Add Some Zest to the town of Bakersfield in Cake Mania Main Street
Being one of the most recognizable titles in the genre, Cake Mania is synonymous with time management games. This popular gem has been a hit with the casual gaming crowd as it has been released on the PC, Mac and, more recently, mobile platforms. While the time-travelling adventure Cake Mania 3 gave you a chance to serve sweet treats to dinosaurs, mummies and ancient dragons, Cake Mania Main Street takes place in present-day Bakersfield, home town of Jill Evans.
After her wedding to Jack, Jill learns that her beloved Bakersfield has become a ghost town. The then bustling shops of her youth are now nothing more than empty rooms. Because of corporate mega mall, Baker's Corner, these humble stores lost their customers and weren't making enough money to operate. In order to restore the Main Street she loves, Jill has enlisted the help of her husband and close friends. Her plan is to bake cakes and put money towards reviving and upgrading four, well-loved stores and opening new attractions to draw in a crowd. First up is the Evans Bakery, a shop built by Jill's grandparents and managed by the iconic Cake Mania protagonist. On the other hand, the Burger Barn is run by Jack, girl pal Risha runs a flower shop and a retired sumo wrestler named "Tiny" runs Sumo Sushi.
Having the ability to switch between shops sets Cake Mania Main Street apart from previous games in the series. This gives you the freedom to choose which one you'd like to focus on, offering valuable breaks in between particularly difficult levels.
Though there are four shops, there are only two types of game mechanics. The first one is classic Cake Mania game play, with automatic food preparation and assembly. All you'll have to do is get the customer's order, click on the oven to choose the correct cake shape, pick it up when it's baked to perfection and add the frosting requested by the client. If things went smoothly, all that is left is to collect the payment left on the table, otherwise, you'll need to throw the cake in the trash and get a deduction in your earnings. This is the type used for the Evans Bakery as well as Risha's Flower Shop. The former is the store you'll start with, and with enough earnings saved up, the latter can be open for business as well.
The next type is less Cake Mania and more Papa's Gameria. This intricate system is the kind used for both Jack's Burger Barn and Tiny's Sumo Sushi. Instead of simply clicking on a machine to do the work for you, you will need to pick each ingredient and assemble the product yourself. This means that you will need to plate the buns, cook the patty and add toppings for every burger ordered. It gets a bit more difficult when it comes to Sumo Sushi because the ingredients may not be as easily recognizable compared to those from the burger shop and other similar burger games you can check out at www.burgergames.co. Instead of grilling meat, you will be using an omelet pan for lovely Tamago and Scallop Rolls. If you're serious about making Tiny proud, you'll need to familiarize yourself with Japanese cooking staples such as seaweed, sesame seeds and rice too as you may have done in games like Youda Sushi Chef.
A hundred fast-paced stages await you in Cake Mania Main Street. There are over 35 ingredients with 40 types of mouth-watering recipes to unlock. While we did enjoy the contrasting mechanics, they're still not as sophisticated as those found in the Papa's Gameria series. For the uninitiated, Papa Louie games feature controls that mimic actual cooking techniques. Well, as close as a mouse can emulate them anyway. For instance, Papa's Cupcakeria requires players to choose the correct batter mix, send it to the oven and actually watch to see it rise. Cake Mania doesn't have to be a Gameria clone but if you're after more of a hands-on time management game, you may want to check that out too.
Fans of the series will not be disappointed with Cake Mania Main Street's writing. Even if you're a pretty serious gamer, it'll be hard not to chuckle at the witty remarks and insights coming from the four characters. Like in a level where Cupids shop at Risha's store, she mentions something about not looking for romance or Jill's disapproval of Jack's "It Mustard Been Love" burger -- it's worth progressing in-game days just to enjoy the title's wholesome comedy. On the other hand, the graphic improvements are too few to make a difference. Sure, the colors are more vibrant than ever but with four chapters under its belt, we're left hungry for a more modern take on the visuals.
We highly recommend playing Cake Mania Main Street if you liked its predecessors or are into games like Hot Dog Hot Shot. With four shops to manage and delightful humor to boot, it’s a definite winner. However, if you're after a time management game that is a little more realistic, you may want to check out the Papa Louie Gamerias instead like Papa's Burgeria which can be found at - www.flipline.com.
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