Dead Hungry Diner|
When I approached Dead Hungry Diner, I was expecting a monster-themed Diner Dash clone. What I got was a fast-paced, frantic, and just plain fun new take on casual restaurant management puzzle games. Like Diner Dash, the game involves running a restaurant where you seat patrons, take their orders, deliver their orders, then collect your payment and clean up tables. However, in this game, your guests are ghoulish monsters. Youíll be serving zombies, angry zombies, vampires, werewolves, banshees, and ogres. By serving them buckets of brainberries, you sate their hunger and keep them from attacking the villagers, as well as earning a tidy profit.
The differences go beyond simple aesthetics. Dead Hungry Diner starts off relatively calmly as you learn how to play, but the pace and complexity is much more involved. Zombies are easy to please, but angry zombies are much less patient, and must be dealt with quickly. Vampires and werewolves hate each other, so you canít seat any of them in adjacent tables without them breaking into a fight, which never ends well for you. Banshees and ogres also share a similar dislike for each other, but theyíre at least as impatient as the angry zombies. Keeping all of these customers happy and fed will keep you busy, but you have a number of powers at your disposal.
Dead Hungry Dinerís spells are straightforward. Theyíre purchasable from a shop that appears in between levels, and theyíll let you do things like swap patrons from different tables around, teleport from table to table, make customers happier, and other useful tricks. Several levels exist for every spell, so you can upgrade them as you make your way through the game. For the most part, these upgrades simply reduce the cool down time before you can use that particular spell again, but in a game like this, every second counts.
As far as visuals go, this game works out pretty well. The sprites are vivid and colorful, and everything pops out nicely. Each type of customer looks visually distinct, and although this game doesnít exactly have fancy polygons or shader effects, it doesnít really need them. There are only a couple downsides here. The first is that the portraits of the characters during story sequences are a bit around the edges. The second is that the actual animations are a bit lacking. Most of the animations cycle between two or three frames. This isnít really much of an issue, since itís a simple game to begin with, but a few specific animations that invoke more involved actions (such as the bouncer hurling a certain unwanted guest out) end up looking a bit shoddy.
The sound effects, on the other hand, are superb. I didnít expect anything out of the music, but all the tracks are solid affairs, fully played with real instruments and possessing a sense of whimsy and a slight bit of Halloween spirit. Every type of creature has its own sound indicating that itís shown up, is ready to order, has finished eating, or just generally needs attention, which makes it easier to tell when somethingís happening while your eyes are focused elsewhere.
For $9, Dead Hungry Diner offers a solid value for your dollar. Itíll take about four hours to get through the main story mode, but you wonít max out all of your spells the first time through, nor will you probably earn a perfect rank in every level. If thatís not enough, the game also features an endless mode with five different stages based on areas in the story mode. If you have a few minutes or hours that you just want to burn through, Dead Hungry Diner is perfectly suited for the job.