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Jessica's Bow Wow Bistro

Score: 83%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Gamers Digital
Developer: Game Brains
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle (Time Management)/ Strategy/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Jessica's Bow Wow Bistro is a time management title much like Diner Dash, only you will be baking and serving doggie treats. Jessica, the main character, is a cute and bubbly redhead who decides to open her Bow Wow Bistro, since she wants pet owners to have a healthy alternative for feeding treats to their pets. With the help of her kind Aunt Margaret, they open the shop for business.

The graphics are bright and colorful and it is also pretty easy to see exactly what you need to do to either craft treats or prepare food items for the owners of the dogs. You'll begin with a few basic doggie creations, and then your menu will greatly expand to include food for the humans as well.

There will be many different customers that will grace Jessica's shop, including a policeman, an elderly lady and gentleman, several young men and women of different ages and types, and a socialite. Each one is easy to distinguish, has their own breed of dog, and they each have their own idiosyncrasies.

The background music is peppy and pleasant and the sound effects do the job. You'll hear bells when the food you've ordered from Aunt Margaret is ready, and you'll hear beeps when your equipment has prepped the food. Andy, your helper dog, will bark to let you know he is there to help, but your human assistant is fairly silent.


There are 55 levels in Jessica's Bow Wow Bistro set in 5 different locations, although the kitchens in each don't look much different. When you complete the levels and move to a new location, there is a cut scene, but not much else in the way of fanfare. Because of this, I kept plugging through and never really thought about working my way through the areas, just the levels within them. Any upgrades you purchase along the way stay, so as you progress, you don't have to repurchase upgrades, which is a good thing, but more on upgrades in Game Mechanics.

You'll begin a level by being shown the treats you'll be working with for the day. There may be two or three different types and you'll see the basic recipe, but if you forget the steps, there is also a small picture of each treat on their respective baskets for serving. Since you have a little bit of time before the customers start piling in, it's a good idea to make as many treats beforehand as you can, to save time when you are bustling around serving customers. You'll have a batter prep machine that forms the cookies, ovens to bake them, frosters to frost them and decoration machines for touches like flowers and sprinkles. Each froster will have 3 types of frosting to select from and, typically, two will be of the same color. The same goes for the decoration machine. Sometimes, in the heat of prepping a lot of treats at once, you can accidentally push the wrong color button, so I think they threw this in to increase the challenge a bit. Once the customers begin coming in, you'll serve them the type of treat(s) they request in the word bubble above their head, along with any food item the human counterpart would like. There are dozens of different treats available and four basic food items. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, fish and chips and a breakfast plate are the options and Aunt Margaret will prep them for you. One tip is to go ahead and make one of every item before the customers arrive. You don't get docked points for pre-prepping the human food since I guess the customers don't notice the food has been sitting, which is great.

The customers have hearts that represent their patience level and different customers are more or less patient, depending on their particular attitude. Some are also better or worse tippers, as well. As you deliver treats and collect money, Andy the helper dog's meter will fill and, when it gets full, you can click on him and he will serve customers for you. He won't get yogurt cones, which is a later food item you can add, and he won't bake/frost treats or collect money, but he will serve treats and food which can be a big help. You'll also get a human assistant who will groom the dogs while they wait in line to remove fleas and also pick up poop when a dog gets excited and leaves a present on the floor. Unfortunately, she isn't a self-starter and you must click on her to activate her.

Once you have completed the levels in a given area, the final level will be a bake sale in the park where Jessica and Andy will rapid-fire serve customers from 5 pre-made treat baskets and birds will try to light on the food and you and Andy must shoo them away. Fortunately, Jessica can pick up two trays to serve and then, when you click on another tray, she will set the tray she doesn't need back in its spot automatically, so you don't have to bring that tray back.


There is no difficulty level selection in Jessica's Bow Wow Bistro, so what you see is what you get. I must admit that I wailed through the game pretty quickly and the only reason I didn't write this review up sooner is because I wanted to bake one of the treats from the included recipes, so that took a little longer. The game starts off easily enough, but once you get into the more complicated dog treats, things can get hairy. If you have a basic treat that simply requires a frosting, you can hurry up and bake a bunch of those before your customers start filing in. However, towards the end of the game, you may have three treats to prepare and each one could have frosting and a design, which takes longer to apply. I honestly don't think I failed one level in the entire game, so overall, it was fairly easy for skilled time management players.

Game Mechanics:

In Jessica's Bow Wow Bistro, I mentioned you can purchase upgrades between levels. You can purchase additional equipment, as well as upgrades to make your existing equipment run faster. While you can only have two of each machine, once you have everything maxed out on speed and efficiency, you can really get things done. Aside from the functional upgrades, you can also choose decorations which will increase your customers' patience or tips.

One thing that I really liked about Jessica's Bow Wow Bistro was the fact that the developers really had a message behind the game and you could see there were more than a few dog lovers on the dev team; not only did dog-based sayings from over the years appear in the loading screen before levels, but each dog treat that you create within the game unlocks an actual recipe that you can easily save to your computer and then print out to later make for your own pooch. Since 64 recipes, some complicated and some pretty easy, there's something everyone can attempt. The message behind the game is all about healthy snacks for your dogs. A lot of people don't know that certain foods, like onions and grapes, are poisonous to your beloved canine family member and I like that this game taught players about these things. In looking at the recipes, they seem to adhere to these rules and include only healthy ingredients that are dog-safe (at least the ones I looked at did - there are a lot and I didn't read every one). I even made a fairly simple recipe for the Pumpkin Delights treat and the recipe was easy to follow and my dog loved the treats. In fact, I tried one myself, because after all, if you wouldn't eat it, you shouldn't expect your dog to eat it, and you know what? They were pretty darn good. However, I did notice some errors in several of the recipes such that they changed the names of the food items from the recipe list to the actual recipe. In other words, if the item list called for beef, it might say liver later on down in the recipe. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning.

Control is done with clicking the mouse on the various equipment to prepare the items, then clicking the baskets of treats to fill them or pick them up to deliver them to customers. If you pick up two baskets of treats and then need a third different type, Jessica will set one basket down, but if you have two in your hands and then go to pick up a hamburger, she goes all the way to the counter and says her hands are full. This also happens sometimes when you accidentally pick up unbaked treats or batter when you were attempting to put them in the oven or apply frosting, but for whatever reason, the click didn't "take" and it can be frustrating.

There is a green-faced clock with a quarter of the clock face in red in the top left-hand corner to show when the shop will close, but because of the odd choice in colors, you have to scrutinize it a bit to see what time it is. I wish they had opted to have a fully green clock when you open, with the red slowly taking over as the time the shop is open passes. This would have been a terrific visual cue that you could have easily seen with peripheral vision.

Overall, Jessica's Bow Wow Bakery is a fun romp for lovers of time management. While a bit on the easy side, it's still a good time and I like the focus on dogs. If you want to try it out, check out the one hour trial version. I was able to get through a good part of the first area in the trial period, so you can easily see whether it will be something you'll like.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 7/Windows Vista/Windows XP, 1 GHz Pentium 3 or equivalent, 1GB RAM, DirectX 9.0

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:

Sony PlayStation Portable Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles Microsoft Xbox 360 Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated