December 22, 2010

Review: Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull: Collector's Edition

game format: casual hidden object adventure

puzzles: inventory | logic | conversations

playtime: 8 hours | difficulty: easy | size: 295 MB

developer / publisher: Big Fish Games | links: official site / buy this game

Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull
game brief: Shortly after moving into a creepy mansion in Louisiana, Sara Lawson is struck with tragedy when her husband mysteriously disappears. Sara’s daughter, Magnolia, believes her father was kidnapped by the ghost of a vengeful pirate seeking to protect his lost fortune. With the locals terrified of the pirate’s curse, you are the family’s last hope. Only a Master Detective with incredible Hidden Object skills can locate Marcus! (Official site)

review: Read my review @ Adventure Gamers® | rating: 3.5/5

summary: The latest CSI adventure includes the FBI and drug cartels, but tedious gameplay and dull stories kill any potential intrigue.

This is an original review written by me and owned by Adventure Gamers®. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without written consent from Jack Allin, Editor-in-Chief, AG.

November 24, 2010

Review: CSI: Fatal Conspiracy

game format: classic adventure

puzzles: inventory | logic | conversations

playtime: 8 hours | difficulty: easy | size: 2.5 GB

developer / publisher: Ubisoft | links: official site

CSI: Fatal Conspiracy
game brief: Partner with FBI agent Gene Huntby in 5 connected cases. Huntby will both help and challenge you in a hunt for the Queen of the Hive, a formidable drug lord that may be behind a series of shocking murders. Be prepared to work with your CSI partners, including the returning Sara Sidle, to solve murder cases and uncover the Fatal Conspiracy behind the crimes you investigate. (Official site)

review: Read my review @ Adventure Gamers® | rating: 2/5

summary: The latest CSI adventure includes the FBI and drug cartels, but tedious gameplay and dull stories kill any potential intrigue.

This is an original review written by me and owned by Adventure Gamers®. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without written consent from Jack Allin, Editor-in-Chief, AG.

November 1, 2010

Review: Posh Boutique 2

game format: time management | arcade

puzzles: none

playtime: 3 hours | difficulty: very easy

developer: Puzzle Lab | publisher: Big Fish Games | links: official site | buy this game

Posh Boutique 2
game brief: Just as her vacation gets off the ground, Alicia suddenly discovers she's won the lottery! Now, with her winnings in hand, Alicia's ready to take her Posh Boutique to the next level. Use your Time Management talents to help Alicia expand her business by assisting each customer in their search for the perfect outfit, adding just the right accessories, and choosing the best upgrades for each location! (

review: Posh Boutique 2 is an easy, frothy race against time and mismatched outfits... quite like sipping a lukewarm cappuccino on a lazy afternoon.

the story: The game takes off after the presumable success of the series' premiere installment - Posh Boutique - with proprietress Alicia on a plane, en route to a long-overdue vacation. But fates conspire otherwise and she wins an in-flight lottery of $1 million (seriously), which propels her to abandon her trip and return to her dream of building more boutiques - international ones this time.

Alicia starts with great ambition - to build 'all kinds of boutiques to satisfy the shopping needs of every possible customer', a mission statement few retailers would dare to voice, let alone attempt to implement outside the world of casual gaming. Soon afterward, she states with equal élan that she doesn't really care about income from her stores; her true interest is the process of building new ones. Her pell-mell management is reflected aptly in grannies dressed in fur coats, leather pants, hippie shades and sparkling white gloves... but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

game-play: Like its story, Posh Boutique 2 offers negligible originality of game-play. Alicia has to equip and service 6 boutiques, including one in a television tower, one underwater and another inside a hot air balloon. She spends a week at each location, totaling 42 'days' i.e. levels for the game. Alicia is a hands-on tycoon and attends personally to each customer, helping them pick out their item(s) of choice via three simple mini-games and billing them at the cash counter. One item selection mini-game is a static image match with 9 options, another a moving carousel match, and the third a scroller match - requiring the options to be scrolled through till the correct one is displayed.

