Review Date: March 22, 2010
Genre: Time Management
Poor Flo. As if almost single handedly running a restaurant by herself wasn't enough, the star of the Diner Dash series has run into yet another snag in her latest outing: her restaurant blew up. But that doesn't stop Flo, who decides that the best thing to do is continue to serve customers anyways, wherever they happen to be. This twist helps differentiate Diner Dash 5: BOOM! from the rest of the series, while still maintaining the intense, fast-paced action that's made the series such a hit.
Waiting Tables Is Harder Than It Looks
Like the rest of the Diner Dash games, BOOM! starts off simple, but slowly adds new ideas to up the difficulty. Initially you'll only have to deal with seating customers, taking and delivering their orders, and then cleaning up the table and collecting the bill. But over the course of the game's 50 stages, new features are constantly introduced. You'll add a salad bar, drink machine, and all sorts of different types of customers each with their own unique characteristics. Lawyers will bicker if placed to close together, annoying the other patrons, while elderly customers are very patient yet very slow.
There are also some clever new features centered around Flo's new location: the outdoors. When it rains you'll have to put up umbrellas and when it's windy you'll have to secure all the tablecloths. You'll also be seating customers in a number of unusual locations, from fire escapes to the top of bus. Flo will also move her restaurant around over the course of the game, shifting the setting from a formerly busy intersection to a circus to, eventually, her newly built restaurant, which you design along the way. You'll also be able to take all of the money you earn and put it towards various upgrades, like self-opening umbrellas and menus that help customers order faster.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Suffice to say, by the time you reach the mid-point of the game things can get pretty hectic. Juggling all of the various tasks can be a handful and requires a combination of smart decision making and quick reflexes. In order to complete each stage you'll have to earn a pre-determined number of points, but each stage also features a higher, "expert" score for those looking for a little more challenge.
Diner Dash 5 also sports the same charming visual style as its predecessors, with a bright and colorful cartoon look. While some of the backgrounds can look a little drab, the characters themselves -- and Flo in particular, with her constant smirk -- are dripping with personality. The rest of the game is just as charming, with plenty of chuckle worthy puns and more than a few goofy situations.
Like a number of recent downloadable casual games, Diner Dash 5 also supports Facebook Connect. This can be used for standard features like updating your status or posting screenshots, but it also provides a very compelling bonus: Flo's Super Sneakers. You can only get this in-game item if a friend gifts it to you. And since the super-speedy shoes are a great help in the game, this provides a lot of incentive to convince your friends to play as well.
The Bottom Line
For a series on its fifth main entry, you'd think that Diner Dash would start to feel stale by now. Thankfully, that's not the case. BOOM! introduces a host of new and fun features that help make the well-worn formula feel fresh again. And with 50 stages across five different areas, there's more than enough content in the game to keep would-be restaurateurs happy.