Most games have that competitive hook where players can challenge each other through GameCenter or Facebook to prove they're the best. The latest title to do this is Diner Dash Rush, a condensed version of Playfirst's hit simulation game. You'll still be able to serve dishes like a pro with your waitress Flo, but you'll work much faster this time around, moving at lightning speeds to keep customers happy.
The story has been scuttled in Rush, with just the core gameplay elements present. You'll guide Flo across the restaurant floor, seating and helping customers while picking up dishes. Once patrons leave - hopefully in a pleasant mood - you'll collect tips, clean up the mess and seat the next wave.
Each round is timed, and when you come to the end of your shift you'll be treated to a bonus Happy Hour round. Here, all the customers remain upbeat, letting you earn additional tips. This is a great addition to the series we'd like to see in future releases.
Outside of Happy Hour, the gameplay doesn't expand much. You'll perform the same tasks with little increase in difficulty. The Facebook integration, where you can send challenges to friends is nice, but that's all there really is.
Power-ups are available as well. You can activate special abilities that speed Flo up, allow her to carry four plates instead of the usual two and let her work her natural charm to keep customers happy longer. However, they can only be used once. After that, you'll need to buy more with funds that replenish over time or by purchasing more. It's a bit unfair, but dedicated players won't mind indulging.
Diner Dash Rush features 3D visuals that make keeping an eye on things easy enough. This design comes with a flaw, though - some customers' heads block platters, making it difficult to pick them up. In addition, the game crashed more than once, something Playfirst needs to fix with a patch.
In the end, this serving of Diner Dash is decent, but not nearly as good as the others. Sped-up gameplay and Happy Hour are welcome, but neither prevent the game from growing repetitive. The lack of customization and crashes don't help either. That said, the fact that it's free-to-play makes the game worth a look.
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