[Review] Diner Dash (iOS/ Android/ DS) – Fun Gaming on the Dash

I bet you read the title of this post and thought, “Well, duh…It’s like writing about Angry Birds, right? We’ve ALL played these games, what’s the point in wasting a blog post?” Well, why not? And why don’t we ask why this game has mass appeal?


I have now played Diner Dash on three systems. My first taste of this game was when I first got my third generation iPod Touch in 2010. I had been searching for something else to play on it that was easy and fun. Diner Dash was free, so I downloaded it from the Apple app store. Then, having an Android tablet, I always wonder how a game I’m used to playing on a tiny screen would translate to a tablet. Recently, I found Diner Dash: Sizzle and Serve for the Nintendo DS as I was also curious to see what the differences were.

The first time I played Diner Dash, a time management game, I instantly got sucked into restauranteuse / waitress Flo’s world; a young woman who was forced into the corporate office cubicle, and found her method of escape when a dilapidated restaurant came up for sale. The game sets you up with Flo in her little diner, waiting two sets of tables. She seats, takes the orders, and buses tables, all in quick succession, so that she will keep her customers happy, and will get paid a tip that goes into a jar used towards making improvements to her restaurant. With more money, and bigger customer base, she can renovate the restaurant, add more tables (and therefore accommodate more customers), and eventually get a coffee machine that she can use to appease cranky waiting customers. Eventually, she is able to open franchises and different types of restaurants.

The gameplay is easy enough, and consists of dragging and dropping customers to their tables, and tapping on screen to get Flo to move where she needs to go. Where the challenge comes in is how fast you can move Flo, as well as having the ability to keep her customers happy, efficiently. The customers vary and get more complex as you level up – babies, courting couples, tables of 6 or more…a harsh restaurant critic…they all present their own challenges for Flo, but if done right, you can help Flo achieve a lucrative business.

Having played the iOS, Android and Nintendo DS versions of Diner Dash, I can say there are subtle differences between each. To start, I was an expert at the iOS version and working with its tiny screen. So when I played the game on my Android tablet, I couldn’t believe how much easier I found the controls and that even though magnification isn’t completely necessary with this game, I found I enjoyed the lack of eye strain playing on my tablet. I think the worst experience of Diner Dash had to have been the Nintendo DS version (sorry, Nintendo…). In the iOS and Android versions, you can see the line-up of people ready to be seated to the left, and the dining room to the right. On the DS, we have to scroll left or right to see either the line-up of people or the dining room – you can’t see both at once. That extra scrolling may not be a big deal for some, but I found that lack of visualization made me forget those customers waiting for a table. As well, the extra clicking back and forth took my time away from serving customers within the game and therefore a potential loss of income in tips. I am not sure why Nintendo configured the game like that, but they could have handled that better.

iOS and Android play area of Diner Dash – notice the line up at left.

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Nintendo DS’s play area of Diner Dash. Note no line up. You have to toggle to access left part of screen via red triangle at bottom left.

So, why do people like Diner Dash?  Well, it’s on Windows and Mac, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, as well as the other three I’ve played this game on, so it’s very accessible. It’s cheap, easy to play and definitely a time-waster. What could be better?

Diner Dash
Publisher: Play First
Released: 2010

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4 comments

  1. OMG! I just told you I wasn’t one to play, but I LOVE Diner Dash. I too started playing it in 2010 on an i-pod. I was doing my student teaching during that time and was crazy stressed! I couldn’t sleep at this time in my life due to stress and not being able to make my brain shut down at the end of my day. We had i-pods in our classroom and I was looking for educational apps for my students. I somehow stumbled upon Diner Dash. I was addicted! Diner Dash was the only thing that helped me relax. It took my mind off of school and helped my brain relax so that I would eventually fall asleep. So, I’m curious. Did you say that it is available on the Wii? We have a wii and xbox360. What do you suggest?

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    1. Yep, it’s available for the Wii and the Xbox 360. Unfortunately, I haven’t played Diner Dash on either system so I don’t know for sure. With the mobile versions you are dragging and dropping using your finger / stylus.
      I have read a few reviews of how this game translates on other systems (namely Xbox and Wii), and the game mechanics are not the same as what you’d be getting on the iPod. One review says the Wii version is a downgraded version of the Xbox. Interestingly enough, the PC version may be the way to go, as it uses the point-and-click style using a mouse. You can read the review I read here:
      http://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/2010/03/diner_dash

      Thanks for reading!

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  2. Nice review! Nintendo doesn’t really have a say on how the game is ported onto its system. That’s the developer’s job. The original console/device games are designed to be played on usually turn out to be the best versions. This is a great game for anyone to play. I’m a “hardcore gamer” and even I was sucked into Flo’s world.

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