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 Diner Dash-XBLA
It's hard to believe it but "Diner Dash" is now 6 years old!
Since it's release in 2004, it has spring up everywhere from cellphones to the Nintendo DS.
Heck, it even had a Spongebob Squarepants version! Now it has landed onto Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) much to the delight of Flo fans.

Don’t think people will buy it on yet another platform? Oh yeah, tell that to all the people who own "Zuma" on 15 different systems!
But does the casual PC game translate well to a console, especially something as cool as the Xbox 360? Well... yes and no.

It's the same storyline, Flo has left her corporate gig to open a diner and you'll need to help her get customers seated, fed, and out the door quickly before the people waiting in line get too upset and leave. Customers will leave you tips and each level has a monetary goal that needs to be reached or else you'll have to try again.
It's the same design you've probably played on PC but some precision and control has been lost. Now that you're controlling Flo with a game pad instead of a mouse it can be a little tricky getting her to select the right people or items. More on that later.

As you probably all know by now, "Diner Dash" is one of my favorite games; I mean it's sold millions of copies since it's release and you don't usually do that unless you've got something special. But XBLA might not have been the best place to play this sort of PC game. It makes more sense in short bursts as you kill time at your home computer (or work tsk tsk) rather than something you settle down onto your couch in your living room to play.

At first things are relatively easy, but as more tables are added, some seating four, some seating six, and lines begin to form at the entrance, things begin to get a little hectic. Flo's only got two hands ya know, and can only carry combos of two orders, two plates, or dirty dishes, but the customers won't give her any slack!

Things become more complicated by different types of customers that eat at different speeds, have different levels of patience, and different ideas about what qualifies as a proper tip. Customers are color-coded as well and if you manage to seat a customer in a chair of the same color you'll receive a bonus (I'm not sure why a customer would care if a seat matches his/her clothes, but hey I'll take the bonus.)

Graphics- So how does ol' Flo look on a fancy system? I actually think the 2D version looked better. The colors aren’t as crisp as they should be and to quite honest with you I found the 3D models to be quite creepy looking.

"Diner Dash" won't be enjoyable for everyone - in fact, I can see some people getting really stressed out while playing. Personally, I always found it fun in a challenging sorta way-it forces you to make quick decisions and think on your feet. However, there are some frustrating aspects to the game that prevented it from being as enjoyable as it could be. The biggest issue by far is that the controls, they aren't as tight as they need to be in a time management game-once again I say-perhaps things just don't translate too well from a PC game to a console.
On a PC things were much easier to navigate thanks to the drag-and-drop method. This time around you are controlling everything using a game pad. This makes navigating around a challenge, especially when trying to select between different patrons. Thankfully the developers have helped fix this a little by adding hot keys on some of the items in each level. Even with this though the game will still find you frustrated at times as you are failing more from wonky controller issues rather than skill. Selecting a table can be an iffy proposition on the run, and it's pretty frustrating when Flo runs past a table without dropping off an order.
Also,if I wasn’t standing in exactly the right spot, I couldn’t interact with the diners at the podium, having to waste precious seconds trying to find just the right spot. I also found myself bumping into the tables quite a bit and wasting time trying to run in a giant circle around them.

Also too often, I‘d try to seat a group of customers, only to have the wrong group selected or spend too much time trying to get them to the best open table and seat. You can use the trigger button to seat the next party in line automatically, but that doesn't help you if you have a table for two open and the first group in line is a party of four.
Eventually, I just gave up and rapidly dumped them into whichever table came up first and just hoped for the best.
There are other issues that I have with the game but don't really affect the gameplay per se; but nonetheless they were still a little annoying. Such as there's no way to retry or exit out of a level short of using the Start button to exit to the dashboard.
Ya know, the most impatient people on the planet come to eat in your restaurant! It's amazing, I mean only 5 seconds will have gone by before they are getting pissed off wondering where their food is.

There are a variety of strategies you can try: should you focus your attention on the demanding business women? Should you linger at the podium and chat up guests while they wait in line? Is it worth it to run coffee to that table that is about to leave? Chaining tasks gets you a higher score, but should you wait for the next table to be done or just go ahead and take a few more orders? It's a lot for one person to handle!

As you get further into "Diner Dash" Flo will purchase upgrades for her restaurants that help you in keeping customers happy. For example, once you have a coffee pot customers will be willing to wait longer for their food if they've got a cup of Joe to sip on.
But after all your hard work you don't get to choose what upgrades you would like. These upgrades are all automatic, it would have been nice if the developers let the player customize their restaurant and decide which improvements they want to purchase.

Go online and face players in a fierce race of dish slinging head to head matches to see who's the best Flo. Join up with a friend or another player online for a Team Dash game where your team takes on six other players to see whose diner is the best in town. I had some trouble finding people to play the game through Xbox Live with, but it's on the "newest" side right now so I'm hoping that will change soon.

"Diner Dash" is a fun lil game that will probably interest some people but honestly most of those people interested in playing the original have probably already played it back in 2004. So in the end, I say "Diner Dash XBLA" tastes more like leftovers than a fresh game treat. Check please!

Get Diner Dash XBLA Here

Graphics C
Sound B-
Pickup & Play B-
Overall Fun B-

Posted by oxyjen on Jan 10, 2010
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