Review: Beach Party Craze (DSiWare)

Worth the day trip?

Though Diner Dash has yet to make an appearance on DSiWare, other publishers have stepped up to offer fans similar action on the platform. Alawar Entertainment is now bringing Beach Party Craze to the service, but is this PC port worth a download?

The storyline in Beach Party Craze is simple, as you fill in for a friend as an attendant at a swanky beach resort. You’ll need to pamper guests by fulfilling their requests while they hang out in the sun, and like most games of its ilk, the action here eventually becomes quite frantic.

If you’re a fan of Diner Dash, you’ll find Beach Party Craze easy to jump right into. The game is broken up into 50 individual levels, and you’re rewarded stars at the end of each based on your performance. You earn money for each individual task completed as well; the more accurate you are in tending to your customers’ needs, the more money you’ll earn.

Beach Party Craze is a simple, quick-fix adventure, and the presentation does a decent job walking you through the basics. You’ll escort guests to a spot on the beach, bring them drinks, make them sandwiches, rent out various equipment, as well as sell them souvenirs. As you progress through the story you’ll unlock new shops, or cabanas, offering additional products and services for your guests. Missions are interesting and varied, most of the time.

One of our main gripes with the gameplay, however, is due to a lack of tactile feedback. Little things gamers tend to take for granted, such as simple sound effects and visual cues when executing various actions, are all but absent from Beach Party Craze. For example, when selling souvenirs, you’ll need to select the one item that stands out from the crowd. However, there’s no indication you’ve chosen the correct item or tapped the right area of the touch screen; the mini-game just ends and you go on about your business. This is an issue inherent throughout the game, making most actions feel hollow and unsatisfying.

All of your hard work isn’t completely without reward, though. With your cash and earned stars, you can upgrade cabana capacity and train staff to increase their work speed. Since achieving gold awards for many of the levels is quite challenging, going back to replay levels with a stronger workforce is a nice option. There are also trophies to be earned, which add significant incentive and replay value to certain portions of the game.

Unfortunately, there’s no multiplayer option, but the single-player offering is hefty for a downloadable game. As a result, Alawar have provided a decent sized package, and although the game is rough around the edges, Beach Party Craze is still mildly amusing in short spurts. The levels on offer provide nice, bite-size gaming on the go.

Beach Party Craze’s visuals and audio are about what you’d expect from a Diner Dash clone, though the art style is more funky than cute. Most importantly, the animations are smooth and the graphics get the job done. The music can become grating after a while, but it isn’t entirely out of place, considering the game’s setting. As mentioned earlier, however, the lack of audio feedback on certain actions is a problem, and sorely missed during gameplay.

Conclusion

In spite of its missteps, Beach Party Craze offers a functional DSiWare alternative for folks still waiting for a little Flo on the go. The package is comprised of quick-fix gaming that Diner Dash fans will be familiar with, but it also adds a few unique touches that expand the scope of such games, if just ever so slightly. The main problem, however, is its price. Other DSiWare games have raised the bar significantly in terms of presentation and polish, and Beach Party Craze doesn’t come close to offering a premium experience on the platform. Though we can appreciate the desire to have a game like this that you can carry around for play on the go, 800 Nintendo Points is just too steep for what this title offers.