Customer types are few, with no distinct traits except minor differences in patience levels. In addition to the usual retinue businessmen and 'optimistic women', teenage boys and girls, kindly elderly - in this case a granny with a puppy and a 'sporty grandpa', Alicia's all-purpose boutiques are also frequented by couples who must be served simultaneously (but who pay individually), VIP buyers and journalists.

The last two categories of guests are naturally more entitled to tantrums than regular folk; even then they display exemplary patience by the standards of this genre, and spawn two more mini-games. The journalists aka 'press' require certain items to be located in the store in a rudimentary hidden object search, and based on the time taken, rank the store on a scale of 1 - 5 in their reviews in 'Boutique' magazine. This glory translates directly into additional sales, each star earning an extra $100. The VIPs, meanwhile, return to the store after closing time for personal consultations with Alicia, who must interpret their (literally) hazy thoughts into actual items within a given time for extra revenue.

Alicia likely spent her lottery earnings in buying the stores, since there's no evidence of the moolah in her day-to-day operations. She starts every store from scratch, building up from the 2 basic counters each of three items - combinations of clothes, hats, shoes, gloves, accessories, sunglasses and luggage - to 3 advanced counters of each, and her only help is a cleaning girl. The interior upgrades, including two speed upgrades for Alicia and one for the cleaner, are focused on increasing capacity and efficiency of the stores. Alicia also uses her earnings to jazz up the storefronts with mannequins, garlands and posters, which then attract more customers, improve their moods (indicated as smileys) and increase their inclination to purchase.

Each customer can have three to five smileys - depending on store upgrades - that determine their level of happiness, or lack thereof. Depleted smileys can be refreshed, and deleted smileys reinstated, with prompt service and attention. Alicia can also dole out always-gratifying discount coupons, generated automatically at intervals, to guests who are sufficiently agitated.

Posh Boutique 2 takes a detour from the usual concept of 'combos' - chaining actions for bonus points - to introduce its own take: single customers who want the same type of item can be combined into groups i.e. combos of two or three, which increases both their patience as well as propensity to purchase. Similarly, it puts a new spin on trophies earned for achieving preset milestones. While most games hand out a trophy only the first time a target is met, here the player can win each trophy repeatedly, with numbers counting up each success. A third unusual game mechanism is that once a boutique or individual level is deemed completed, it cannot be replayed without restarting the game from the very first level, a caveat that may have posed a problem if the game hadn't been unbelievably easy.

The 'Ultimate' mode of the game, available once the Standard mode is completed, allows the player to select the boutique and mini-game type for each of the three items before unleashing a relentless stream of customers on Alicia while constantly upping both the difficulty level as well as store upgrades. Ironically, the fast-paced action of the side show makes it far more interesting than the dawdling main event.

There is a mini-game on the start screen too - each day Alicia thinks of an item that appears in a thought bubble beside her head. The player can earn $1000 by selecting the correct item from the carousel near her feet. While extra cash never hurts, the game does not require the money desperately enough to warrant exiting to the start screen 'daily'.

art & graphics: Posh Boutique 2 has above-average, cheerful art that works overtime to brighten up the dull proceedings. The clothes and accessories are intricately detailed when seen in close-ups, as are storefronts and shopfloors. Alicia is generically pretty, and her customers are well-rendered as well. The small 'movie' at the start is devoid of animation barring a sliding background, but there is considerable, smooth in-game animation, both of characters and effects. The interface is easy to navigate with large, clearly demarcated hotspots. I faced trouble occasionally while trying to place customers in their slots near item counters, but that's a small speck in the overall superior efficiency of the interface.

text, sound & music: Alicia's story and thoughts are narrated via sparse speech bubbles; the rest of the text is functional and generally free of spelling and grammatical errors. The music is unremarkable - ordinary loops played in the background that do not really register other than to keep the tempo going. Likewise for voice-overs - a few sound bites repeated throughout the game, though mercifully none of the clips are annoying enough to jar despite constant looping.

