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Review: Cooking Dash 3 Thrills & Spills for PC

Last week, and the week before that, I wrote about the latest Dash game from PlayFirst, Cooking Dash 3: Thrills & Spills. I was genuinely excited to play this, since I had never played a Cooking Dash game before, and before even going into the proper review, let me tell you this: I had an absolute blast.

Now, since I have little to no knowledge about the Cooking Dash series itself, you’ll have to forgive me if I gush over features that are standard for the franchise. As I’ve said before, the game takes place in DinerLand, the local amusement park for Diner Town. Giving players a blast to the past, we can see teenage Flo working at the concession stands, as well as younger versions of other well-known characters from the Cooking Dash games.

Cooking Dash 3: Thrills & Spills starts off with Mr. Big on the phone to his father. DinerLand is failing, and his father will be on his way soon to see how his son has invested his money. Flo, standing by at her concession stand, strikes up a conversation with Mr. Big and it is then revealed that, out of all the places throughout the amusement park, Flo’s stand is the only one that brings in any kind of profit. Suggesting that she take over one of the multiple themed restaurants throughout the park, Flo offers but under one condition - Mr. Big must hire back the teenagers that he recently fired because she can’t do this alone.

As you can imagine, each “chapter” of the game you play will take place in each of the restaurants, and as you progress, a new restaurant is opened,  just like how one would advance in Diner Dash or Wedding Dash. What makes this game significantly different than the others is the difficulty, and I played it on regular. I can only imagine how insane it would be on hard! Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a complaint by any means, I am simply stating that, compared to the other games I’ve played in the Dash franchise, Cooking Dash 3: Thrills & Spills is definitely a welcome challenge. Between the impatient business women, the slow-eating seniors, the celebrities with the false sense of entitlement, and everybody else, poor Flo was jamming all over the place.

This game, I felt, was longer than some of the other Dash games, and I thought that was fantastic. Maybe it was because I felt like I had more to do like making soups, salads, frying or grilling fish, making fries, keeping track of who wants soda with or without ice, seeing which customer wants to add on dessert, which sauce they want with their meal, and that damn DASH-Thru window. At times, the customers at the DASH-Thru really tried my patience because, unlike the others that just sit there and have steam coming out of their ears, the ones at the DASH-Thru have a bell they can constantly ring. Sure, the addition of the DASH-Thru window was a fantastic idea, but after awhile I wanted to smash that bell into tiny pieces.

One thing that I loved were the mini-games. If the brilliant minds at PlayFirst decided to make a game that’s just mini-games, I would snag that up without a second thought. They were something different, a moment where the frantic pace of the regular levels could be broken, and you could simply have fun. My two favorites were the hidden-object and plate flip mini-games. With the hidden-object one (big shocker that I like that one - please note sarcasm), I was given a list of objects on the left side and then various objects would be hidden in a section of the restaurant I was currently working in. The objects could be things like fried fish, fries, fish bones, empty glasses, forks, and even boots! For each object you’d find, it would go towards you earning free food that could be used in the following level. Same thing with all of the mini-games. For example, in one of the mini-games, I’d have to match meat and two pieces of bread in order to earn a free sandwich that could instantly be given to customers. It was an easy way to have food ready in the next round, and it took the pressure off a lot.

The music was appropriate for the game, and I thought it helped add to the experience rather than take from it. I never felt it was too annoying, too childlike, or that it made me get more stressed out. It provided a nice balance, and sometimes helped the levels go by more smoothly. The sound effects were spot on as well, and yes, even that bell.

For those of you who are like me and have no experience with the Cooking Dash series, it provides a wonderful step by step tutorial, similar to the other Dash games. It will show you how to seat your customers, how to earn bonuses, how to assemble their order, and so much more. If another feature is added later on in the game, it is sure to provide you with another tutorial on how to handle that. Anybody can jump right on in to Cooking Dash 3 and enjoy it as much, if not more, as the seasoned veterans of the series.

My only complaint is that I wanted more. I guess I enjoyed myself a bit too much because, even with the addition of the Big Gold Rush stage, I wanted to keep playing. I didn’t want it to stop! Clearly this means that PlayFirst has, yet again, hit the ball straight out of the park and delivered fans another solid title. Does this make me want to go back and play the previous Cooking Dash games? You bet it does, and I can’t wait for future installments as well because this is a series I will be watching closely.

To get your copy of Cooking Dash 3: Thrills & Spills, there is either the PC or Mac version to choose from, plus the choice of purchasing the full standard version or the Collector’s Edition with the extra Big Gold Rush stage, and other goodies like wallpapers, screensavers, and more.

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Lindsey - who has written 347 posts on Marooners' Rock.

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