DINER DASH: SIZZLE & SERVE / Eidos / Sony PSP
 
 
Maybe it's just the controls of the PSP, but Diner Dash seems to cross the line from "fun" to "frustrating" awfully quickly.

The game has been around for the better part of a decade now, and since it started out on PC portal sites, I'm assuming it originated with mouse control. I get the sense that this was kinda just ported to PSP as-is without tweaking it for the natural delay that scrolling through things with buttons will have, because it seems to quickly ramp up to unmanageable levels. That, or I'm just not cut out for restaurant work, which is entirely possible.

If you haven't run into it before, the game is the epic story of Flo as she impulsively quits her Wall Street job and buys an old fixer-upper diner. For some reason, she decides to basically work every position herself (exception of a shadowy cook), which is where the consternation come in. It's on-the-fly task prioritization as you have to seat customers, take their orders, deliver their food, and clear their tables.

With each level, more and more elements are introduced. As I've been avoiding this game until now under the assumption it was just another dumb casual thing for people who only play games in 5-minute bursts on their phones, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the engine. In addition to prioritizing your tasks, new customer types with their own personalities are slowly introduced as you go. For example, businesspeople are more impatient but tip really well, while the oldsters are pretty much the opposite.

But the PSP control setup simply does not work here. With mouse or touch control, this might actually be pretty enjoyable. Within the confines of PSP buttons, however, it's not much more enjoyable than actually being an overworked server surrounded by angry, crazy customers.
 
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