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Diner Dash 5: BOOM!

Score: 97%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: PlayFirst
Developer: Big Fish Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Strategy/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Flo is back at it again in Diner Dash 5: BOOM!, this time having to rebuild her diner following an unfortunate "accident" involving too many customers at once brought on by a scheming Mr. Big, who is after Flo's land. While her diner is being rebuilt by Hal and his boys, Flo is forced to move about Dinertown, serving folks in different locales, while collecting Hal's various workers so they can finish her rebuild. Flo will serve folks outside of her diner location on Avenue Flo, then move on to Squid Row, then Thyme Square, Dinertown University, then finally back to her new and improved diner location. The patrons at each location will vary, but expect to see familiar faces over the course of your journey. You'll get the lumberjack looking guys which are Hal's workers, the business ladies, the bookworms, the elderly folks, the cell phone users, the joggers, the tourists, the clowns and so on. The one new patron type that I noticed were the lawyers, who are absolutely hysterical. Seated in a table surrounded by other patron types, they behave quite nicely, but seat them next to another table of lawyers and all they do is argue continually, loudly, disturbing the other diners. It's really funny. The sounds they make sound like "rahrahrah" much like Lil' Cheney, if you ever watched that cartoon Lil' Bush. Funny stuff.

The sound effects and music are typical Diner Dash fare and there's nothing unexpected here. Pleasant cooking sounds and diners trying to get your attention is what you have here, with music appropriate to the area playing in the background. There's an upbeat tune that plays for Avenue Flo and in the Menu and Map screens, then carnival-type music at Squid Row since there's a circus in town, jazzy yet subtle tunes while you are in Thyme Square, and something akin to college fight songs playing while you are at Dinertown U. Finally, there's Flo's Diner, with the upbeat tune again.

The voicework, as always, is really endearing and cute. I always watch the little cut scenes that further the story because I like Flo's voicework and her attitude. It's just a fun little game all the way around.


Diner Dash 5: BOOM! follows the typical gameplay scenario of a typical Dash game, but of course, new twists are added into the mix. Flo will have to contend with various elements (weather and otherwise) like rain falling on the customers, strong winds that can blow over the tables, sparking electrical equipment that can lead to blackouts, leaves falling on outdoor tables and finally, a leaking fountain. But Flo is not powerless against these things. Initially, she'll have to attend to them herself, opening up umbrellas, tying down tablecloths and addressing minor electrical issues. She can also buy upgrades like automatic umbrellas, tied-down tables and large electrical units to handle the surges. But Hal is also around to help out. When you see things that need addressing by Hal, you'll also spot his outline right by the problem area, and he'll be somewhere else on screen, always far away from the issue at hand. Stop what you are doing and drag Hal to his outline and he'll solve the problem. If you don't, your diners will get quite angry.

In addition to seating customers, taking their orders, delivering their food, and filling their drinks and such, Flo will once again try to color match customers and their clothing to matching chairs, boosting her money earned. Depending on the area, there will be different extras offered like a popcorn machine, pretzels, etc. and customers will request these as well, so you'd better be sure to bring them out. Since so many diners will be clamoring to eat at Flo's, she'll have to improvise with extra seating for large groups. She might have a group of 8 on top of the fire escape, on top of a large bus, underneath a tree, in some bleachers or even around a fountain.

Another new addition to gameplay is the act of reuniting friends or "Townies" so they can dine together. A group of locals may come up and you'll see that one member of the party is merely a shadowed outline. Well, if you look around the screen, you'll see that a lone member of that same type of diner has appeared and if you drag them over and reunite them with their friends, you'll score even more points. Sometimes there will be two outlines per group, so you'll want to notice how the colored chairs are arranged and drag the loners over in the right order to be able to match them to the chairs correctly for maximum bonus points. If you miss seating a Townie, it won't hurt your score, so they are there purely to give you bonus points.

There are 5 Areas that Flo will be serving in: Avenue Flo (the site of her blown-up diner), Squid Row, Thyme Square, Dinertown University and finally back at Flo's Diner. Within each location are 10 levels to complete, for a total of 50 levels in all. As you progress through the locations, you will also be making design choices for Flo's new diner, as well as making neighborhood spruce-up additions to improve the area you are currently using as your diner's location. Flo will also be able to purchase upgrades in between levels like faster shoes to help speed her up, assistants like Quinn to keep the salad bar full for the day or Karma to keep the waiting diners happy until seated. She can also purchase things to make customers order faster, to make Cookie prep the food quicker and so on. There's also a Facebook application where you can gift certain items to other friends playing Diner Dash 5: BOOM! like faster shoes, but this is pretty much the only "multiplayer" aspect. As always, Flo has a monetary Goal to meet per shift and then if she makes that, an Expert Goal will appear. Hitting the Expert Goal every time is but one of the various Medals she can earn in her quest for the best diner around.


When beginning a game of Diner Dash 5: BOOM!, you don't have a choice of whether you want the game to be Easy, Normal or Hard. However, I played the entire game through and found the difficulty to be perfect. Things were challenging, but never frustrating. I don't like a game that can't be beaten, because after all, that's what it's there for - a nice, steady pace of gameplay with a healthy dose of challenge. If you want things to be more difficult, you can replay individual levels to try to get an Expert Goal on each one for an added challenge. As you get to those final levels, they will be pretty challenging and your fingers will be flying to keep everyone satisfied.

Game Mechanics:

Just like all of the past Dash games, you'll using your mouse pretty much exclusively. You'll click on a group of patrons to seat them, slide them around in their seats to match their colors, click to pick up their orders, click to drop them off at Cookie's prep area, click to pick up the orders and drop them off at the tables and then, click to fill drinks, drop off snacks, attend to weather mishaps and so on. While in Squid Alley, a circus is going on, so you may have tables of clowns that start juggling and annoy the other patrons. Quickly run over and click them to stop their nonsense. Thyme Square is more of a bright lights, big city type of a place. When all of those lights go on the blink, Flo will have to fix the short before all the lights go out and she is forced to move around with only a spotlight as her guide. Never a dull moment when Flo is around.

The makers of Diner Dash never cease to amaze me the way they keep coming up with new and unique ways to make their games better and Diner Dash 5: BOOM!is no exception. If you've been a Dash fan in the past, pick this one up immediately. It's a no brainer.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows XP/Vista, CPU: 1.2 GHz, RAM: 256 MB, DirectX: 9.0, Hard Drive: 82 MB

Test System:

Windows Vista, 2 GHz AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core Processor, 8GB RAM, Realtek High Definition Audio On-Board Sound, NVIDIA GeForce 8300

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 How to Train Your Dragon Nintendo Wii How to Train Your Dragon

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated