Stand O’ Food 3 is a restaurant-based time management game for the PC developed by G5 Entertainment. Stand O’ Food is one of the most popular and successful food chains in the country and it’s all thanks to a special guy called Ronnie. Ronnie has been with Stand o’ Food from the very early days, giving customers quality meals, filling their tummy’s in exchange for their hard earned cash.
Over the years the chain has proved to be popular and customers would queue outside eagerly waiting for a table in this wonderful diner. Before long, chains of Stand O’ Food were popping up all over the country and they were raking in the big money thanks to Ronnie. Ronnie is a special cook and manager, and his employment with the company has given him celebrity status. He’s even appeared on television. Although Ronnie was happy with the success of the chain, he craved for the next big thing in life and he was searching for his next mission.
Players will guide Ronnie around the Stand O’ Food restaurant, preparing and serving meals. Inside the restaurant he stands by conveyor belts filled with ingredients. Players click on each ingredient in the correct order to build a sandwich from the bottom up, with only the ingredients at the end of the conveyor belt being available. Customers come to the counter to place their order. You’ll know what meal they want, because a bubble appears over their heads telling you what ingredients are required. Your income is made from the burgers sold and you’ll be given a rating. Mess it up and you’ll have to try again to make the grade and move onto the next level.
Each diner has a number of levels which need to be completed to unlock new diners around the city. Although the player begins with a simple “burger bar” they will soon unlock both cake shops and lasagna stores, offering the same style of gameplay but with different ingredients, upgrades and requirements. Whichever type of food outlet the player is running, speed is of the essence as customers will come in and will only wait a given amount of time before getting upset and leaving the store without their purchase.
Ronnie begins by preparing basic foods such as burgers and fish patties which only take a couple of ingredients. After each level, the player will be able to enter the upgrade shop where they will be able to purchase various items to either make working easier or make more money from the customers. Different sauces will be available to add to the food and the player can purchase machines that offer side orders, such as fries or ice cream. These all allow the player to charge more money for the customers order, but need to be topped up between levels as they each have a limited number of “portions”.
Whilst the player is running the restaurant, it can become a little bit frantic and the ingredients that are required are not always sitting at the end of the conveyor belt. The player begins with one “spare plate” upon which can be placed an unneeded ingredient, and they can later purchase more of these plates. There is also the Claw machine which can grab ingredients from anywhere on the conveyor belt without waiting until they reach the end, but it has limited uses, so you have to use it wisely. If you make a mistake while preparing a meal, you can use the undo button or put it in the trash can, but be warned that this will cost you money and you will be losing profit.
The game offers a number of upgrades around the restaurant to make it look more attractive and appealing to customers, so you can invest in prettier plants or turn on some music from the funky Jukebox. These all add to making your customers comfortable and their experience more enjoyable, so hopefully they will stay longer.
The game is both frantic and enjoyable. It can be quite difficult at times, trying to judge which ingredients you should grab off each conveyor belt, and will require a certain amount of planning ahead to make sure that ingredients are accessible when they are needed. Some customers will wait, while others look like their heads may boil and explode. The cake and lasagne’s restaurants were fun, offering variety as well as new ingredients, new appliances and new goals to reach. Visually, everything is very basic. But it is both bright and colourful, making everything very easy to see and enjoyable to interact with. The upbeat soundtrack adds to the easy going feeling of the game.
Stand O’ Food 3 will appeal to veteran time management fans. Casual gamers on the whole will also find the game enjoyable, but may well find that the unforgiving nature and relatively high difficulty as the game progresses will spoil any relaxed feeling that they have. Either way, it is a fun way to spend a few hours.