Dim Sum Lab presents a mouthwatering app game for iOS that’ll certainly have you coming back for seconds. Dim Sum Story is a colourful and inventive game that centres around mini games and customisation.
The comic panel intro tells you what little plot you need to know: Save the dim sum, save the world. You play a young chef with a humble street stall, and dotted around your modest restaurant are three mini games: Hell’s Steamer, Flick Maniac, Spin ‘n’ Serve.
Every time you play one of these mini games you get a few percentage points and money to spend on pimping out your restaurant. Once you reach 100% you get a gold star – collect all the gold stars and you get an even better restaurant.
Use the two fans in the bottom corners to fan the flames and cook the dim sum. Nudge the baskets into groups of colours for a higher score, and be careful not to burn your delicacies. As the difficulty goes up, your chef Sensei will appear from either side of the screen demanding specific coloured baskets and quantities.
Flick the dim sum flying at you into one of the two baskets in the left and right corners. If you can fill the baskets with four of the same dim sum then you’ll increase your score. Drop three items and the game is over, and as the difficulty increases you’ll have to swipe away poison bottles so they don’t spoil things.
Serve up the dim sum to your customers by looking at the colour they want, nudging that icon and spinning the table round to keep things snappy. Once you progress in the game you’ll have more customers to serve and the table will spin clockwise and counter clockwise. Once you’ve maxed these mini games out the game opens up to modes such as:
Tap the screen and your chef gathers speed, runs across the screen and...kicks a burglar who’s been spotted in your restaurant. The point is to make your robbing ragdoll fly as far away as possible. Exploding canisters help propel him further, as does eating the dim sum. How you ask? Tapping the screen makes you fart and gives you a boost.
This is the final unlocked mode and by far the most insane. Teapots will pop into view, filling cups until you tell them to stop. Make sure you do because overfilling is no use to you when the tea lady comes round. Hear me out. In the background there’s a tea lady racing left and right, and you have to flick the cups towards her to pick up points.
Each mode is a good fun but as you level up it does sometimes feel like your level grinding, and the added difficulties sometimes feel a bit tagged on. For instance, sometimes flicking the baskets in the Hell’s Steamer confuses the game and in fact sends your cooked basket to the top of the pile as if you’d nudged it. Furthermore, I’ve only spotted one instance of the chef demanding 2 x anything, and in both cases the colours just didn’t show up in time. It becomes a teensy bit of an uphill struggle to get more than two percentage points, and that runs the risk of becoming off-putting if you’re really determined to finish the game and not seeing that much reward.
There’s a story mode and a quick play mode, but you can only unlock quick play after you complete the main game. The cell-shaded animation style is very appealing and the mini games are varied – you’re bound to have favourites above others.
If you’re a bit of an achievement hunter you’ve got 34 to unlock in the Game Centre, including one called 'Long Distance Farter'. Amazing. The customisation isn’t crucial but if you have the cash to spend and fancy a change of scenery then you can alter the tables, chairs, and even the lights in your restaurant.
What’s so enjoyable about Dim Sum Story is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, pretty crucial to a game that’s trying to make dim sum preparation exciting. Little nods to pop culture are a nice touch. For instance, you’re constantly referred to as ‘Grasshopper’ a la Caine in Kung Fu, and there are many tongue-in-cheek ‘Confucius say...’ faux philosophical pop up messages.
Dim Sum Story is a charming little game, which will definitely keep you occupied during the morning commute. It has its glitches and niggles but is well worth a look for just 69p.
Download Dim Sum Story now from iTunes