Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Diner Dash: Flo on the Go (DS) artwork

Diner Dash: Flo on the Go (DS) review


"I can blast Martians, win illegal street races and save the realm from powerful sorcerers like nobody's business, but I'll come up short nearly every time when I'm asked to help a soccer mom find a quiet place to eat a meal as a couple with a screaming baby makes its presence known at an adjacent table. There are several distinct environments to conquer, but I struggled just to reach the second venue, a mere ten stages into what proved to be a much larger game."



It sounds like something from a made-for-television movie: food service worker Flo and her good friend are about to board a cruise ship for a fabulous vacation when they suffer the misfortune of losing their luggage. At the same time, the captain of the ship realizes that he has no real way to staff his naval diner. He offers ticket refunds and enough cash to purchase new wardrobes if the two young ladies agree to help him out of his predicament. Thus begins Diner Dash: Flo on the Go, a game that leads Flo and her friend through one unlikely situation after another as they serve their way to a real vacation.

Forget the ridiculous plot, which only manages to get worse as it proceeds and Flo repeatedly loses her precious luggage. I'm not entirely sure why anyone even bothered to produce a narrative, anyway. All that you really need to know is that there are more customers and that Flo needs to feed them.

Even if you've never played a Diner Dash game before, a summary of the control scheme should be sufficient to bring you up to speed. To control Flo, you simply tap points on the screen and the nimble waitress will scurry over to tables, cleaning tools, counters and a dishwasher. Customers can be led to available tables in the same manner, orders can be taken, food served, dishes washed and spills cleaned. Path finding works perfectly and you can queue up several commands at once. As long as you're clicking the proper points on the screen, you should have no issues at all with the controls.

Visuals are for the most part cut from the same cloth. The handful of environments is portrayed with appropriate attention to detail. Nothing that you'll see here is particularly stunning, but it doesn't need to be. Flo is animated nicely. Customers cycle through several appropriate frames in a polished--and usually belligerent--manner. Even little details like water spills and half-eaten grub are rendered lovingly. Years from now, I suspect that playing this game will feel much the same as it does today, thanks in part to the excellent art direction.

So, just how much fun is it to play Flo on the Go? That's where evaluation grows more difficult. I say that because when I play the game, I find myself getting angrier by the second and I eventually have to go do something else so that I can relax. The many other people who have made the franchise such a success at retail clearly don't share that experience.

The problem for me is that the game demands too much of me. I can blast Martians, win illegal street races and save the realm from powerful sorcerers like nobody's business, but I'll come up short nearly every time when I'm asked to help a soccer mom find a quiet place to eat a meal as a couple with a screaming baby makes its presence known at an adjacent table. There are several distinct environments to conquer, but I struggled just to reach the second venue, a mere ten stages into what proved to be a much larger game. Too many customers arrive too quickly and too many steps are required to satisfy each one of them. Under my control, Flo runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, refusing to help her increasingly agitated customers. There's always a reason (usually, I'm carrying a few small plates and don't even notice it because I'm so busy focusing on customers), but the end result is that I fail a stage and have to make another attempt.

Even when I manage to feed all of my customers and collect payment before they head out the door, which happens less frequently as I advance through the later stages, I'll sometimes miss my target revenue for a given stage by hundreds or thousands of dollars. Standard service isn't enough in this game. You also need to gain tip multipliers by performing the same action for several consecutive customers, or by seating a red-clothed woman in a red seat and a green-clad boy in a green chair or whatever else the game decides is worth a reward.

When I do manage to clear a stage, there's no guarantee that I'll even see any sort of reward. Sometimes, the game lets the player select from meaningless upgrades that don't appear to impact anything. At least games like Cake Mania provided something tangible. Here, you'll see a view of the restaurant and nothing will happen until you tap on the screen for awhile and receive a message that you can upgrade some lawn chairs or flowers. What does that even accomplish? The game never says. Then there are the opportunities to change Flo's outfit, but the small screen makes it difficult to care once you leave the menu. Cosmetic changes don't count for a whole lot when you have to squint to even notice them. That's my theory.

If I weren't so horrible at the game, I'm fairly certain that I'd like it a great deal more. There's a definite sense of satisfaction that comes from each successful attempt to clear a given stage. I also like those occasional moments where I'm playing and I fall into a groove that leads to a ludicrously high score. If I were able to reproduce such triumphs with a higher success rate, if completing a stage felt more like a skill-based pursuit and less like random luck, I'd probably like Diner Dash: Flo on the Go almost as much as the numerous people who don't share my casual gaming limitations. Until that happens, though, consider me unimpressed. Odds are good that I'll never know firsthand if Flo finally recovers and manages to keep her luggage, and I'm okay with that.

Rating: 5/10

honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (January 03, 2010)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

More Reviews by Jason Venter
Super Toy Cars (Wii U) artwork
Super Toy Cars (Wii U)

The mini-car racer is still a fun concept, but Super Toy Cars is neither refined enough nor interesting enough to justify your time and money.
Shovel Knight (Wii U) artwork
Shovel Knight (Wii U)

An attempt to revive old school sensibilities that works much better than similar efforts often do.
ReignMaker (PC) artwork
ReignMaker (PC)

It's a real shame the quality of the hybrid gameplay doesn't match the genius of the game's clever title.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Diner Dash: Flo on the Go review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Diner Dash: Flo on the Go is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Diner Dash: Flo on the Go, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.