bottomline: Posh Boutique 2 is a generic product, and nothing about the game suggests otherwise. The mash-up of time management, object matches and hidden object searches is easy to the point of being lame - both Basic and Expert goals are eminently achievable till the end; if anything, the slow trickle of customers keeps Alicia unoccupied and waiting for large intervals of time. This, when combined with the overly simplified game-play that exempts mistakes and penalties, all but eliminates the sense of urgency that normally accompanies time management games. This game should have been a high octane race; instead it's a short, leisurely stroll through the neighborhood mall.

g@mrgrl rating: 2.5/5

game interface, art & graphics
too easy, short, unexceptional
no bugs noted

This is an original review written by me. Please do not distribute the text and images without my written consent.

September 22, 2010

Review: Adventures Of Keith Night: After A Shadow

game format: classic adventure; freeware / indie development

puzzles: inventory

playtime: 2 hours | difficulty: easy | size: 43 MB

developer: Tero Tapio 'Canardo' Kerttula | links: official site

Adventures of Keith Night: After A Shadow
game brief: After A Shadow is a traditional point-and-click adventure game that Canardo created for his Bachelor's thesis. The purpose of the project was to study and partly imitate the visuals and narrativity of Film Noir adapted in a game world. All the backgrounds are 3D rendered while everything else is hand-drawn. The game was made with Adventure Game Studio by Chris Jones. (Official website)

review: Read my review @ Adventure Gamers® | rating: N/A (Freeware)

summary: This black and white film-noir whodunit has plenty of highlights for a one-man indie production.

This is an original review written by me and owned by Adventure Gamers®. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without written consent from Jack Allin, Editor-in-Chief, AG.

August 6, 2010

Review: KGB (aka Conspiracy)

game format: classic adventure

puzzles: inventory | logic

playtime: 20+ hours | difficulty: extremely challenging | size: 3 MB

developer: Cryo Interactive | publisher: Virgin Games | links: wikipedia

Notesonly playable via DOSBox; manual-based copy protection

KGB (Conspiracy)
game brief: The protagonist Captain Maksim Mikahilovich Rukov, recently transferred to the Department P from the GRU after three years' duty, is ordered to investigate possible corruption inside the KGB after a former agent turned private eye was found murdered. However, as the plot progresses, Rukov finds himself investigating a political plot of dangerous proportions. (wiki)

review: Read my review @ Adventure Gamers® | rating: 1.5/5

summary: Much like its subject matter, this 1992 conspiracy thriller collapses under the weight of its punishing design and political ambition.

This is an original review written by me and owned by Adventure Gamers®. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without written consent from Jack Allin, Editor-In-Chief, AG.

July 28, 2010

Staff Writer @ Adventure Gamers®!

This is a BIG day for me, because I got invited by Jack Allin, the Editor-in-Chief of Adventure Gamers®, to join the staff as a writer, reviewing old classic and new casual adventure games. An excerpt from his email:

"It's obvious that you're more than capable (and motivated!), so allow me to officially invite you to join AG's staff. :)"

Adventure Gamers® is the premiere online destination for news, reviews and discussion relating to adventure games. Founded it 1998, it is now one of the foremost and widely respected websites about adventure games and is brought to you by an international team of editors, writers, news updaters and community moderators.

At Adventure Gamers® we aim to:
1. be the most informed and professional source of information for adventure games
2. bring together players of all ages and backgrounds through our community

Adventure Gamers® is a Trusted Reviewer at GameRankings and our reviews are listed on Metacritic.

Needless to say, this is an incredible opportunity for me, and I can't wait to start contributing :) Click here to view my AG bio.

(Adventure Gamers® information from the official website).

July 11, 2010

Tips & Tricks: The Fifth Gate

20 points to simplify The Fifth Gate for you:

1. The Help pages (accessed from the main menu) explain the story and the game. During the game, simple tutorials introduce new concepts.

2. Keep the water jug filled at all times to avoid losing plants. Use the fountain / Dewdrop plant whenever available to save money.

3. Hold off watering plants as long as possible to save water, since once the day is over, plants requiring water are automatically replenished.

4. Upgrade the flower holder capacity first, then the fountain.

5. Though the game doesn't have chaining bonuses, it is quicker to do similar activities together: collect flowers in a continuous bunch and water needy plants sequentially (that way they will also be synchronised in their future water requirement).

6. Each potion requires a combination of flowers in various quantities. Green means fully available counts, orange means partial availability, and red means unavailable.

7. Be careful not to sell off the quest potions.

8. If space permits in the harvest holder, save flowers for potions instead of selling them individually, as potions earn more money.

9. Potions can also be made partially depending on available flowers, which keeps the harvest holder free.

10. A plant produces flower variants at random. In case Morgana wants high numbers of a particular variant, grow enough of that plant to ensure you get the adequate number of blooms in the given time.

11. Newly planted saplings need certain rounds of harvesting before they can produce complex flowers, so plants must be kept from dehydrating or being eaten by critters especially towards the later levels when complex potions require the upgraded variants of blooms.

12. The clock ticks loudly to indicate the last 5 seconds i.e. the 'end of the day' - listen for it and once it starts, collects blooms instead of killing critters or watering plants (unless of course, a plant is on the brink of dehydration).

13. Be extra careful of pests that 'pause' - boring beetles, salamanders, stone golems, spiders, hedgehogs - only to emerge a few moments later and continue chomping!

14. Some critters move quickly or fly, and are difficult to click on. Wait till they attach to a plant (note the green health meter of the plant) and click rapidly to kill them.

15. Some critters are poisonous - stone golems, wasps, toads - and if clicked when they're radiating their green aura will cause the cursor to freeze for 2 seconds, which sounds like very little time but is actually quite disturbing.

16. Given that the total number of plant beds are limited, an ideal mix of 'helper' plants would be:

a) During the starting levels of a garden, when cash is scarce but so are pests: 1 Dewdrop near the water jug and 1 Pest Magnet near the edge.

b) During the later levels of a garden, when cash is plenty and spells are available: 2 Pest Magnets at the garden's edges, 1 Fertiliser plant in the central area (surrounded by at least 3 - 4 plants).

c) Use the Butterfly plant only for quests requiring quick plant upgrades.

d) Avoid the Power plant in case Harvest and Rain spells are available.

17. Of the spells, first purchase Rain, since dehydration kills plants.

18. When cash permits, use Rain + Harvest spells. Put a Fertiliser plant in the middle of the garden, then use Harvest to gather all blooms.

19. The Pest Killing spell isn't required if the garden already has at least one Pest Magnet plant.

20. For the later levels, the garden should have at least 3 of each plant type. Sell off extra plants / change helper plants based on quests.

Good Luck!

This is an original Tips & Tricks written by me. Please do not distribute the text and images without my written consent.

July 10, 2010

Review: The Fifth Gate

game format: time management | arcade

puzzles: none

playtime: 6 hours | difficulty: easy | size: 65 MB

developer: Playfirst Games | publisher: Big Fish Games

links: Official site | Buy this game

The Fifth Gate
game brief: Brace yourself for a world of magic and potions in The Fifth Gate, an addicting time management game. Eden is trapped in the gardens and must restore five magical gardens to unlock five magical gates. Plants are growing, pests are coming, and potions need to be made; handle them all before time runs out! Can you bring the gardens back to life and free Eden? (Official website)


The Fifth Gate, a time-management game set in the realm of fairies, illustrates the timeless struggle between good and evil in deceptively ethereal surroundings.

the story:

Eden, the game's young heroine and the realm's most gifted gardener, is abducted by malevolent sorceress Morgana, and forced to work as her assistant tending to her garden and fulfilling her requests for flowers, potions and money. Though Eden soon learns of Morgana's plan to use the potions to capture the throne of fairy queen Titania, she is unable to escape the magically sealed gardens.

