Diner Dash released for Xbox LIVE Arcade on November 18, 2009 for the price of 800 Microsoft Points. The title is a remake/port of a downloadable point-and-click PC game that has triggered off a series of sequels and rereleases. The game is reminiscent of classic arcade simplicity, with classic arcade difficulty. Diner Dash is a game about a girl named Flo who finds herself pursuing a job waiting tables at diners. The story is told in a quick comic strip fashion, then you’re on your way with Flo’s career. Each stage is cleared by meeting a point mark that is preset, then a higher point mark is available for the hardcore looking to clear every stage with the “expert score.” You make points seating customers coming in, taking their orders, delivering the food, serving the check, and finally clearing the tables to set them on their way out. More points can be made by doing all of these tasks quickly and by seating customers by color (example: seating customers dressed in blue into blue chairs earn you more points). Points can be lost if you leave your customers waiting too long and in doing so forcing them to leave. Lastly, your restaurant’s rating will go down if you do a poor job based on a scale of 1-5, and can go up by keeping the critics (who rarely come in) happy.
Now that you know how Diner Dash works, on to the review shall we? First, the developers must not have understood that not every person uses a giant screen television. The text of the story was really hard for me to read on a 20-inch television. Also, I found myself squinting quite a bit while playing the actual game. It was hard to see if the customers were raising their hands ready to make an order. The game does do a good job in showing me I’m not a very good multi-tasker though. The game gets pretty hectic, pretty fast. You have customers lining up waiting for tables, but the tables are full, because the earlier customers are not done eating, so you have the customers lined up growing impatient, then you realize the customers on the bottom left were already done, so you clear their table, and then you just missed out on extra points. It can get very darn frustrating. Diner Dash really screams its original point-and-click controls, rather than the Xbox LIVE Arcade walk and press A at everything. Everything you do feels kind of clunky and clumsy. You can easily accidentally press A on the wrong things while passing by. Naturally, I’m pressing A the whole time, so when I pass by the garbage with the customer’s food, sometimes I accidentally throw it out. Somehow I do not see myself making as many of those kind of mistakes with a mouse, I could be wrong though. The game’s difficulty gets hard, but even harder when the controls are the way the are. You’re constantly fighting with the screen (if your television is small), fighting the game difficulty and mediocre controls. The game gets pretty difficult, but almost impossible with all these odds against you.
Diner Dash does offer on and offline multiplayer modes. Versus and Co-op modes basically play on the core mechanics of the game, with the joy of playing with friends and online foes. My little experience online was very laggy, and it was a mess. I did not get to play much online multiplayer, because no one is online in the middle of the day. This could mean either not many people have the game or every person in the Diner Dash universe is busy during the day. Despite the lag, the short time I got to play a smooth game, multiplayer is mildly fun I must say.
Overall, I feel this game is a overpriced by at least half, considering the fact that it is a very old game. Xbox LIVE Arcade has several very good 800 points games that are a far better value than Diner Dash. The game is quick fun, but the fun leaves as soon as it comes.
- Title: Diner Dash
- Developer: PlayFirst
- Publisher: Hudson Entertainment
- MSRP: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)
- Release Date: Available Now
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this game was provided to DualShockers Inc. by the publisher for reviewing purposes.