Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two delicious games

Over the weekend, I played some new casual games. Among them were the two last games of the “Delicious” series. And this post is about them, so it’s a review. I’m opening a new series of casual games reviews with this post, so stay tuned for more.

Game number four in the series – and game number one of the series I’ve played – is about Emily on her way to a TV studio. (Emily is the main character of all games in the series, as far as I’ve seen.)

Unfortunately, the trip to the studio ends at a no-parking sign and Emily has to get a job, so she can get her car towed to a garage and repaired. Betty’s diner is the first station for her and her friend Francois. (All in-game screenshots have been taken from the last level of the area and with all the upgrades already bought and in place, both for this game and the other.) And no, the guy at the lower left of the picture is not Elvis – it’s an Elvis impersonator who works as an entertainer at the diner.

The car got towed to Mo’s Garage for repairs, but until everything is done, Emily is working on the farm and restoring it to its former glory. She’s getting help from Mo’s new girlfriend and showing her the ropes in the last level.

Technically, Emily could just leave Snuggford now and head for the big city and the camera, but she’s too curious about the only candy shop in town closing, so she stays there for a while and helps the owner to keep it open.

Finally, the TV studio! But not everything that sparkles really is gold – Ludwig, the producer, surely isn’t. After serving customers in front of the camera, advertising a lot of products in the middle and realizing this isn’t what she wants, Emily…

…returns to Snuggford just in time to save the annual Town Fair.

Emily has found a home in Snuggford, but she’s still a single – very much to her mother’s dismay. For the holiday season, Emily has invited her family to visit her, so she goes to the hotel to organize the holiday dinner.

The Snuggford Hotel, though, has a new owner, Richard, who offers Emily a job and seems interested in her … but has to close down in order to renovate.

As the hotel gets renovated, Emily moves on the Christmas Fair in Snuggford to sell and serve all the nice Christmas treats.

Back at the renovated hotel, Richard and Emily get closer (but that guy in the picture is her friend Francois, not Richard) … until Richard’s feared father turns up: Ludwig (from the last game) in person.

Because his father disapproves of her, Richard basically dumps Emily who goes over to the skiing range to serve warm food to all the skiers and not-skiers. And to work with Paul, who also used to work in the hotel.

Mo’s Farm is the skating rink of Snuggford (though it’s probably not very comfy for the cow there). After Paul asked for her hand (after having known her for a couple of days, mind), Emily goes there to escape him for a while and think. Between serving the guests and treating their bruises when they slip on the ice, she also learns something about fun from her friend Francois.

What I like about these games (rather: what I like about these games far more than about the “Dash” games I’ve played in the past) is the whole game mechanism.

People arrive at the place (whichever one it is), come to the counter or sit at a free table and order their stuff. As I’ve never liked the seating in the “Diner Dash” series a lot, this is much more down my alley. You do not just take an order and hand it over to your cook, you actually have to gather and prepare (some things you just pick up, others you have to prepare fresh) all parts of the order and hand them over (either to the table or to the customer at the counter). Then they come to the cash register and pay. If they’ve been sitting at a table, you have to clear it before the next group comes in (usually, single customers buy at the counter while groups sit at a table).

In between customers you need to restock part of the products (some are there infinite, like most drinks, others not) or prepare new ones. Then there’s also the additional job in every level. These jobs range from walking a certain distance to repairing tables and talking to special people that appear in the area. (In the picture of the Town Fair level of “Emily’s Taste of Fame” above, you can see the crates with the fireworks Emily has to prepare before time runs out).

The games also offer trophies which, in the two games I’ve played, add to the ending sequence – fireworks. You gather trophies for a much bigger and more astonishing fireworks. To get the trophies you have to accomplish certain things in the game, like buying all upgrades for one area, serving a certain amount of people, finding all the mice (there’s one in every level) and so on. Some you get automatically (for instance the one for finishing the game), others you have to work very hard for. There’s also one mystery trophy in every game (you don’t get told in the trophies menu what to do to achieve them, you have to be inquisitive and find out yourself).

If you like TMs, you really should take a closer look at those games for yourself. But don’t expect them at Big Fish Games (where I usually get my games), they’re Gamehouse exclusive material.

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