PlayFirst’s Free-to-Play Diner Dash Launches on iOS, Android

Diner DashThe newest installment in the popular Diner Dash series has officially launched on iOS and Android devices, following Glu Mobile’s acquisition of Diner Dash developer PlayFirst in May 2014. Simply called “Diner Dash,” this free-to-play game follows the franchise’s time-management formula, and contains over 90 levels across three venues, as players manage the seating and serving of customers in Flo’s diner.

In each level of Diner Dash, players have a specific goal to complete, like serving coffee to customers or making color matches, as examples.. Regardless of goal, the overall flow of gameplay remains the same. Users seat customers at tables, trying to match the color of their outfits with the color of the table’s seats for extra points. Players then wait for the customers to place an order, deliver their food, help them cash out and then clean their tables until closing time.

Completing the same action repeatedly results in a chain and combo points. That is, delivering three tables’ orders to Cookie (the cook) before completing any other action results in more points than taking one order, delivering another customer’s food, and then taking a second order, for instance.

Players earn up to three stars on each stage, depending on their final score. Facebook connectivity allows users to compare their scores with their friends’.

As players progress, levels become more complicated, with additional tables to simultaneously manage and different varieties of customers to serve, each with their own quirks (one may be rather impatient, while another is addicted to coffee, for instance).

Each customer has a patience rating, represented by hearts. If players neglect to seat or serve these customers before their hearts expire, they leave the restaurant, taking potential profits with them. Users can serve guests coffee while seated, or hand them menus while waiting in line, to increase their patience and hopefully prevent this from happening. It should be noted that serving a customer coffee (for instance) does not impact the overall action chain for bonus points.

Other restaurant upgrades include a vacuum that sucks up all dirty plates, a jukebox for increasing customer patience, and even visual changes like different tables, counters and carpets. Some of these items are available to purchase with free coins, while others cost premium currency. The game is further monetized via its energy system. Users spend energy to access levels, with this energy recharging automatically over time, or being purchased instantly with real money.

Players can also activate level-specific boosts before playing. The Fast Flo boost, for instance, increases Flo’s movement speed around the restaurant for a single level. These boosts also cost premium currency.

Diner Dash is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store and Google Play. This isn’t the first time the franchise has gone free-to-play, as a Facebook version of the game launched, and was subsequently closed, in 2011.