Cake Mania is a fast-paced arcade game where you play the role of Jill, a new graduate from culinary school, who returns home to discover her grandparents' bakery is closed. Business fell when the new Mega-Mart opened and not even their special recipes could help them compete. Jill decides to open her own old fashioned bakery to earn money and re-open her grandparents' store. Through nearly 50 levels and four different locations you'll help Jill serve customers as efficiently as possible. Along the way you'll buy new appliances for your kitchen, set up a bakery at the circus, and serve pink frosted cakes to vampires.
Cake Mania's simple formula is very easy to learn, but when customers start swarming the shop those simplicities start to get a little more complex. Each time someone comes in your first step is to give them a menu. When they select their cake shape, hop over to the oven and bake it, ice it with the correct flavor, add any decorations, then serve it up hot. Each customer has a set of hearts that shows how happy they are. Wait too long and the customer will get angry and might leave the store. The happier your customers, the more money you'll make. Which, of course, is a good thing.
Cake Mania plays out in rounds, each one lasting approximately five minutes. At the end of each round you can use some of your cash to buy new equipment or upgrade existing appliances. Add more icing stations, extra ovens, or even upgrade Jill's shoes to give her a little extra spring in her step. You can even buy things that will help keep customers happy while waiting in line, such as a television set.
There's a good variety of locations and types of customers in Cake Mania, enough to give each round a unique feel. Depending on what month it is different people will visit your store. For example, in February Cupid will stop by the bakery. As you can imagine he's quite busy this time of year, so you'll need to work fast to fill his order before he gets upset. In December Santa Claus will pay you a visit, bringing with him holiday cheer that perks up everyone in the room.
Cake Mania has the wonderful ability to draw you in and keep you wanting more, kind of like real cake. The fast-paced gameplay doesn't sacrifice overall progression, giving you more reasons to stick around for "just" one more round. It blends action and strategy together in a game that's easy to learn and very easy to enjoy.
Analysis: As I type this, I'm thinking about my kitchen. Well, Jill's kitchen. Should we upgrade the other frosting stations or save and upgrade the third oven? Maybe I'll go and play just one round and see what happens. Only one, I promise... Cake Mania is one of those rare games I just can't stop playing. The blend of short spurts of action with long term goals captures me and I'm helpless to resist. Or maybe it's that I really like cake?
What's so engaging about Cake Mania is how the initially simple formula grows and evolves as customers' demands become more intricate. While you play, your brain is keeping track of four unique orders, trying to figure out the best way to fill them, and monitoring their happiness levels. It sounds like a full plate, but it feels like just the right amount of information to keep you interested without becoming frustrated. Rounds last around 5 minutes, so time never drags, but each level brings new customers and a chance to try out my new kitchen upgrades.
Cake Mania is a superb rendition of a classic action/arcade formula. It wraps almost everything a gamer needs from a good casual title into one nice little package. With frosting on top.
Try the online Flash version.