Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “playfirst”

Cooking Academy (Playfirst.com)

Congratulations, you can attend the cooking academy.  Make appetizers to desserts and try to do well on your exams.

            There’s not really much of a story to tell, but there’s plenty of game play.  You start with making appetizers and then you make desserts.  For each meal, there are systematic instructions and after you’re finished with each section, you take a few exams.  There are just a couple of problems with this game.  One is that when trying to cut out shapes from the dough, the game doesn’t give you an outline of what to cut so you just have to make a guess.  Another is that if you’re trying to get an A+ on all of the recipes and you only do mediocre on one step, you’re going to have to start it all over.

The game has no storyline, but it’s not that bad.  I give it 7 out of 10, cooking without getting your hands dirty.

Go Go Gourmet: Chef of the Year (Bigfishgames.com)

After visiting many different restaurants and opening her very own, Ginger signs up for the Chef of the Year contest.  Can she win against the seven best chefs the world has to offer?

Again, we have plenty of wacky characters.  Each one has worked their whole life as a chef while Ginger’s only started last year.  You can imagine that she does feel out of place, but it’s played more for comedy than drama.  Therefore, you don’t have to worry about any annoying whiney scenes about Ginger’s low self-esteem.  Like I said, the chefs are insane in their own way and once again, Ginger is the only sane woman there.

The game play’s not that much different from the last game, except you’re serving judges and trying to get first place.

If you serve a few of them quickly enough you’ll get a special power up.  You can also win trophies and new outfits for your character.

In each country you visit, you earn one outfit that increases your speed, one that increases the judge’s patience, and one that adds bonus points to every dish.  After you complete each country, you get a recipe that you can print off.

In the final round, you have to complete a recipe before the only remaining opponent finishes.

It’s very funny and not a bad waste of time.  I give it 9 out of 10, not a bad sequel.

Jane’s Hotel: Family Hero (Playfirst.com or Bigfishgames.com)

Jane finally has her own hotel, but she’s not done yet.  Now her family is in massive debt and Jane has to travel to each of her family’s hotels to pay it off.

Obviously, this is a sequel to Jane’s Hotel, only this one has more of a plot.  Jane’s grandmother tells her about a chain of hotels her family used to own, which inspires her to expand her business.  The hotels are located all around the world, but that doesn’t stop Jane.  In between levels, Jane negotiates with the bank to pay off her debt.  So it’s basically an excuse plot.

During the game, you have to keep your guests happy.  You advance in levels by reaching the target goal, but you can go for expert if you want.

You can purchase upgrades not only for your hotel, but also for the characters running it.

When you have enough money to pay off the debt, you can advance to the next hotel.

Not much of a plot, but more than there was in the first game.  I give it 6 out of 10, not a bad waste of your time.

Dress Shop Hop (Playfirst.com or Bigfishgames.com)

After  another day of working for her demanding boss, Bobbi takes a shopping trip with Flo and Quinn.  It only takes a few words from Flo for Bobbi to decide what to do for the rest of her life.

Again, we have another Diner Dash spinoff, only this time the main character’s friends are Flo and Quinn.  Like them, Bobbi hates her life and decides to do something about it.  Little by little Bobbi expands her business and at the end finds her true calling.  In between levels you get to see Bobbi talking to either Flo or Quinn.  Like the last game, it gives you insight about her relationship with the characters.

In the game, you put a customer in front of a mirror and wait for him or her to decide what clothes they want.  Then you have a machine produce the desired fabric, take it to be made into the proper outfit they requested and then put them in the pattern analyzer if necessary.  After each level, you can use the items you collect to purchase upgrades for your shop.  The only way to advance through the game is by achieving the goal score for each level, but try for expert if you feel up to it.

This game is funny and addicting.  I give it 7 out of 10, another good dash spinoff.

Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover (Bigfishgames.com)

         Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover™

 After fixing the garden, you decide to relax in your giant mansion.  There’s only one problem, you were so busy fixing the outside of it that you forgot to fix the inside.  Now you have to sell everything in your house in order to fix it up.

Like the last game, you will be going to different rooms and selling various items in a hidden object sequence.

After you’ve saved up enough money for an item, you purchase which version of that item you’d like to have.  Unlike the last game, events actually happen on the main screen that you can take part in.  You still receive letters from townspeople and some even ask you to collect 20 of the same item.  You get something for your mansion when you’re done.  You can also choose to make the game into a screensaver so you can watch Austin, your butler, make various comments and get into tons of antics.

This game is addicting without much of a story.  I give it 6 out of 10; it gets boring after a while.

Cooking Academy 3: Recipe for Success

You’ve graduated from cooking school, won a million dollars and even started your own restaurant. So what’s next? Why, writing a book of course! In order to do so, you have to go back to school and learn some new recipes.

