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iPhone game review: Diner Dash

Victor Agreda Jr
Victor Agreda Jr|January 28, 2010 2:30 PM

Diner Dash
[iTunes Link], the popular and addicting time-management PC game by Playfirst has made its way to the iPhone. In this game, you play Flo, an entrepreneur who ditched her dayjob to fulfill her dream of restaurant ownership. The game begins with Flo working in a dumpy greasy spoon, but as you progress through the levels and earn more money, upgrades become available, leading Flo to her ultimate goal: Running a thriving restaurant empire. Here's an iPhone game overview and review of Diner Dash.

Gameplay: As customers enter the cafe, Flo must arrange seating, take orders, serve food, drop off bills, and bus tables -- all while monitoring everyone's happiness. A simple premise, but as you progress through the levels, gameplay becomes more difficult -- more demanding customers, more tables, and higher daily financial goals.

To pass a level, you must meet the cash goal. Earn cash when customers are seated, served, and given appetizers and desserts. At the end of their meal, customers tip Flo based on their happiness level, indicated by the heart meter. Like most time management games, chaining (completing the same action in a row) and color matching (matching a customer's clothing color to the seat) earns you extra cash.

If you get bored with the levels, try your luck at the Endless Shift mode. Endless Shift has a nonstop stream of customers coming through the door and ends when too many people get angry and storm out.

: Diner Dash is an excellent fit for the iPhone's touchscreen interface. Dragging customers to their seats with your finger and tapping to queue Flo's actions is simple and intuitive. Trying to switch customer seating arrangements to activate the color-matching bonus is tricky and takes time to master, but otherwise, game control is easy.

Graphics and music:For a cartoon game, the graphics, animations, and music are all well-done. Don't like the music? Select "iPod Music" option on the main menu to listen to your own tunes.

Diner Dash fans might be disappointed to learn that the iPhone adaptation is the same as the PC game. However, priced at only $4.99 -- a bargain compared to the PC game's $19.99 price tag -- you might not mind replaying the game on a mobile device.

Diner Dash is the perfect game to pick up when you have a few minutes to spare. Passing a level typically takes about three to five minutes, so there's not a lot of time commitment involved. But once you play one level, you'll think, "Just one more...", and the next thing you know, two hours have passed!

Diner Dash is available for purchase in the iTunes store.