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PSN Review – Diner Dash

December 6, 2009 Written by Cameron Teague

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Hudson Entertainment is at it again with yet another game on the PlayStation Network, Diner Dash.  Diner Dash is set to test your serving skills as you run your restaurant and try to make everyone happy, and in the process make some good tips.  The question is, does this game bring in the big tips, or does it leave you stiffed at the table?

Diner Dash places you in the shoes of Flo, an office worker who is tired of the daily grind and decides to run away from it all.  On her way out, she stumbles upon a restaurant and decides that this is where her future lies.  Off you are on an adventure to open up multiple stores and present the best customer service possible.

Upon starting up Flo’s career, things might seem easy as you have just a few tables, a beat up looking restaurant, and not many customers.  As you pass through levels, however, you clean up your restaurant, add new tables and start to get many more customers.  The controls in Diner Dash are about as easy as they come, with X doing almost everything.  You can quickly return to the counter with triangle and select groups of people using L2, but that’s about it.  The game looks good on the PS3, giving the diner and Flo a pretty solid look.  The animations are simple but effective in showing off customers’ frustration and joy.

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The game’s premise is pretty simple as you seat customers, take their orders, give them food, and clean up after them.  There are 5 restaurants total, with about 8-10 missions in each one.  To complete a mission, you have to reach your goal in tips for that day.  What makes this tough is that you have customers wearing different-colored outfits.  You must watch where you sit customers, because sitting a blue customer in a red seat gives you nothing, but sitting a blue in a blue seat gives you a x2 point bonus.  You must pay attention to this, as in the later levels you will need as many x2 bonuses as possible to reach your goal.  There are also different kinds of customers that you must deal with, and all of them have their own personalities.  While some might be more patient, they will tip less and vice versa.  You must pay attention to which customers are entering the store and know exactly which order you should sit them.

Another way to grab x2 bonuses is to multitask.  For example, if two tables are ready to order, you can pick up both slips and turn them in at the same time.  You want to keep everyone in your place happy, and you definitely do not want to lose customers, so you must be mindful of the hearts about each group’s head.  The longer they are kept waiting in line or ignored when ready to order, the more their hearts go down.  Once those hearts are at zero, they will leave, making you lose out on valuable tips.  To keep everyone happy, you are given drinks to hand to people at tables, or a podium to stand in front of and cheer up people in line.  This can all become a hectic mess as you try to maintain the people at the tables and the ones standing at the door.  As you go through the levels, you gain more seats as well as larger tables.  You must pay attention to which tables are open so you do not sit a party of two at a 4 person table.

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If you are looking for a quick game, and you don’t want to hop into the career mode, you can opt to go into Endless Shift mode.  In this mode, you select your restaurant from the ones you have unlocked and pick your difficulty.  The goal here is to serve the endless stream of customers for as long as you can.  You have 5 stars to work with, and every time a customer leaves angry it will cost you one star.  Once you lose all your stars, the game is over.  You are also given an upgrade bar throughout this mode that, when flashing, will allow you to upgrade something in the restaurant to improve productivity.

The game features local and online multiplayer.  Local features Co-op play and Head 2 Head.  The co-op play is in the form of an endless shift as you and your partner attempt to survive as long as you can without losing all your stars.  The Head 2 Head pits you against each other in a tip war, which is a lot of fun as you can set the tip amount.  These two features are fun, but it might have been better to let you complete the game with a friend, as the endless shift gets old fast. The online actually features a few more options, as you can play a quick match, custom game, create your own, or a private game.  You can also bring a friend online with you through the split screen.  The online also adds a team dash, which pits teams against each other to see whose restaurant can perform the best.  However, at the time of this review, I was unable to get any time in online, as there were no other players available.

While it would have been been great to have people to play with online, Diner Dash still does enough offlline to be a fun, solid game.  The game is fast paced and keeps you on your toes as you try to manage people and the tables in a race to meet your goal.  There are no glaring issues with the game, and with an added friend locally, it doubles the fun.  There is really not a lot in the way of replay value, especially with the online being a ghost town, but the single player and local multiplayer should provide you enough good times.  If you enjoy being on the tip of your toes and dealing with mobs of hungry people, then you have found a home with diner dash.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


Fun, fast paced action

Easy to pick up and enjoy

Online is dead

4 out of 5