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For the First Review...Diner Dash 2

Now keep in mind that this review is only my lowly opinion and anyone and everyone has the right to disagree with it. As I sit here in my cubicle at work, I just can't bear to do any real work so I thought that I would officially start reviewing and talking about games that I both love and hate. I guess first I should list a few of my favorite games of all time and currently, so one may get an idea of the type of stuff I like (though it is diverse).

Favorite Games:
Halo 2 (xbox), Metal Gear Solid Series (PSone and PS2), Super Metroid (SNES), Advance Wars (GBA, DS), Goldeneye (N64), Mario Kart series, Ascendancy (old PC strategy game), and NFL Blitz. Keep in mind this is just a list off the top of my head, but I am a very strong supporter of both the Halo series, Metal Gear Solid, and Metroid (non-3D). So one can see that I am definitely a gamer and not so much a casual gamer, so with that in mind off to the review.

Diner Dash was one of the most successful indie games and inspired this sequel. Diner Dash is a pretty typical sequel that doesn't change the formula too much. Now let me start off by saying that I can completely understand the appeal of this title. When you first pick up and start playing the game, it's easy and eases you into the complexities of being a waitress very nicely. Each stage introduces new patrons or added features such as a refreshment center. There is also almost always a graphical upgrade to the restaurant that you can select based on your previous score. The story is forgettable, and basically tasks Flo, the amazing waitress of the series, with saving different restaurants from an evil corporation. You control Flo and gameplay consists of only utilizing the mouse to seat customers, and moves Flo around the restaurant. This is my biggest complaint with the game and casual games in general. Yes, the simple controls allow anyone to play and open up the game to a large audience, but as a gamer I absolutely hate that there is no video game skills needed to play this game. So while the game is great to pick up and play, immediately satisfying, and quite mindless, after about half an hour I grew bored. Download the hour demo, and most gamers will have had enough of the game. There's almost no incentive to keep playing after the first hour or so, because I don't really care about improving my score to earn upgrades such as the 3rd variant of potted plants to spruce up the restaurant. Maybe, that's just me, but as a gamer I want to work towards an upgrade that adds to the gameplay or unlocks a new level, not a new awning for a restaurant. This ultimately leads me to tell anyone reading this to download and try the demo. Diner Dash 2's gameplay is mindless and fun, but after an hour I expect that most will have had their fill. There are positives to Diner Dash 2, but the end result is that the game is just too geared towards the casual market to really be considered a good video game. The gameplay just is too dull and simple.

Gameplay: 5/10
Pros: Easy to play, nice learning curve/difficulty, open to a wide audience, strategy involved to seat patrons and move about the restaurant
Cons: The Gameplay is just a graphical presentation of what one does in Windows- click, drag and drop. Gameplay gets stale real fast, no incentive to replay levels to earn higher scores

Graphics: 7/10
Pros: Don't need a super-computer to run the game smoothly. Polished presentation, simple and nice looking sprites
Cons: I have no real complaints about the graphics, other than that there is just no wow factor, or originality.

Sound/Music: 7/10
Not really worth breaking down into pros/cons, but the music again is perfectly suitable for the game and fits. Again there are no memorable tunes that you'll find yourself humming, but everything has a nice polish. The crying babies are really annoying though.

Lasting Appeal: 3/10
Pros: playing levels again for higher tips unlocks more graphical upgrades for the restaurant
Cons: The above is no real incentive to play a level again, and the game can easily be beaten in 5-6 hours. For $20, that is not an adequate amount of playing time when you can buy used/new games online for under $20.

Average: 55%
Tilt: +/- 0%

Verdict: 55%
The demo is perfect for an hour or less of entertainment, but you are not going to get much more entertainment for $20 more bucks. Not for an avid computer or console gamer.

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