Just when players had begun to forget about our tried and true heroine, Flo, the people over at PlayFirst have offered up this delectable story starring Flo, and her ever-helpful Grandma. In Cooking Dash, when Flo decides to give her head chef, Cookie, a well deserved holiday so that he may star in a television cooking show; she realizes quickly that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Not to worry; as always, Granny shows up with her speedy cooking expertise and helps Flo through yet another daunting venture.
The game play differs from Flo’s usual table-style seating with the introduction of a very large, highly integral kitchen and an uncluttered counter/bar area at which customers are seated. The kitchen is the true work of genius in this new edition, and it is a stand-out addition to the standard Dash style games, which focus mainly on serving food rather than making food. Thanks to new and more realistic graphics, players will be asked to rely on their vision to recognize what is being ordered, and then rely on their knowledge of ingredients in their kitchen to execute such tasks. Equipped with deep fryers, ovens, grills, blenders (for smoothies), and ice cream makers, the kitchen also boasts a large work station for Grandma to work her magic over sandwiches, snacks, and desserts, to name just a few. With a calming, elevator-esque musical score, players are not distracted by the music and are able to hear audible cues when customers are in need of service. This helpful implement is peppered with some fun diner-like sounds and cooking noises to make the whole experience more realistic.
Once a customer is seated, Flo must wait to take their order. As previously noted, these orders are not the standard single order style as in previous Dash games. Flo may need to make a single plate of fries, a smoothie, or even a full entrée platter of spaghetti and meatballs. If she can do this correctly and quickly, she will succeed in serving a happy, paying customer. If she fails, Flo runs the risk of losing a customer. A tutorial is available throughout the first few levels to acquaint players with the tasks. While helpful, this tutorial is totally optional and may be turned off simply by clicking the Skip button.
Knowing how to make each dish is key. For example, if a customer orders a plate of French fries, Flo must fetch the raw potatoes and place them in a fryer, wait until the timer goes off, and then pick them up and plate them before the green button below the plate turns to red. If this does happen the food has been overcooked, burnt, gone cold, or any other issue that would deem the plate ruined. Some orders have one step, such as the fries, while others such as the spaghetti require simultaneous actions (fetch raw pasta, place in a boiling pot, fetch raw meatballs, fry on stove, retrieve both and serve).
In Story Mode, every ten levels will end with Flo and Grandma being called to provide a Restaurant Baby-Sitting Service for other diners who have given their own chef’s a break in order to appear of Cookie’s television show. In addition to Flo’s Diner, there is a Sushi Bar and an Italian Pizzeria, to name a few. Each new restaurant has a menu unique to its cuisine, which adds for a fun dose of variety in dishes Flo must learn to cook. Each level posts a goal for Flo to reach as well as an Expert goal for the more efficient and ambitious. Between levels, Flo chooses stylistic upgrades such as decor as well as efficiency boosters, such as better cooking equipment.
Meeting goals can be achieved fairly simply if players are aware of their chaining bonuses. Initially, Flo must seat guest’s side-by-side at bar stools and while there are colour coded bonuses for seating, this is limited due to the small seating area as a whole. However, colour bonuses are large and well worth the effort. There are a few different characters and, like usual, some are incompatible. Though not as much a focal point in Cooking Dash, players would do well to note these idiosyncrasies and seat guests accordingly to minimize distraction from the cooking aspect of the game. Chaining bonuses are achieved when Flo performs the same task a few times in a row without deviation from the chain. This can be in the form of serving plates, cleaning up counter space or handing off the bill. One of the easiest chains to acquire, especially due to the many tasks and quick nature of this game, is the final few tasks per customer. Therefore, if Flo has three diners who are about to finish their meals, Flo may cash out the first and instead of directly clearing their seating area for the next customer. Flo may wait until the other two are ready to pay as well, drop off those checks, also (thus ranking a 3x chain for the bills) and then clearing off all three spots in succession (earning a 3x for cleaning up, also).
In Endless Mode, players may choose any restaurant they wish to play at as well as choose from Easy, Medium, or Hard difficulties. The player can earn upgrades at any time, unlike the story mode, where they must buy them when they are prompted, and the main goal is to keep their shop running until they are unable to keep customers happy any longer. Endless mode is a terrific way to gain skill and expertise as well as a great way to stretch that game-buying dollar by getting the most time out of the game possible.
Cooking Dash is widely embraced by fans of Diner town games due to its entirely new set of tasks and engaging graphics. With Flo back for more action, Dinertowners will be sure to enjoy a heaping helping of fun cooking and serving in game, wild actions, and some silly comic story-line departures along the way. Pull up a bar stool and get clicking, it is time for Cooking Dash!