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Diner DASH Adventures

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Diner DASH Adventures App Poster Image
Flo's latest grand opening dishes out overpriced leftovers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

While the basic premise is easy to pick up and play, especially for anyone that's played Diner Dash in the past, the difficult ramps up fairly quickly. More importantly, it quickly gets difficult to progress unless you're willing to spend money on things like boosts and upgrades.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game adds a deeper story, of sorts, to the Diner Dash franchise, which has spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs since the original game debuted fifteen years ago. This game follows a free-to-play formula, but quickly and harshly pushes players to spend money in-game to continue making progress.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Diner DASH Adventures is a free-to-play strategy game available for download on iOS and Android-based mobile devices. Players are responsible for not only running their own diner and catering to customer needs, but also work to clean up and rebuild their town. The mechanics of the game are relatively easy to pick up and play, though the difficulty ramps up quickly. Use of boosts and upgrades helps to ease the pressure, but usually requires buying them with real world money. Although the game's free to play, it's constantly pressuring players to spend more money on various items to progress.

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What's it about?

After opening up and running diners all around the world, Flo finally comes home in DINER DASH ADVENTURES for Android and iOS devices. Unfortunately, it's not exactly the homecoming she was expecting. DinerTown is in shambles, with trash littering the sidewalks, buildings falling apart, and all manner of mysterious "accidents" happening every day. This hasn't happened by chance, though. It's actually the scheme of the villainous Mr. Big, who's sent his henchmen to sabotage the town, priming it for a takeover. Flo is determined to stop Mr. Big's plan, though, by rebuilding her diner, using its business to help clean up the city, bringing in a new wave of tourists and townsfolks. Fix up the parks, build some new attractions, and most important of all, never neglect those loyal customers always looking for a great bite to eat.

Is it any good?

It's been nearly fifteen years since Flo opened her first restaurant, but unfortunately, her latest dish seems more like lukewarm leftovers than a five course meal. Diner DASH Adventures, the latest entry in the Dash series, adopts a free-to-play formula while trying to add a fun story and new gameplay elements to fill gamers' appetites. While it certainly has some flavor, its repetitive gameplay and frustrating reliance on in-game purchases makes this feel less like an entrée and more like empty calories.

The game's story is cheesier than the grilled cheese served at Flo's diner, but it's still a silly and entertaining adventure. It also fills in the gaps between serving a round of customers at the restaurant and using what you earn to clean up the city. Basic gameplay is still the same as always, with players seating customers, taking orders, and delivering food as quick and accurately as possible. Things get pretty hectic quickly, making the use of boosts and upgrading equipment/recipes a necessity. And that's where the game's biggest fault lies. It quickly gets to the point that you almost can't progress at all without spending money for items you need to upgrade. While you can technically earn some in-game, it's such a slow process that the game simply stops being fun because you're forced to replay the same stages over and over. And any time you do happen to move forward, it's such a tiny amount that it barely feels like you've actually made any progress. The end result discourages players from coming back to this diner for seconds.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about microtransactions in games. How much do microtransactions influence how you play games? What limits should parents set on spending in games, and how much is too much to spend on a "free" game?

  • What are some ways you can volunteer to improve your community? How do volunteer events bring people together and build a stronger sense of character?

App details

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For kids who love simulations

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