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Cake Mania: Back to the Bakery

Score: 92%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sandlot Games
Developer: Sandlot Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Jill is back and ready to rock in Cake Mania: Bake to the Bakery. It seems that after she saved gran and gramps' bakery, a baking contest opened up and she aims to win the grand prize,a Hawaiian vacation, for her grandparents. Her main competition is a froo-froo French bakery called Le Gateau. To keep up, she has to redecorate the entire bakery and that takes dough -- well, money actually.

This go round, as you progress, you will begin to make modifications to the bakery and they will show up in real time between levels. There are decor additions, a new red carpet for the customers, marble counters, etc. And once the changes are made, they persist.

In addition to all of the crazy characters from the original Cake Mania, you have a few new faces. Uncle Sam is the most notable new addition. He is very impatient. "Uncle Sam Wants You ...to bake him a cake!"

Sound effects and background music remain pretty much the same as in the first game, but that's a good thing. And since you stay in the same shop, you don't have the locale change. Instead, you are remodeling one location by changing the paint color, adding new decorative items, etc.


Just as in the original Cake Mania, Cake Mania: Back to the Bakery has you running around the shop waiting on customers, baking/frosting/decorating cakes, delivering the orders to the customers and picking up the money -- all at the same time. Multiple customers will come in at or around the same time and you've got to keep up. Not only that, you've got to figure out who is impatient and who is not and wait on them accordingly.

Once again, as you make your monetary goal each month, you'll hopefully have made enough money to purchase upgrades and new kitchen gadgets. Do I buy a faster oven or an extra froster? Using a little strategy when you make your purchases will go a long way in progressing in the game. For instance, if you buy a cake topper, people will request it and that will take additional time when you are working on their order. But if you don't get the topper, you may not hit your money goal that month. Decisions, decisions.

As before, your customers wear their hearts on their sleeve -- well, sort of. Next to them is a series of hearts. The more hearts, the more patient the customer. Traditionally, the young boys, the Cupids and Easter Bunnies are the most impatient. Oh, and the Bridezillas can get pretty antsy too. You'll want to hurry their orders along. Old ladies carrying dogs in their arms usually are very kind and patient. As time goes by, the hearts will deplete. Get down to zero and you've lost a customer. Maybe even in the middle of preparing their order! Then you're stuck with a cake no one wants and you could have a loss that month. Tip: Buy a cake stand to display those screw-ups and maybe someone will buy them.


Cake Mania: Back to the Bakery bounces along at a nice clip, difficulty-wise. It starts off nice and easy and then gets increasingly harder. As you progress through "levels", things wil get fairly intolerable, but once you complete that last, crazy level, it wil drop back down to reasonable monetary goals and get a little easier. So they do give you a break with that.

The further you get, the more customers will come -- and they like to throw tough orders at you. Keeping it all straight in your head can be tough since you may have 6 cakes to do, all with 2 layers. If the game gets too stressful and you think you are about to blow it, you can click offscreen and the game will pause. You can take a breather and mentally line up what you need to do next. It's saved my skin quite a few times.

Game Mechanics:

Simple point and click is the name of the game in Cake Mania: Back to the Bakery. Click the customer to hand them a menu, click the correct shape on the oven to start a cake baking, click the finished cake to pick it up, click the appropriate frosting color on the froster, click the appropriate topper if required and click to drop it to the correct customer. Oh and click the moolah to pick it up. It's as easy as pie, ...errr cake.

What isn't easy is keeping all of the orders straight in your head and clicking on the correct frosting color or topper. It's easy to not click exactly where you need to and then Jill merely sets the cake down or worse yet, wanders around the kitchen holding the unfrosted cake as you send her to do another task! Do watch this and you will save yourself quite a headache.

If you liked Cake Mania, you'll definitely like Cake Mania: Back to the Bakery. It's more of the same frantic-type fun of the original, just with a new storyline, new look and some new customers. Personally, I had a blast with both games and at around $20, who can pass it up? Go check out Sandlot Games' website for a free demo if you are still not sure, but it's well worth the money.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP; Pentium 2 400 MHz; 128 MB of RAM (256 MB recommended); DirectX 7 or above; 3D Hardware Accelerated Video Card with 32MB Video RAM; Internet Explorer 5.0+

Test System:

P4 1.8 GHz, 480 MB Ram, Integrated Sound and Video

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