Cake-o-Rama (iPhone) Game Review: Infuriating, Disappointing

There’s something infuriating about Cake-o-Rama for the iPhone. Probably it violates two of the tenets that I have when it comes to casual gaming. First up, do not frustrate players from the get-go (but it’s ok to give them hell later on), this is pretty much “easy to play, difficult to master” territory. The game features typical gameplay normally associated with assembly-line styled games. Players are required to make cakes to order and first you place the base, then the icing, followed by the topping and you are supposed to complete a whole bunch of cakes within a set amount of time.

Mistakes are allowed, but this will deduct the amount of lives you have. What I do not understand here is the role of the antagonist, the French  (Why French? Ask the developer) chef that sabotages your cake-making process. While I understand the need for challenge, even two appearances from him in the first level is enough to make you fail and sometimes, by some stroke of good fortune whatever he does misses the cake, and you’ll be spared. Even the controls seem to be abit wonky whenever he’s about to disappear. It’s this kind of viciousness that made me go…”what the heck” during the first few play-throughs for Cake-o-Rama.

The second tenet would be “create something compelling”. Other games have compelling features to bring players back to play the game. Some have online leaderboards and achievements, others have unlockables and some form of character/level progression, others even use a compelling storyline. In short, there are plenty of ways to create a compelling game and what does Cake-o-Rama have? Do I want to get my whole gaming experience spoiled by some stupid antagonist, whose appearance would determine whether I pass a level, again? I don’t think so.

So despite the sugary facade, which I think looks rather nice, the whole gameplay experience does a very poor job in “selling” the game. While the app is available on the App Store for 99 cents (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cakeorama/id402250413?mt=8), I can’t really recommend the game.



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