PlayFirst gives Diner Dash a competitive F2P twist, with high score-focused Diner Dash Rush

Heading the weekly leaderboard is the goal

PlayFirst gives Diner Dash a competitive F2P twist, with high score-focused Diner Dash Rush
| Diner Dash Rush

It's been 18 months since CEO Marco DeMiroz came onboard at casual developer PlayFirst.

In that time, the company's made the transition to become 100 percent mobile; something recently underlined with its first releases on Google Play.

Still, such changes take time to fully shake out.

That's the reason latest game Diner Dash Rush is an iOS exclusive.

"We moved from our internal engine to Cocos2d, which was what we used to develop Diner Dash Rush," DeMiroz says.

"But our next games will be cross-platform as we're now using Cocos2d-x."

Blitz it

In the meantime, there's plenty of pent-up demand for the new "fastest ever version" of the classic restaurant-themed time management game.

"Our players want more Dash games and with Diner Dash Rush we're giving them something that has more contemporary gameplay," DeMiroz explains.

"This has a strong competitive twist thanks to its weekly leaderboards."

Similar in theme to refreshes such as EA's Bejeweled Blitz, Diner Dash Rush takes the franchise's popular endless challenge mode, encouraging players to chase high scores in single short-time sessions, thanks to its social integration and leaderboards.

These provide encouragement to play thanks to their weekly reset; something that's become a staple to maximise the frequency of play, especially over the weekend for games that reset their leaderboard on Sunday evening.

High score items

In this context, as a free-to-play title, Diner Dash Rush's monetisation is delivered in a specific way.

"This isn't monetising through frustration, but enabling positive experiences," DeMiroz says.

You can power up Flo with go-faster boots, the ability to carry four items (compared to the standard two), plus a charm which makes customers more patient.

Of course, because this is a competitive game, you can only buy one of each item for each session, effectively increasing the cost of each session to 13,500 of the in-game currency.

The other multiplier you'll need to gain - by earning Flair via regular gameplay - is the Happy Hour bonus, which acts as a smart bomb to clear the restaurant.

Colour-matching, chaining and managing customer archetypes remain key skill-based elements.

Significantly, PlayFirst is also employing what DeMiroz calls "an adaptive algorithm" to help less skilled players score more highly in the early stages.

This effective rubber banding is designed to ensure that players who post very high leaderboard scores don't discourage their friends from trying to beat them.

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.