Review Date: November 17, 2010
Platform: PC & Mac
You may be used to seeing Flo--the quirky starlet from the Diner Dash series--doing nothing but waiting tables, but when it comes to helping out the residents of Diner Town, it seems there's nothing she can't do. Like the first Avenue Flo game, Special Delivery transports Flo from the world of time management to a casual point and click adventure game, filled with colorful characters and quite a few problems. And Flo has never looked better.
A Big Surprise
Special Delivery is all about a baby shower gone awry. Quinn--Flo's friend and counter part from the Wedding Dash series--is trying to plan a surprise shower for a woman named Vicky. Unfortunately, an ill timed dog party next door ends up ruining all of her carefully laid plans. Worse still, Vicky has gone missing. As always, Quinn turns to Flo for some help. The rest of the game is spent frantically trying to make sure that everything gets done in time for Vicky's arrival. Oh, and finding her as well.
Like the previous Avenue Flo game, Special Delivery plays out much like a classic adventure game, albeit simplified a bit to make it much more accessible. Flo will be able to explore three different areas of Diner Town, talking to other characters, collecting items, and solving puzzles and playing games. Pretty much everyone in town needs some sort of help, so there's a lot to keep you busy. Flo will have to do some baby photography, navigate a sprawling department store, and, of course, even wait a few tables. There's a nice amount of variety to the mini-games, as you'll be doing everything from match three style puzzles to memory games. Most of the games have a timed skip function and some even offer up hints to help you along.
Flo's A Charmer
There's also a touch of hidden object game thrown in, as many of the Diner Town residents will need you to find some for them, like lost glasses or missing batteries. You'll also need to find a number of balloons and bottles in each of the three areas. Since there's no hint system like in a traditional HOG, these parts can actually get pretty challenging.
Like all of the Dash games, one of the best parts of Special Delivery is just how charming it is. Flo is full of personality as always, and is constantly cracking jokes. The rest of the cast is pretty goofy, as well; from a pair of celebrity obsessed tourists to a book obsessed optometrist. There's also plenty of references to past games. Many of the characters you'll come across are actually the customers Flo served in the Diner Dash games. And the soundtrack is full of familiar, remixed tunes that will bring back plenty of memories for series fans.
And, as you've come to expect from these games, Special Delivery looks great. The characters sport a fun cartoon style, while the backgrounds all have a hand drawn look to them. It doesn't look drastically different from previous games, but it sure looks good.
The only real complaint about Special Delivery is how it tapers off towards the end. The final two mini-games consist of a terrible physics-based puzzle and a rather dull maze. Considering how great the rest of the game is, it's disappointing that things don't end on a high note.
The Bottom Line
But it's still a great game. Playfirst has managed to improve on the first Avenue Flo game, creating an experience that's fun, charming, and chock full of references that are sure to please series fans. It also serves as a perfect entry point for players who are new to the adventure game genre. Special Delivery manages to offer up everything that makes adventure games great--namely great storytelling and lots of puzzles--while eliminating much of what can make those games frustrating.