do it again!?"

Other than that, you must physically control Flo's running around to the tables with the left analog stick, which wouldn't be so bad if there was more space between the tables. As it turns out, it's pretty easy to get stuck in the middle of the serving rush.

Where before this career/story mode was the strength of the game, now it seems the weaker of all game modes. Endless Shift is probably the most fun. Here the game just keeps throwing customers at you and the goal is to survive and serve as many as possible before some of them walk out angry. Endless Shift becomes more rewarding as you progress, since you get to choose the upgrades to go on with: faster running speed for Flo, more tables, a podium to help keep customers in line happy and so on.

The little bit of innovation is definitely in the multiplayer modes, co-op and competitive. In co-op, you can split and coordinate tasks with someone else, and help each other handle the customer rush. However, two twin Flos with different colored aprons can cause a bit of confusion to the players...

Graphically, the game does look much more colorful now, and the perspective makes it look 3D-ish, but doesn't do much for functionality. The spacing between the tables just doesn't seem to be enough to move around efficiently. I also found that the animations for being ready to order or asking for the check were fairly easy to miss when the tables are crowded.

As for the sound, the tunes and background noises remain the same, but sound much clearer. More variety for the background music would have been welcome, since it does become repetitive.

Overall, this Diner Dash port isn't too bad, but it's a shame that the PC look and especially feel was a bit lost in translation. I'd recommend trying out the demo before you decide to make a purchase.

Special thanks to Jean Son and Hudson for providing a copy of this title.