Cake Mania Main Street
Developer: Sandlot Games
Publisher: The Same Guys
Released on Feb 16, 2010
Ah, the Cake Mania series, it truly brings back memories. Little did I know, they would create a fourth game, not after Jill got married and everything was tied up in a neat little bow. This one is like an old-school time management game for the girls and their moms. The story takes you back to the Evan’s Bakery in Bakersfield.
Genre: A Casual Game for All Ages
Intro to Cake Mania: Main Street
You may remember the Cakemania games from your childhood, but they never looked quite so appetizing as now. This time around, Jill and friends all start their own shops to outcompete the Mega Mall corporation, constructing a new burger barn, flower shop, and sushi restaurant which should convince patrons to visit Main Street.
Your goal is to help these guys serve customers delicious food and deliver pretty bouquets. This lets you save up enough money to buy fancier upgrades and build new attractions until all the mom and pop stores open up again. Similar to the previous games, you have 100 levels to complete, 25 for each shop with assigned goals to meet.
Jill Evans is back from her time travel days, deciding to settle down with Jack instead. The newly-wed couple takes a trip down memory lane, only to find that most of the shops are going out of business. Jill isn’t too pleased with the new Mega Mall being built on Main Street so she calls up Jack, Risha, and Tiny to devise a counter-plan.
Some elements are recycled from its predecessors: Cakemania 4 still goes by the same formula for a typical time management game, except they now introduce a new point & click minigame. The patrons are what truly makes Cakemania fun to play. You have these Italian guys in hot dog suits, channel switching aliens, Super Matt, Dracula, pirates, an anime catgirl, you get the idea.
At Evans Bakery, help Jill serve layered cakes to quirky customers, each with their own special effects. Pay close attention to what each customer wants and choose the correct shape on the oven to bake a cake. Place the cake on a froster to add colorful frosting. Decorations add a nice touch to a frosted cake for some extra cash.
It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Just don’t lose track of what order you’re working on. If the line is too long and everyone is losing hearts, you can give them a cupcake treat or turn on the TV to their favorite channel, to increase their patience. The clock on the top-right corner tells you how much time Jill has left to reach the level goal.
Upgrades are very useful if you wish to earn even more money. Both ovens and frosters can be upgraded to shave off a few seconds. It does save time to increase the number of ovens and frosters for the bakery, as this allows Jill to juggle multiple orders at once.
A better microwave gives out more cupcakes, whereas an HD TV set will increase the number of hearts gained by patrons. Definitely get a refrigerator to store unfinished cakes, in case you make a mistake. The coffee brewer pays for itself once customers start ordering drinks.
Jack’s Burger Barn serves tasty homemade burgers using a variety of flavorful ingredients. Although he is not a very competent chef, he does know how to make a mean sandwich. As long as you have the quick reflexes to pile on the condiments, or flip four patties onto the grill, you can reach the goal with ease.
Each customer will ask for up to eight ingredients depending on the recipe so there’s more to juggle on day 20 and beyond. Creating chain bonuses by doing the same task 4 times is the best strategy towards reaching the Superstar goal. Like SpongeBob, you have to stack the buns and lettuce in a specific order.
The same minigame is used for Sumo Sushi, with the exception of the food being served. For both Sumo Sushi and Burger Barn, you are provided a recipe book full of unique dishes, sprinkled in with some light humor. The only equipment upgrades are for the microwave oven and of course, the TV screen.
I’m not too fond of the limited controls: The clicking does get tiring when you have to outpace the timer. At least the sitcom jokes and pop-culture references keep you invested in what happens to Jill, Jack, Risha, and Tiny. The colors are bright and pretty, as a game targeted to girls usually is.
Risha was always an urbanite at heart, but she doesn’t mind lending a hand to Jill. In Risha’s flowers, your goal is to sell elegant bouquets, wrapped in paper and tied up with ribbons. Growing flowers has never been quicker thanks to the Hothouse Floral Accelerator. You’ll need a Wrappomatic to hold different flowers (up to three!) and a Ribbonizer to finish the job.
Tiny runs Sumo Sushi after retiring from his wrestling career, with a newfound distaste for crabs and octopus. Apparently, Japanese cuisine is popular with the residents on Main Street. Help Tiny serve delicious recipes based on actual dishes like the salmon nigiri. But beware of the French chef or Dracula since both can change the other customer’s orders on a whim, forcing you to restart.
A small portion of proceeds always goes towards restoring Main Street to its former glory, though you’ll have plenty of money left for shop upgrades. This is where you can renovate the Evans Bakery, Burger Barn, Risha’s Flowers, or Sumo Sushi buildings with extra floors to bring in more revenue. More attractions are unlocked as you progress through the game.
Gold medals are given out for your achievements in opening one of the three shops, reaching all superstar goals, purchasing all the attractions, or finishing all 100 levels. It’s a family-friendly game that you won’t have to hide from mom and dad.
The game isn’t that long anyway, spanning a mere few hours. The real challenge is remembering what each customer’s effects are and who to serve first before someone gets smoke-screened, frozen, turned into a hotdog, hogs the TV, or tries to steal money off the counter. But it is easy enough to remember anyway.