Morgana, contrary to expectation, isn't an ungrateful taskmistress. Besides rewarding Eden's gardening achievements with suitable gifts, Morgana also acknowledges her desire to escape, and gives her gems that will open the five magical gates... as soon as the pressing matter of overthrowing Titania is concluded.


The concept is simple - plant saplings, water them, ward off pests, collect blooms, make potions, sell potions, complete Morgana's quests to earn gems, and eventually, open all the gates. But the pace and complexity evolve steadily, and soon the game enthralls, challenging without resorting to unrealistic demands, or even feeling repetitive.

There are five gardens, with five gates, each of which requires five gems to open. Eden starts in the Primrose's Bower, then moves through the Garden of Sighs, the Garden of Fire & Ice and the Dell of Dusk's Dreaming to the Witch's Doorstep, the site of Titania's throne.

Each garden boasts its own native flora and fauna based on its environment. This includes three unique plants, each of which can be upgraded thrice, yielding a whopping forty-five varieties of blooms over five gardens. There are fifteen different critters, three per garden, encompassing both the real and the mythical, from innocuous boring beetles, salamanders and bats, to poisonous stone golems, wasps and toads. Each garden has fourteen levels, adding up to seventy rounds spanning multiple days for the game.

At the start of each level, Morgana specifies a quest for Eden, defining the amount of saplings, flowers, potions, cash, and sometimes even dead critters, that she wants, and the number of days in which to accomplish the quest (the Expert target). She rewards Eden's successes with new types of seeds, upgrades saplings to more exotic variants, and teaches her spells to help her manage the garden more efficiently.

The harvested flowers are used to make potions. Eden can trade excess potions and flowers for money, used to upgrade facilities like the fountain, replenish exhausted spells, dig seedbeds, buy saplings, and fulfill Morgana's cash requests. Eden can also sell saplings and swat critters to boost her kitty.

Introduced at the Garden of Sighs, 'helper plants' immediately move the game-play past mouse-pushing to strategic placement and use of resources. Of particular use are Dewdrop plants, which produce water, Pest Magnet plants, which freeze pests into ice-cubes, and Fertiliser plants, which force neighbouring plants to bloom. The Butterfly plant upgrades saplings, and at later levels, the Power plant enables collection of all flowers on a plant and killing pests with single clicks.

In a moment of uncharacteristic generosity, Morgana shares her secret spells with Eden. The invaluable Rain spell allows all plants to be watered at once, and the Harvest spell instantly gathers all blooms. The third spell, Pest Killing, eliminates all critters with one click. Each spell lasts for six uses and then must be recharged. My only gripe is that there's no indicator of how many uses are left, which results in frequent recharging before actual expiry to avoid 'running out of spell' during the game.

The gamer is also awarded medals for reaching milestones such as numbers of potions made and critters killed, but this is of academic interest only in the absence of visible statistics.

art & graphics:

This is among the most visually attractive games of this genre. The art is intricate, and the delightfully 'mystical' scenes glow with vibrant colours, brilliant blooms, sparkling fountains and glossy potion jars. Some critters are cute, some not; all are menacing enough to cause panic when they appear en masse on screen. In comparison, the cut-scenes playing out the story are stilted and dull, with zooming static images of the three girls in and out as they 'talk' to each other.

The hot spots are large and easily clickable even in a rush, thus all but eliminating wasted clicks (and stress).

text, sound & music:

The text, in an elegant cursive, is straightforward and free of typos. Morgana's dialogues are quirky, often funny, and reveal her girlishness beneath her heinous scheming: for example when she asks Eden rhetorically why people don't like her, or requests a potion to help her net true love, and when that fails, yet another to mend her broken heart. The tutorials are easy to follow even for beginners.

The music is extremely limited but adequate in mood and quality. The sound effects, while also limited, are well-suited to the scenarios.