The characters are nothing special and the only memorable one is the French guy. You don’t even see what the character you play looks like or learn anything about their background, all you know is that he or she wants to cook. Therefore, it’s you; only instead of saving the world (like you’re usually doing in video games), you’re making food. Don’t worry; as tvtropes.org will tell you, it’s much better than it sounds. No, the game doesn’t have a page on that website; I’m just not sure if I have the rights to say that. Well, that and the website has pretty much ruined my life.

Each section of the game has you focusing on a certain type of food with a list of recipes. There are a number of steps to complete each recipe and you even get to read a fact about the food you’re trying to make. After you’re done with all the recipes, you get to take a few exams. Don’t panic, you just have to do a certain mini-game and you can earn up to five stars based on how well you do it. That’s also how the game rewards you for how well you do a recipe. It’s like cooking except you don’t have to wash your hands after certain steps. In addition, you don’t feel gross after doing certain steps in recipes. There can be 5 steps or 15 depending on the recipe. You will also recognize some of the food, as I’m sure some of you have actually had it in real life.

This game is fun and addictive. I give it 7 out of 10; it’s like having your own virtual kitchen. A little warning, you might want to eat some of the food, so do not play if you are on a strict diet.

Vampire Saga: Break Out

A creature is loose in Hell Lock and it’s transforming the citizens into monsters. The only one who can stop it is a doctor who’s lost his daughter to that very creature.

I swear this is Big Fish Games own series of horror movies. It doesn’t matter if the first one was amazing; they just get worse with each passing game. At this point, there’s nothing even connecting it to the first two games. None of the characters are the same and there is no mention of previous events. They just stuck Vampire Saga on the game because they can. The plot is also very cheap and there is nothing great about the characters, they just exist.

The game play is the standard hidden object game, you go to scenes to collect different items and only get one. In this game, the pictures of what you need to get are around a certain object in the scene and you have to drag each item to each picture. When you’re done, you get a new item. You also have an unlimited number of hints and there will be backtracking in the game. Oh, and did I mention that you can use the items in your inventory to progress to different scenes?

The plot and characters are nothing special, but the game’s addictive. I give it 4 out of 10, not much that makes it very special.

Wedding Dash

Quinn dreams of having her very own wedding, but once again is asked to be a bridesmaid. When her friend’s wedding planner cancels, she decides to take the job.

Wedding Dash is a spinoff of Diner Dash. Only this game has more character interaction, particularly between Quinn and the star of Diner Dash, Flo. Despite their friendship, those two girls couldn’t be more different. Flo is quite content with her career as a restaurateur while Quinn will never be happy until she marries. There are even conversations Quinn and Flo have between levels. Little by little, Quinn becomes more and more happy planning weddings and less depressed about being single.

The game plays out like Diner Dash, except the guests have names. Instead of leaving when they’re angry, 50 points are deducted from your score. You deliver their gifts to the happy couple, give the guests appetizers, then dinner and finally dessert. Before the level can begin, you have to decide three things for the happy couple. If you guess them all right, you get 300 points before beginning the next level. You have to hit the target goal in order to advance, but you can try to get the expert score if you want to.

This game does have funny characters and the game play is very addictive. I give this game 8 out of 10, a perfect spinoff of Diner Dash.

Coffee Rush

The evil Smokestack has opened his own chain of coffee shops, all with horrible and over priced coffee. To stop him, you must bring good coffee back to the world.

The whole plot sounds like a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon show and that’s exactly what it is. The characters try to stop Smokestack while he just strokes his beard and gloats. Personally, I don’t think you’re supposed to take the plot seriously. So, I’ll be forgiving of this for that reason. Also, Smokestacks is an overpriced coffee shop with bad coffee, sound familiar?

The game play is a mixture between match 3 and time management. Not only do you have to match three objects together, you have to serve each customer their order before time runs out. After the level, you can purchase all sorts of upgrades for your shop. Of course, in this game, not only do you have a set goal each level, you also have an expert goal to reach and a super goal. The higher goal you get, the more coins you have to purchase upgrades.

The plot’s cheesy (as it’s meant to be), but the game itself is addictive. I give this game 5 out of 10.

Jane’s Hotel

Jane dreams of owning her own five star hotel one day. In order to achieve this dream, she is constantly renovating her hotel so she can win the best hotel in town award.

Again, plot’s simple and there’s not a whole lot to say about the characters, so I’m going straight to game play. As usual, we have our typical time management game. Your job is to keep the guests happy and you have to meet the level’s goal or you won’t pass. After you complete the level, you can purchase upgrades in order to help make your hotel more beautiful. When you’ve purchased all the upgrades, you just have to get your hotel to 100% popularity so you can buy one extra star for your hotel until you get all five.

Not really much of a plot, but the game is addictive. I give it 6 out of 10, fun and, like Diner Dash, the beginning of a new line of games.

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