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Flo To The Rescue
Play First brings gamers another entry in one of the most popular and recognizable casual, time-management series, ever. Diner Dash 5: Boom! Is a title well suited for the latest game in the series, which sees Flo being thrown back into the mind-wrecking fray of serving customers as fast as possible while all sorts of ridiculous gimmicks and hazards try to stand in the way of her and her friends’ success.
The newest game isn’t leaps and bounds more advanced than previous Diner Dash games, but it does offer up some better and more streamlined playing mechanics, as well as slight options for customization. The plot revolves around Flo’s diner being completely demolished after too many customers crowd in and tear the place down; it all happens in result of a saboteur giving the general public the impression that the diner will give out free breakfast. After the fall of the diner it’s up to players to make enough cash to rebuild the diner bigger and better than before.
For gamers who love the Diner Dash series there is definitely good news in store within the review, however for non-fans of the series I can’t say there’s a whole lot there to keep you entertained for more than an hour or two.
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Time-management games are nothing new and ultimately the only thing that can extend their lifespan is the depth of the gameplay or additional features that expand on the core concepts. In the case of Diner Dash 5 everything that players loved from the original is still intact, only this time there are a few additional customization features that make an appearance, such as being able to outfit the reconstruction of the diner with various accessories that are unlocked as players progress through various levels or gaining access to new in-game inventory as players progress through each stage.
While the advancement and level-up tactic adds a small measure of depth to each segment throughout the game, it’s ultimately a repetitive feature that provides a mild sense of depth to the overall game. It’s not terrible, not by a long shot. But Diner Dash 5 only enhances the concept of time-management for about as far as The Serpent of Isis enhances the concept of the hidden-object puzzle genre, which is only by a slight margin.
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Players spend most of their time clicking on customers, clicking on tables and being overly stressed on making sure customers don’t bail while waiting in line or getting frustrated at a table. While it seems like a simple game to play the fact of the matter is that Diner Dash 5 is actually a very challenging game. Not only is the game challenging but it’s also engaging. I liked that it’s an easily accessible game that offers players a simple game design that manages to stay fresh enough for newcomers to find some enjoyment in it but maintains enough of its classic core design to keep fans happy.
The only thing is that the later levels can become more intense and stress-inducing than they are fun. I suppose gamers who get to the point where they’re sweating and yelling at the screen more than they are smiling and having fun should just throw in the towel for a bit.
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It would be difficult to say that there aren’t enough levels, because there happens to be more than 50 levels that span 5 various stages. The only problem comes in with the repetition factors for each stage that sort of sees players repeating the same thing over.
The weather and environmental hazards that include rain, wind or water pipes bursting usually involve the same remedies and it’s just a matter of getting there in time. Some of the quirks that do add replay are the various customers and their unique requirements for diner satisfaction. Players having to keep customers from being hypnotized by clowns or waiting on time-sensitive business personnel makes for some interesting encounters and that adds to the overall replay values.
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One of the standout presentation features of Diner Dash 5: Boom! Is that all the cut-scenes are handled really well. Now this isn’t a Sierra classic or a triple-A Sony title like Heavenly Sword, so there’s no sense going in expecting some outlandish performance by the likes of Andy Serkis. Instead, the game keeps things simple and the story motivated and moving along between specific levels by interspersing simple, cartoony cut-scenes into the picture that help players feel like they’re actually making progress in rebuilding the diner.
Visually, the game is about on par with other Diner Dash or Play First titles -- there’s possibly a few more background objects with animations or movement, but everything is still kept within the simplistic Diner Dash visual aesthetic. The soundtrack isn’t half bad either, but most of the tunes stay within the minimalist margin of carrying enough of a repetitive melody just to keep up with the pace of the gameplay, but there’s nothing here worth comparing to Nobuo Uematsu.
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Diner Dash 5: Boom! Isn’t a bad addition to the series and is bound to keep itself popular amongst the millions of fans of the series. The additional customization features present in-between levels such as decorating the service environment or adding small but noticeable touches to the reconstructed diner are excellent nuances in the playability department. Other notable features include the Facebook Friends feature that allows players to log-in to Facebook while in the game and keep in touch with friends who may also play Diner Dash, as well as the story-relevant cut-scenes that eventually unveils a nefarious plot against Flo and her friends.
Gamers who had a tough time getting into the time management genre may not find anything wholly unique or original about Diner Dash 5: Boom!, but if Flo and her diner-related exploits is what you consider real gaming then you’ll probably deeply enjoy the latest outing.