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Cake Mania 2

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Sandlot Games
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

If you're like me, you've probably played Cake Mania on MSN games or maybe on the DS. Well even if not, it was so well liked that the makers gave us a sequel, Cake Mania 2. This time, Jill has quite a few people who need her help!

I guess Jill isn't very creative with stores, or maybe she just really likes the current setup. Whatever the reason, her store layout looks just like it did before. The locations, though, each have their own feel to them. You can add a TV, which I don't remember being in the previous game. There are also some new and quite interesting looking customers. I like the fact that they took the time to create several different types of people to come into the shop. I also liked that all the worlds look different. Even though it's the same layout, you don't get bored of it.

The background music isn't anything special, but it's not annoying, which is really good. I like that you can tell what is going on by the sound effects. When someone comes in, you get a door jingle. The oven timer dings when the cake is done. The froster makes a spraying sound when it is running, so when that stops, you know it is done. All the sounds make it much easier to play without having to keep an eye on everything at once.


Gameplay:

In Cake Mania 2 you are playing as Jill, a baker. In the first one, she took over her grandmother's bakery and made it profitable again. Now, she has several friends that need her help. At the beginning, she has to choose whether to help her college friend Risha on the rooftop in her fancy bakery or to help her ex Jack, who is drowning in his underwater shop. It really doesn't matter which you choose to do first. After you finish helping them, it will unlock a new place to visit. You can go to it first, or go back and help the one you didn't choose the first time. If you want to go back and replay any specific month of any place, all you have to do is choose that place and tap on the month you want to play.

There are quite a few very different places that you can go to. There's 204 levels total, so that's a whole lot of cakes for you to bake. Since you're running a bakery, baking cakes to please customers is what it's all about in Cake Mania 2. When the customers come in, you hand them a menu and wait on their order. Based on where you're at, there are different shaped cakes to bake. After they tell you what they want (shown in a picture by their heads), you set about making it. You have to make the cake exactly the same as what they want. If you make any little mistake, like the wrong shape, they won't accept it.

So your cakes can be made of one of six different shapes, six different colors, and 8 different cake toppers. They can be one or two levels high. There are also cookies that you can bake. These will increase your customer's happiness so they're more patient waiting on the cakes. You work in each location for a year (12 months). At the end of each month, your profits are tallied up. If you have reached your goal, you go on to the next month. There is also a Superstar goal you can reach if you make enough profits. At the end of the year, you move on to another location, because there's always someone else who needs help!

At the end of each month, you can use the money you've earned to buy upgrades. There are 3 oven upgrades, 3 froster upgrades, 4 cake topper upgrades (available only after you've bought all of the toppers), a TV with several upgrades, and you can even upgrade Jill herself. Well really, you're upgrading her tennis shoes to make her move faster. All these are necessary to buy as soon as you can to keep your ever-demanding customers happy.


Difficulty:

Cake Mania 2 is pretty easy, at the beginning. I made it through the first 2 locations and I only had to replay one of the months to get the superstar goal on it. The rest I achieved on the first try. Once you get in a groove of passing out menus and pressing all the buttons in a loop, it's really very easy. At least until things start moving faster and you have to deal with the toppers.

The cake display stand helped me more than anything. See, on the small DS screen, it is very hard to tell which shape they want when there is a cake topper on it. Some of them are harder than others. Quite a few of the toppers, especially the heart and the pagoda, look very much alike too. If you don't look carefully, you'll make the wrong one. When you do though, you can take that cake and put it on the display stand. There is a 20% chance that the customers will request it, so it's already made for them. That way, I almost never lost money, even if I made the wrong cake. You just have to make the right one really quickly so the original customer doesn't leave!

After you're past the first 2 or 3 worlds, you're going to notice that things are getting more and more difficult. The looping method just doesn't work anymore. I found that when you have all the upgrades, it's almost easier to just make one person's cake at a time. Because it only takes 2 seconds or so for each step, you can usually keep the customers happy and make fewer mistakes than if you're trying to run around everywhere too quickly.


Game Mechanics:

Everything in Cake Mania 2 is done with the stylus and the touch screen, other than changing the TV channel. You move Jill around by tapping on the area that you want to go to. To hand a customer a menu, tap on them. To bake a cake, tap the button of the shape you want to bake. Tap on the cake to pick it up, tap on the color you want to frost it, etc. I think you've got the picture, right?

To choose upgrades, just tap on whatever your choice is. If you want to upgrade Jill to make her faster, you tap on her and then you're given the option to do so. The one thing that is done by buttons is changing the TV channel. To change it, you use the (Shoulder) buttons. You'll notice that it doesn't stay on all month, so you will have to continually change the channel to keep it on.

Overall, I was pleased with Cake Mania 2. It is a little harder to play than the PC version simply because of the screen size. You have to be more careful where you tap, and you really have to look twice and three times at the shapes to make sure you're making the right thing. But even with these problems, I enjoyed it greatly. If you like the other versions, I would recommend you go buy this now!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Nintendo Wii WALL-E Nintendo DS Mega Man Starforce 2: Zerker X Ninja

 
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