Reviewed: August 27, 2008
A while back I had the opportunity to preview Digital Embryoís upcoming title, Cake Mania 2: Jillís Next Adventure! for the Nintendo DS. I am not one that usually likes casual games, but at the time I found Cake Mania 2 to be refreshing and easier to play than its PC counterpart. I however have come to like these types of games more recently. I often times find myself picking up my DS or PSP when I am not playing my PC or console favorites. That and they are great for car trips and lunch breaks.
Cake Mania 2 is the second installment in the wildly popular series by developers Digital Embryo. In Cake Mania 2, you return to pick up the role of Jill once again. This time around you are not running the Evans bakery like in the previous title. This time around Jill is asked to rescue her old flame Jack with his underwater theme park, and/or to help out her college friend Risha out with her fancy rooftop bakery. Want to know more? Then keep reading as I review Cake Mania 2: Jillís Next Adventure! for the Nintendo DS.
Cake Maniaís interface is amazingly easy to use with the stylus. I actually prefer it over the point and click method used in the PC version. ItĎs gives a much more interactive feel and thatís the way it should be. Players will notice this time around that there are a lot more additions to the kitchen than in the previous titles.
More noticeably, there is the Frosterators, a device that will frost and decorate a cake at the same time. While I will not go into too much detail on all the unique upgrades, there are 50 of them this time around including the all-new TVs and Display Stands. One of the upgrades I do like is the option to make cookies and cupcakes for the less than patient customers. I mean whoís gonna turn down free sweets.
Now that I have had a bit more time to play this title I can give you a bit more info on all those sweet upgrades that you will want to get. As I mentioned above the Frosterators is one of the new upgrades to Jillís bakery. This bad boy is actually pretty useful once you shell out your hard earned dough (no pun intended) on it.
The TVís that you can purchase are also pretty cool as you can keep your waiting customers happy and distracted when you accidentally biff up on an order. The TV itself also has several upgrades available to it as well. In the world of baking itís all about keeping your customers happy.
I will say that Cake Mania is actually quite addicting and will have you playing for hours, or at least until the battery goes dead. Just like other simulation titles like Cake Mania 2, the difficulty eventually gets harder and if you are feeling particularly energetic you can help both friends out during your adventure in one shot. That way you are not constricted to helping only one friend at a time, thus forcing you to play the game all the way through twice.
Cake Mania 2 also features a brand new Endless Baking mode which allows the players to jump right in on the baking fun without having to worry about the storyline. But just like the story mode you start out with only the basic tools. This is the true test of Cake Mania 2 will more than likely keep people playing until their hands fall off. Well not, really but you get the point. I actually liked this mode over the story one. Not that this mode is any better, as they are the same sans the story part. Do you have what it takes to take your baking skills to the max?
As I mentioned in my preview of Cake Mania 2, I had never played the original title. I however did download the PC version to get a feel for the title before picking up this one. Truth be told this title doesnít really change much from the original title. It does however offer so nice new upgrades and a new baking mode so as a new comer I found this title highly enjoyable.
Visually, Cake Mania 2 looks pretty good for a DS title. Itís not as gorgeous as some games Iíve played but it is still well done. The characters this time around are also all new ones so no pink bunny man. You are however treated to penguin man, some wicked looking aliens and a guy that apparently needs to be kept an eye on at all times. Thatís right, Iím talking about you, Mr. Cake Maniac.
The nice thing about Cake Mania 2 is that each location has its own style so youíre not looking at the same backdrop over and over again. The rooftop bakery is probably my favorite out of all of the locations that I visited. One thing you will notice is that Jillís workspace has not altered any from the previous title. Personally if a gameís ingredients work donít monkey with them. This is a baking simulation game after all.
The sound aspect of Cake Mania 2 is fairly good for the most part. While some may disagree with what I say and dog the audio performance, I will explain why I think this category is important. Everything in this title has its own sound. Be it a customer entering a store to the sound of a cake being frosted. While your eyes are constantly keeping an eye on everything that is going on the dual screens, itís nice to be able to hear whatís going on at all times.
The backgrounds music however is the one flaw to Cake Mania 2. Itís the same song repeated over and over again. I mean at least one extra tune would have been nice. But flawed as the music is you probably wonít be paying much attention to it anyway as youíll be paying more attention to keeping your customers satisfied.
Cake Mania 2: Jillís Next Adventure! hits retails stores for just $20 dollars, which makes it a deal for all of the 200+ levels of baking madness. The newly added Endless baking mode also gives the player something to test their skill on. Personally even thought this title is nearly identical to it predecessor, I still find it highly entertaining and a perfect addition to car trips or daily breaks.
All in all, Cake Mania 2: Jillís Next Adventure is pretty good. The game mechanics havenít changed from the previous game, but the added Bake mode and all the added upgrades make this title even better than the original game. For a mere $20 dollars this title is perfect for anyone looking for something different or for fans of the original game.