The Fifth Gate is a rare blend of a classic fantasy tale, action-packed game-play, and beautiful art. It's entertaining and challenging in equal measure, and leaves the gamer satisfied, yet craving for more. At the end, Morgana, scolded by Titania for being, of all things, lazy, leaves in a huff, but not before promising to return.

That's a sequel worth waiting for.

g@mrgrl rating: 5/5
Pros interesting game-play, attractive graphics, 70 levels
Cons ordinary music, too easy
Bugsno bugs noted

This is an original review written by me. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without my written consent.

July 3, 2010

Tips & Tricks: Burger Bustle

15 points to simplify Burger Bustle for you:

1. First of all, it's a demanding game that requires extreme speed (especially in the last 4 locations) AND planning of which counters to unlock / man to beat aggressive gold time targets.

2. Tutorials take you through the production process of new products that are added.

3. Right at the start of a level, keep all dispensers filled with one serving: burgers (each frier can make upto two at a time), sodas, desserts, fries and ice-cream.

4. Refill all dispensers immediately after serving.

5. The burgers do not require the layers of cheese, tomato and lettuce to be added in any particular order. Only correct layers have to be chosen.

6. Essential workers include at least 1 burger frier (can double as cheese / lettuce / tomato loader), 1 waiter, and 1 side dish vendor.

7. Serving customers a part of their order does not improve their moods. Focus on completing entire orders to earn cash and finish 'task' counts.

8. Customers do not have any preference for items on the display shelf. It serves only as an extra holding area.

9. Use the time delays between customers (more frequent than you'd expect) to build complicated burgers beforehand in case they have to be completed as part of 'tasks'.

10. Since there is no overnight wastage i.e. no money is deducted for food / drinks that remain at the end of the day, or monetary penalties for throwing away wasted items, don't be afraid to keep dispensers filled and make complex burgers before actual orders.

11. Getting gold levels require planning which counters to unlock + how many servers to deploy + which tasks to prioritise:

... If there is a cash target, try to use as few workers as possible. Save recruiting the last worker for AFTER achieving the cash target as once reached, falling below the target does not matter. Don't forget to keep a time buffer of 5 - 10 seconds to add a worker.

... For order targets, delay unlocking too many filling counters or side dish counters. Serving large orders with complex burgers and multiple sides takes more time, and do not increase the count of 'orders completed' versus say serving just a soda or a plain burger.

... For non-cash, food type tasks, recruit as quickly as possible for the burger and filling counters. Remember: you don't have to complete all orders to meet time targets, ONLY the listed items. Serve these first, then complete remaining orders once the clock stops.

... Remember that people eating in will be counted as 'completed orders' only once they finish (and they take a while).

12. Add the ketchup and collect the tips. The cash is invaluable.

13. Use the advantage of serving customers by right clicking the mouse button instead of dragging the item to them - it will save you time and make your mouse pad last longer. For non-cash, order count targets, skip the ketchup.

14. It doesn't matter which decor element you choose to upgrade first. All parts must be eventually selected to complete a cafe.

15. Target using the coffee machine at least twice per level. Use it only when there is a rush of orders as it recharges very slowly.

Good Luck!

This is an original Tips & Tricks written by me. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without my written consent.

Review: Burger Bustle

game format: time management | arcade

puzzles: none

playtime: 8 hours (story mode) | difficulty: medium - difficult

developer: Sulus Games | publisher: Big Fish Games

links: Official site | Buy this game

Burger Bustle
game brief: Dive into some tasty fun in Burger Bustle, a fun and exciting Time Management game! Take over a restaurant and serve up delicious food as quickly as you can to keep your customers coming back for more. Earn awesome awards and unlock helpful upgrades that’ll help you work even more efficiently. Stay one step ahead of your clientele to keep up with the Burger Bustle! (Big Fish website)


Burger Bustle is a time-management game that involves running a chain of cafes that occasionally serve coffee.

the story:

There's none. The memo is short and sweet: do tasks, earn trophies.


