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Cake Mania 2

For: DS   Also on: Mobile


Product: Cake Mania 2 | Developer: Sandlot Games | Publisher: Codemasters | Format: DS | Genre: Casual, Simulation, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: US
Cake Mania 2 DS, thumbnail 1
Baking is a precise science. Following a recipe to the letter is a must if you're aiming for a yummy result. No matter how fantastic the batter, shoving a cake into an overheated toaster oven instead of an actual oven is a recipe for disaster. Such is the foible of Cake Mania 2, a game cooked up on the wrong platform. While it dishes out delicious casual gameplay, it just doesn't come out well on DS. A lack of depth and cramped presentation prevent this mix from rising above mediocrity.

As the legendary cake baker Jill, Cake Mania 2 sends you across the globe to save bakeries from bankruptcy. A single-player Story mode takes you to six bakeries where you man the kitchen to set things on the path to success. As customers flock to each location, you're in the kitchen baking confections to fulfil each order.

A year is spent at each bakery, the span of a single month equating to one level. Fulfilling an adequate number of orders within a level earns the bakery enough dough to remain open for the next month – succeed in building the business for the full year and your work in that bakery is complete.

Baking cakes requires tapping on an oven, selecting a frosting, and delivering the final goods. Customers stream in from the right side of the touchscreen, at which point a menu icon appears signifying that you need to take their order. Tap the icon and it changes to show their cake order. Next, you select the corresponding cake shape on one of your ovens lining the top of the touchscreen. Tapping any of the pictured shapes on an oven – circle, star, sconced, square, etc – starts the baking process. Before you can deliver the cake, though, you need to frost it. Decorative platters with various colors and patterns can be tapped to frost your cakes. Touching a cake and then the desired frosting starts the process, after which you can hand it over to the customer.

Of course, all of this is cake simple when dealing with a single order at a time. However, managing multiple requests and working with limited equipment makes for a tricky little game. Cake Mania 2 relies heavily on the challenge presented in managing customers and baking the correct cakes. In this regard, the game has the right recipe. The fundamental gameplay is solid and even provides an initial challenge, but a lack of depth keeps it from setting on a level above that of a casual distraction.

Like a slice of Battenberg, once you've experienced a little of Cake Mania 2, you're over it. There's no need to get a second helping since you've been more than satisfied from the first taste. The ability to purchase equipment tries to instil some depth, yet it's far from enough to bring lasting complexity to the game. An Endless mode also attempts to keep things from growing stale, but it's akin to covering an old cake with extra frosting – no matter how much you try to tart it up, it's still stale. And let's not forget the decision on the part of the developer to omit any form of multiplayer.

The game doesn't even frost over its lacklustre play with a sweet presentation. Despite the renovations made to the kitchen, the graphics largely look the same as the original Cake Mania. Changes have been made to improve the touchscreen interface, although they aren't enough to fully eliminate problems with the controls – it's still common to accidentally select the wrong cake or frosting. As if to throw salt into the mixture, the music retains the same annoying quality as the first game.

Cake Mania 2
would make a far better mobile game with its satisfying short-session gameplay, but it just doesn't offer enough to keep you playing on DS. It's a case of flawed baking: right formula, wrong execution. Touch controls, while well-intended, don't work as well as they should and the lack of depth significantly limits the game's value. One finger swipe of this frosting and you'll be content, rarely feeling the need to get your teeth into a full slice.
Cake Mania 2
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 2 July 2008
Minor improvements make Cake Mania 2 better than the original, but the difference is negligible. Lacking depth and issues with the touch controls make this casual treat a relatively tasteless affair
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