My kids tried this one before me and they only played it for a couple days before moving on to other apps.  I figured I would give it a go and see why it didn’t hold their attention too long.

Game play is fairly straightforward – you control wait staff in Garfield’s Diner.  You start with one waiter (Jon) who prepares the food and handles the cashier duties for the diner.  You can buy additional wait staff with in-game currency to help you out when the diner starts to get busy.  When customers come in you have to tap and drag them to the station where they want to eat (depicted by a speech bubble over their head), then you have to tap them to make a waiter move to that location to prepare food.  The customers, when finished with that portion of the meal will either want to go to another food station or they will want to check out.  Your task is to keep them happy and collect the maximum number of dollars and you do this by making sure they get their food before they get angry and leave.  If you bump up the game speed, you get bonuses on the money and the happiness.

You can and should upgrade your food stations.  Upgrades allow for faster prep time as well as higher dollars.  Likewise with the wait staff, they should be upgraded so they walk and serve faster.

Entertainment Value 2/5

There’s no major strategy to the game.  You basically have to move your fingertip quickly and accurately when placing customers and assigning the wait staff.   At first, it’s funny to watch the different characters but it gets old and repetitive fast.  There’s a decent variety of characters but no big variation in game play as you progress.

The more frustrating thing about the game is the in-game currency system.  To purchase more than 2 helpers you need a lot of the premium currency and with this game it’s not at all easy to earn.    The ‘free’ in game currency is used to upgrade stations but at some point you need additional people to keep the shop running and you would have pay real $ to get the in-game currency so you can hire them.

Ease of Use 3.5/5

The early levels are pretty easy but as you move through the game, the screen gets cluttered with the different food stations.   It would probably play better on the iPad but on the iPhone and iPod touch it starts to get a little messy.  Tapping and dragging the customers can be troublesome when working on the small screen and if you make a mistake you lose time.  Losing time means losing customers so that can be troublesome.

Likelihood of Replay 1/5

I’m deleting after the review.  If I see some updates come through, I may reload but probably not.

Graphics and Sound 3.5/5

The cartoon style graphics stay true to what I would expect from a Garfield cartoon.  They look decent but, as mentioned above, the screen clutters very quickly as more and more customers enter the Diner.  The sounds are fine; there’s a simple, light soundtrack that plays while you are in the diner mode.  Each station has different sound effects that run while you are preparing food/drinks.

Overall 2.5/5

The game has some basic entertainment value but not much.  As I play, I feel like the creators are more focused on pulling money out of my pocket than creating a fun, entertaining game.  While I was trying to take screen shots for the review, I accidentally clicked on no fewer than 4 advertisements.  The placement of the large ads (right in the center of the screen and on top of the “Play” button), makes it very easy to tap and ad even when you don’t mean to.    I’m still not sure why the kids didn’t want to play the game after a couple days, but now I have my own reasons.

Unless you’re a Garfield collector, I think you can pass on this one.

Itunes Link

Current price: Free, with a lot of in-app purchases.