Diner Bros from JAYFLGAMES
I love when I get the opportunity to review games from one of my favorite genres: cooking games. Naturally, when asked to review Diner Bros from JAYFLGAMES, I jumped right in. There’s something about the fast-paced, hectic nature of timed cooking games that call out to me. I’m not going to lie; these games stress me out and bring me back to the burger-flipping days of my early teens. Perhaps therein lies the appeal.
Released mid-2018 and just before Overcooked 2, it’s hard not to compare the two titles. They’re both indie games, but the Overcooked development team – while small – isn’t nearly as small as the Diner Bros development team.
Visually, they look very similar, but I would say Diner Bros is more of an homage to Overcooked than a knock-off. They control very similarly as well, but Diner Bros lacks the accuracy and speed that make the Overcooked games so popular. It’s almost like a little brother to the popular cooking franchise.
I Didn’t Mean Literally Cook Your Little Brother
So what makes Diner Bros stand out on its own? Well, in the Overcooked franchise, food is simply placed on a window and served automatically. In Diner Bros, food must be cooked and served yourself until a server is unlocked. The progression and pacing of the restaurant work well. After each level or two, another addition can be unlocked. These can be restaurant upgrades, like more seating or additional fryers, or menu upgrades adding new food to the restaurant repertoire.
Don’t Harass the New Hires
It felt a lot easier once I unlocked a server to finally get my dishes around my upgraded restaurant. However, the more food I unlocked, the more hectic day-to-day operation of the restaurant became. Diner Bros does a really good job of easing the player into this kind of gameplay, and before I knew it, I was locked in, focusing intensely.
Goals in Diner Bros aren’t kept as simple as most arcade cooking games. Each day has a 5-star tiered rating system, with the restaurant itself on a 3-star tier rating. Similar to the health inspector in Cook, Serve, Delicious!, a food critic will occasionally visit the restaurant. If the visit is successful and certain other restaurant attributes have been met, the restaurant can be upgraded. This is a tried and true system that works well for keeping the player interested in progression.
A Little Bit Undercooked
All of this applies to just the campaign mode; there are also multiplayer options, a challenge mode and an endless mode. Multiplayer is suggested for the challenge mode and even required for some challenges. The endless mode even has a zombie option, protecting your restaurant from the undead.
Diner Bros is a lot of fun even though it lacks the polish of other successful cooking game franchises. I would say the area it falls short the most is content. For months, there was only one restaurant: a burger joint. Additional foods are unlocked, but the restaurant itself was fairly one-dimensional.
Recently, a second level was added called Pizza Bros. This introduces a pizza restaurant that can be unlocked. This adds a few more gameplay elements in terms of variety of food and clientele. This is a welcome addition; however, it still feels lacking. It looks as if the game was still in Early Access, when it’s supposed to be a full release.
Hopefully the developers will continue to support and add onto a great game that can one day be a fantastic game.
Watch the official trailer for Diner Bros below: