Cake Mania
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| Cake Mania

Cakes are great. Great big chocolate cakes, short fat sponge cakes, moist pert fairy cakes... Our love of sweet baked goods grows larger every day. As do our waistlines. If ever we'd worked in a cake shop, it would only have been a matter of time before we'd have scoffed so much merchandise, we'd have exploded over the customers like a sweet-toothed Mr Creosote from Monty Python.

Thankfully, Cake Mania provides a less dangerous way to indulge our patisserie fetish. It's a simulation that has you running a succession of cake shops, baking up tasty treats for a variety of customers, from nice old ladies and harassed businesspeople through to, erm, the Easter Bunny.

Keeping customers happy is, on the surface, a simple matter. When someone comes into the shop, you give them a menu and wait for them to choose a cake, which will be one of a combination of shapes and icing-colours. For example, a round cake with white icing, or a triangular cake with red icing.

You then bake the cake in the oven and when it's finished put the icing on, hand it to the customer and take their money. Except during this process, another customer or two will have walked in, so you have to juggle their orders, too.

All of this is handled by simply moving a cursor around the screen between the different elements – customer, oven, icing station and so on. The system works well, even if it's slightly fiddlier than similar games that assign individual keys for these actions.

Similar games? Well yes. Cake Mania is the latest in an increasingly long line of 'casual job' games, following Diner Dash (the same idea, but in a restaurant) and Manic Medic (hospital). All these games are based on existing casual web games. In that sense, Cake Mania is hardly original.

But who cares, when it tastes this good? The fun – and the challenge – comes from upgrading your cake shops as you progress through the game, such as getting faster ovens, more icing stations, or trays of treats to keep your waiting customers happy. You can even buy new shoes to help you scamper around the bakery faster.

However, the orders get more complex as you go along, with customers demanding swizzier decorations, while the pace ramps up to panic-stricken levels if you're not clever about managing your queues. Do it right, though, and you'll earn big tips, earning you enough money to buy new upgrades.

Meanwhile, the game is neatly structured by calendar month, with certain customers appearing at certain times of the year (that'll explain the Easter Bunnies, then). It all works smoothly, and the graphics are full of character – not that you'll have much time to notice them as you rush from task to task.

If you loved Diner Dash, you should definitely buy Cake Mania, as it's baked from the same cake mixture. But even if you haven't played Glu's waitress title, Cake Mania is a delicious slice of mobile gaming goodness. Sweet.

Cake Mania

Characterful casual game that puts a great spin on an established casual genre
Score