Not a fried egg in sight!
Diner Dash, from Hudson, has made an appearance on most available platforms and now, finally, makes its way onto WiiWare. Will this popular game be the McD of the casual puzzle games? Or will it just be another greasy spoon?
My little sister runs a Diner, or as we call them in the UK, a Cafe. She returns home after a long day with aching feet and stinking of fried food. You will be firstly pleased to hear that playing Diner Dash is nothing like that, although there is the distinct possibility that the player will come away from the experience feeling just as mentally drained.
The concept is straight forward. Customers will arrive at your eating establishment and they must be seated. The the orders are taken and deposited at the kitchen. The food, once ready, is taken to the table. The player must then wait for the meal to be finished, the bill is presented and payment taken. Finally the table is cleared. All of this must be done in a timely fashion, so as not to upset the customers to the point that they walk out.
The difficulty comes in that you only have a set number of tables that seat between two and four. The customers will keep coming, until closing time, by which the player must have reached a target profit to progress to the next location. With each progression, the player will unlock new ways to either speed things up or entertain the waiting customers. Keeping them happy is an important part of the games, as success on any given level can depend on serving not only a certain number of customers, but making them happy enough that they tip well.
The thing is, different customers are react in different ways. The oldies are happy to take their time, but are a bit tight when it comes to tipping, whilst the business types are in a mad rush, but tip big. The other customers fall somewhere between the two. So serving people quickly enough and keeping them as happy as possible, soon becomes a juggling act. Mastering these complexities is essential to success, especially later in the game when completing a level cannot be achieved by simply serving all of the customers.
Players can work through the story mode, and then unlock the endless mode that allows them to play continuously on the level of their choice. There is also a multiplayer option that offers any of the levels without the need to unlock them first in the story.
Now, on the PC, Diner Dash is a great casual game that a player can easily lose hours to. When the transition was made to the consoles, the control methods made the game more difficult and it lost some of its sparkle. Now, with the arrival on WiiWare, Diner Dash can utilise the magnificent controls from the PC version, simply by pointing at the screen with the WiiMote. What? They can’t do that? They have the same controls as the other console versions?
Sadly, through some epic failure, the game is controlled using the WiiMote and nunchuk. The player must manually move the main character around using the stick and interact using the A button. Why they would do this when using the WiiMote and pointing at the screen would have been so much better? No idea. There are hot keys assigned to allow the players to quickly choose between different areas for the main character to move to. There is another control option, that highlights the areas and, by clicking A, makes the character move there. But, in reality, this method is more troublesome than the last.
Another let down to this game is that it looks decidedly unimpressive on the Wii. I am not sure why more effort was not put into the graphics, as the game could surely look much better than it does.
Finally, the Wiis lacklustre online capabilities rears its ugly head again. With no lobby in which to catch an online game, the player is limited to the delightful exchanging of friend codes and pre planning a match. Seriously, isn’t it about time that Nintendo did something about this?
With boring visuals, an annoying online experience and controls that will drive the player up the wall as the game gets more frantic, Diner Dash just does not reach its potential on the Wii. A good game has been let down by a poor job of moving it over to the Nintendo console. Diner Dash is available for 1000 Nintendo points, which seems a bit pricey for such a flawed game. But, if you fancy some grease free Diner fun, give the game a try. The challenge is there, but mostly from the games problems rather than the game itself.