Who knew waiting tables could be so much fun? The Diner Dash
premise is very simple: You play Flo, the owner and sole waitress
of a small restaurant. You must seat customers, bring them their
food, and clean up when they’re done. Although this may sound like
it might be about as much fun as, say, blue-collar minimum-wage
work, the Diner Dash series is exciting and addictive. The Diner
Dash series has now branched out into three main games and a host
of spinoffs with similar gameplay in different settings.
The main challenge is time. The “Dash” in the title is no
misnomer; you must constantly race around as your impatient
customers’ mood (and willingness to leave large tips) constantly
dwindles. Different customer types have different needs, and
winning the game–past the first few tutorial levels–requires
constant awareness of multiple ongoing events as customers order,
eat, ask for their checks, or stand ever-more-impatiently in line.
Losing even one table can make a level unwinnable. Fortunately, you
can always replay a level without being sent back to the beginning
of the game.
All of the Diner Dash games follow this formula, with the
differences being different customer types and different framing
stories. In Diner Dash: Hometown Hero, Flo returns to her roots,
only to find that the town she remembers is decaying. The solution
is to buy up some of the failing restaurants and revitalize them,
beginning with the caf? at the Zoo. With each level completed, you
gain an upgrade. Some are purely decorative, such as replacing the
ratty-looking starting counter with one of three more attractive
ones, but most are functional–such as sneakers to help Flo run
faster, or an oven that prepares food more quickly.
Diner Dash: Hometown Hero Gourmet Edition requires no knowledge of
previous Diner Dash games. It’s perfectly standalone and is not for
“advanced” players, though players who have enjoyed the others will
almost certainly enjoy the new settings and options this one
In addition to “story” mode, where you help Flo revitalize the
town, there is also an “Endless Shift” mode, where you keep playing
until you have lost too many tables, seeking to just rack up a high
score. The PC-Only “Gourmet Edition” includes over 500 decorative
or clothing options and a multiplayer mode. The game also allows
you to buy–for real cash money–additional in-game items, such as
uniforms for your custom waiter avatar or fancy restaurant
backdrops. These items are not needed to play or enjoy the game.
While Diner Dash: Hometown Hero is a casual game, it is not a
slow-paced one; it does not require the insane twitch reflexes of a
hyperactive mongoose, but it is not a game for those who like to
slowly ponder their moves. Speedy response is required, lest
customers grow impatient and leave.
Note: This link goes to the vendor’s site, where you can
download the software.