Avenue Flo: Special Delivery
Oh, Flo. After so many games, so many jobs and so much dashing, I almost wish they'd come out with a game where you get to just take a break. Vacation Sloth or Diner Stroll or Flo: Just Hangin' Out. At least in your newest game you won't be doing much time-management style dashing, which isn't to say you won't be busy...
Avenue Flo: Special Delivery, which is the sequel to Avenue Flo, is a point-and-click adventure game starring Flo, the never resting entrepreneur from the expansive Diner Dash series. When a gang of puppies ruins the baby shower being planned by Flo's friend Quinn, it's up to Flo to fix everything and make sure every goes off without a hitch. It better be perfect, because it seems all of Diner Town is getting ready for this shower. Oh, there's one more problem... the expecting mother, Vicky, is missing. You had better find her too.
You'll be using your mouse to save the day. Click on characters to talk to them or click on an item to pick it up. Click an item when it's in your inventory and then click on a person or object to give the item to that person or use it on that object. Walk around town by moving your mouse to the edge of the screen heading toward the direction you want to go to and clicking when your pointer becomes an arrow.
Now, you won't be able to get everything on your to-do list done by just finding items and handing them over. You're going to have to get your hands dirty. Along with all the pointing and clicking you'll also have to find some hidden objects. There's 99 balloons strewn about Diner Town that you'll need to grab, and some citizens have misplaced their belongings so you'll find yourself hunting down things like kiwis and socks. You'll also be playing some mini-games where you'll sort books, arrange cakes and dig through your messy, messy purse.
Analysis: What really surprised and impressed me about Avenue Flo: Special Delivery is all the variety in the game. While at its core it's a point and click game, there's also a lot of hidden object hunting and logic puzzles. You'll also find word games, matching games, memory games and much more. You won't be doing one thing for very long in Special Delivery, and while the mini-games usually come when you aren't expecting them, the way the game flows into them feels very natural. Some of the mini-games have some minor annoyances. One where you're trying to clear a board by making groups of different tiles could really use an undo button and another where you're throwing toys to dogs could use some better hit detection. That said, the games are well done and those minor annoyances are pretty minor.
The overall difficulty of the game is handled very well too. The hidden object portions of the game aren't very hard, but the logic puzzles and the point-and-click puzzle can range from obvious to brain teasing. This creates an experience that's relaxing and fun, but still requires you to think. The mini-games feature a skip button that becomes available after a little bit of time in case anything gets too frustrating. That shouldn't happen too often, because even when they're challenging the puzzles and games are very fun.
The production values in Avenue Flo: Special Delivery are great all around. The art style and animation are full of bright colors and are crisp and clean. The voice acting and theme song are very well done. The music isn't the greatest, but it's also not annoying or distracting. It provides a nice bed for most of the things you do. The only area the game could do better with is in the humor department. The jokes often fell flat for me. Luckily, humor is subjective, so you might get more out of than I did... and there were a few lines that made me crack a smile.
Avenue Flo: Special Delivery is such a strong and diverse game that it can easily be fun for everyone. So, even if you're a guy or gal who doesn't have much interest in baking or gussying up babies, but you do like well made, good looking point and click adventures with lots of mini-games you might want to check out Avenue Flo: Special Delivery