Time management is a genre that keeps growing for the iPhone. It is a strange development where we seek games for our leisure that let us do work. Stand O’Food is such a game that also adds puzzle elements to the table.
In Stand O’Food you have to put together the sandwiches demanded by the customers. The different ingredients are all places randomly across eight conveyor belts. To choose an item simply tap it, and you are able to queue actions letting your little avatar run along as you plan the next sandwich. What sets Stand O’Food apart from those time management titles I have played for the iPhone is the fact that putting the sandwiches together is a big puzzle. You have to plan ahead to see what sandwich the next customer wants. If you pick the wrong item you can either place it on a tray on the counter or press the put it back arrow. This steals precious time, and if you really mess up customers will stomp out of your restaurant in anger. If you need a piece of fish, and you see that there are for example three top parts of the bun in the way you can serve other customers first to get to the fish later. This is the puzzle part that makes Stand O’Food a breath of fresh air in the genre.
After each round of customers have been served you can upgrade your restaurant. You get your standard upgrades that keep the customers happy while waiting such as a jukebox and a coffee machine. More trays to put surplus ingredients are good investments early on. If you want to make more money you can buy spices to enhance the sandwiches. These are not needed and demand that you know which sandwich goes with what spice but it is really profitable if you get it right. The game features a easy to read book of recipes where the correct spice is shown.
There are two game modes; lunch rush that puts you right into a busy lunch and the main quest mode letting you progress through the fast food business in a city. The quest mode gives a lot of gamelife, and you get to follow your progress on the map. Each new restaurant has new recipes, and more impatient customers. The progression is quite slow though, and you will probably loose more customers due to experimenting with spice mixes rather than you not having time to serve them. You get rated after each round based on your speed, and customer satisfaction.
Stand O’Food is a port from a PC game but it feels well ported with a nice interface for the iPhone. It feels quite well adapted to the small screen. What I must mention is the long loading time when starting the game, it takes 25 seconds on my iPhone 3G which to me is at least 10 seconds too long.
If you are looking for great value for your buck Stand O’Food is a good choice. It soon becomes addictive but due to the puzzle elements it doesn’t feel like menial work.
Large characters that are easy to see, and emotions are also easy to understand. The different main ingredients are easy to differentiate. Spices are harder though as they look much the same, and aren’t used as often. It is too easy to pick the wrong one.
Interface is bright and colourful, and having your player name visible on the main screen is nice touch.
The music isn’t very good with some kind of happy muzak going on that soon becomes grating. Sound effects ok but nothing more, would like to have some moans from queuing customers or something like that to enhance the setting. Not able to play own music, not even with the double home button trick.
The touch controls work really well. The injection of puzzle elements into the time management is great too. The game does get repetitive after a while though, and some kind of variation is sorely missing.
With a staggering amount of levels (over 100) and more than 80 sandwiches you can play this for a long time. The question is if you will though as it becomes quite repetitive, and at least I found myself satisfied after playing through just 30 levels. Sure it introduces new sandwiches but that is not really enough to keep my interest going. Still at a dollar you will surely get good value just completing 20 levels.
Local high score list that really isn’t that motivating, the quest mode is the meat of the game and progression the best reward.
Stand O’Food is a good time management puzzle game that can help you casually spend your trips to and from work. It gives great value for your money with over 100 levels, even though most will have tired of the formula before reaching the end.