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One of the benefits of being a Palm Addict Associate Writer is that I get to
play beta test and try out games and programs before they’re released. I had the wonderful opportunity to do so for Astraware’s Cake Mania game, based on the popular PC game by leading casual game publisher and developer, Sandlot Games. This review was originally posted on Palm Addicts (My review comments made it to the front page of Cake Mania! Woohoo!) As usual, I’ve decided to post it again on my blog with the addition of a video to show how the game plays and some additional editions.
What an interesting game, Cake Mania. I love how Astraware have games that aren’t the typical shoot them up and blast ‘em type games but are still entertaining but addictive. Cake Mania is another of those.
Unfortunately, the size of the game is quite large. The game is about 2.5MB in size. I was actually having problems running the game. Kieren of Astraware was very patient and kind enough to try to help me diagnose the memory problems and after so many emails between us, I think my problem is due to something that is running in the background that is causing the resets.
What I did find was that I can run it after doing a warm/system reset (similar to the safe mode in Windows), which prevent the normal loading of application and files, and then ran the program. It loaded fine. I have a feeling that my problems are quite unique since it seems that my Treo has a tendency to be quite unique and exhibit behavior that most users don’t have. So, please keep that in mind when reading my review.
As usual the graphics are stunning. The colors and the movements of the people are great. Rather than watching the customers walk in and out, Astraware has simply made the customers come and go quite magically. I love how the customers suddenly “poof” into thin air when they leave and appear just as magically. It’s kind of cute.
The game is centers around the main character named Jill, who is trying to win back her grandparents’ bakery. Your objective is to run a bakery shop and make sure that you get enough business to keep it running and go through the various stages (actually they are months: January, February, etc) to understand the story better. You take customer orders, bake cakes in the shapes that the customer orders and adds the requested icing on the cake. Your objective is to get as much business as possible in a day without losing customers, and keep the business running. There is a specified goal of how much you’re expected to make during each stage. If you don’t reach it before closing time, then you lose a life and will have to go through the same stage or month again. Depending on how fast you serve them and help them get out the door, you may get some tips, and of course, if it takes too long to serve them, you may lose them. And some customers may be more impatient than others. You will get to know which ones you can serve first because they are less patient.
There are times in the game where you can use some of the profits from previous stages where you can buy equipment that can help you enhance your business. You can buy more ovens, display case, TV, extra frosting machine, decorations, etc. The main purpose is that you are investing in your business in hopes that you can retain the customer longer, increase the price of your cakes and hopefully be quicker in serving them, which means, more business for you.
I have only played the first few stages (or months in this case) and it seems quite interesting. As time goes on, you get a different mixture of customers and requests and obviously things will get tougher. The cakes also get more interesting with layering of the cakes, extra decorations and a host of interesting customers ranging from Cupid to Dracula, to businesswomen, college students, kids, etc. Each of them have a varying amount of patience which is indicated by the number of bars or cubes beside them. As customers are getting impatient, the game will emit an audible sound to indicate it so that you are aware so you can serve them before they leave without a purchase.
Although the first months seem easy, as time goes on, you are trying to multi-task. The interesting thing about the game is that the cakes will automatically get “dumped” (notice the garbage can underneath the oven trays?) into the trash (I’ve had that happen a few times) if you don’t deal with them quickly enough. That will translate to lost profits and time and possibly a lost customer. The following January, you will be re-located to a sunny beachside location where the customers are even more impatient and the time seems to fly by a lot faster. Needless to say, I didn’t get past the following January. Boo hoo.
Here’s a video of one stage/level/month of Cake Mania.
Video review of Cake Mania
The game is fun and entertaining. My only dislike is that the characters seem a bit small to view. I would have preferred that they are larger in size since they look pretty interesting. Also, initially in the introduction, when the game was explaining the story via comic strip like screens, I did not notice the set of red arrows at the lower right hand corner to get to the next page. Duh! It took me a while to figure that one out. Overall, the addition of different cakes, decorations, customers and other introductions in each stage make this game quite fun.
Game details and features (from Cake Mania’s page):
Based on the best-selling PC game by leading casual game publisher and developer, Sandlot Games, Cake Mania is a fun, fast-paced culinary challenge. Help Jill to bake, frost, and decorate ever more elaborate cakes whilst impatient customers demand to be served. Deliver the right cake to the right customer on time to meet the daily Baker Goal. If you succeed you can stop the big guys at Megamart taking over and Jill’s grandparents get their bakery back!
Cake Mania features almost 50 levels of cake-baking fun, with cute cartoon-style graphics and zingy sound effects.
Help Jill bake, frost and decorate cakes to win back her grandparents bakery!
* Many levels of cake-baking fun
* Equipment upgrades to help bake bigger, better cakes
* Amusing cake shop customers
* Create double-layered patisserie masterpieces
* Over 500 cake combinations!
As a bonus, Club Astraware members are entitled to a special release discount as well as earning Club Astraware points (think of loyalty points) which you can use for discounts towards future purchases and special promotions available only for members.
The game requires Palm OS 5 and 320×320 resolution.
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