Prima facie, Burger Bustle appears to tread little new ground from the tried-and-tested time management format. Customers come into the cafe, browse the menu, place their orders. Servers scurry to fry up burgers, stuff them with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, and a hint of ketchup for extra cash. Side dishes include three varieties each of ice-cream, sodas, coffees, desserts and fries. Customers may choose take-away or eat in the cafe; those who eat in sometimes leave tips.

And then comes the twist - the 'strategy' part. This isn't a game that can be beaten by just skidding across the mousepad. Planning which counters to unlock, how to distribute available workers, and which tasks to priortise plays a huge part in winning gold. Multiple targets per level add to the challenge.

There are eight 'locations' of the cafe - Beach, Wild West, Winter (surely this was lost in translation), City (screenshot), Shopping Center, Aqua Park, Hollywood and Space Station (screenshot), each with 8 levels, adding up to 64 for the game. At the start of each level, targets are defined for 'gold' and 'silver' trophies. The time target requires task targets to be completed - minimum orders to be served and/or cash to be earned and/or particular burgers types or sides to be sold and/or staff to be recruited.

Customer types are few (but range from blue collar workers to Japanese tourists) and remain constant irrespective of the cafes' locations. There's no significant difference in patience levels either; most are reasonable even with inordinate delays. Which is a saving grace, because the workers are woefully sluggish, and the sole in-game speed up is a coffee machine which takes over a minute (with levels averaging 2 - 3 minutes) to recharge after a 10-odd second use. After a few levels the cafe gets a gramophone (in a burger shop?) and candy that can be used to soothe irate customers.

Other positive elements include the facility to serve customers by clicking the right mouse button on the item rather than have to drag it to them; there is also no 'overnight wastage' - money deducted on leftover items when the shop closes, nor any penalties for discarding useless items except the time lost in handling them.

Each level has three decor upgrades - flooring, walls and tables, which improve tipping. There is no cash implication to purchasing them, so the feature appears cursory.

Great? Not quite. Burger Bustle suffers from a near-crippling glitch - customers often do NOT order the items required to complete tasks for many, many rounds. This wastes precious time, and renders the player helpless and frustrated. The worst afflicted levels are 14 (Wild West), 53 (Hollywood) and 64 (Space Station), for which gold targets appear improbable thanks to lack of ordering of critical items.

Another problem is that bonuses (upgrades) are 'awarded' on the player moving up a pre-set leaderboard. Even after completing all eight locations with 60 (of 64) gold trophies, I managed to make it to only number 2, short by over 4000 points, though the scores for each level are 'fixed' in terms of targets - achieving targets faster does not earn additional points. Not being able to choose an upgrade also hampers gamers from maximising their individual game-play strengths.

The game has two additional modes which extend playtime by several hours - "Survival", unlocked when the player ranks 8th on the leaderboard, and "Relaxed", unlocked at rank 2. Survival mode has the player racing against the clock to meet orders as customers increase and patience levels decrease, till 20 customers are lost. Relaxed mode is untimed, pressure mounting as customers increase along with order complexity.

art & graphics:

The art is vibrant and attractive, with smooth, clear graphics. Overall the game is a visual pleasure with above average production quality.

text, sound & music:

The game has very little text, keeping it crisp and free of typos. The voice-acting is good, but the limited sound-bites get repetitive after a few levels. The music is functional and remains in the background.


The biggest strengths of Burger Bustle are its perfect length and challenging game-play. The speed + strategy approach keeps the gamer engaged its entire duration. There's no getting bored with this game, and the only regret is the glitch of ordering task items that reduces its overall satisfaction score.

g@mrgrl rating: 4/5
Pros challenging speed + strategy concept, graphics, 64 levels
Cons design glitch - customers often don't order task items
Bugsno bugs noted

This is an original review written by me. Please do not distribute / adapt the text and images in any way without my written consent.