VR The Diner Duo is a fun little game for the PSVR that lets you live out your fantasy of a being a fry cook in a diner. Although it starts off easy, the difficulty and available ingredients increase for more complex creations. Although the game is mostly solid, the multiplayer is what will elevate it above similar experiences.
The single player gameplay is a little like a reverse Diner Dash, if you were making the food with PlayStation Move controllers, instead of delivering it to tables. At the game’s start, you are inside a food prep station, and you can adjust the height, floor, and scale, depending on your setup. I suggest spending some time with those options to decrease your frustration and increase your accuracy.
After that, you are put to work making sandwiches for the robotic customers who enter your establishment. The beginning levels are very easy, even on the harder difficulty. In later levels, more ingredients are added, and your simple burger and bun is transformed into a towering monstrosity that Dagwood Bumstead would have trouble imagining, let alone finishing.
It becomes a literal balancing act. The foundation of every order starts by picking up a plate and grabbing a bun from under the counter and stacking other items in the correct order. In single player, you can look up to see the order from the waiting server, while multiplayer has another person relay the order from the customers and deliver it to tables.
You are surrounded by items to use. You have a grill for hamburgers, fish, and mushrooms, and a cutting area on the other side with a cucumber. You will have to reach for plates, ketchup, and mustard with the location varying by whatever you choose as your dominant hand. When the orders start stacking up, you will be performing your own Richard Simmons workout, moving feet and hands to gather everything together.
Just like in real life, you cannot make everyone happy. As you lag behind, the mood of the customers will turn from happy to furious. A less happy customer lowers your score, an angry customer leaves, and, eventually, it’s game over.
In the higher levels, I was pushing to keep everyone fed. I would have to cut the fish on my right, turn to grill them on my left without burning them, put out the plate, pull all the ingredients in the right order, and move the plate to the end of the table for pickup. You need some skill and planning to keep up with the orders and both of my hands were waving the PlayStation Move controllers wildly like an over-caffeinated squid.
The visuals are basic, but they work well. The whole game is colorful, and it’s easy to distinguish separate ingredients. The menu for the game is cleverly designed as a restaurant menu, and it pops open to let you choose between modes, levels, or options. The sound is simply designed as well, but it fits. There are audio indicators that let you know when new customers have arrived, when items are done (or burned) on the grill, and when you have a new order. It’s a great system, since I was working on something else almost all the time.
The sound had two other nice touches. There is a little boombox with different cassette tapes for you to change the soundtrack. On the counter, there is a little bell for you to ring. They were small things, but I enjoyed them as I kept foolishly trying to rest my hands on the counter.
Multiplayer elevates the game into something much more interesting. While one player cooks in PSVR, the other players moves through a much flatter version of the diner taking orders and delivering food and drinks. It’s a system that takes teamwork and communication, but it can be fun even when losing.
Although they did not happen all the time, I did have some technical problems. I would often have plates go through the counter when I tried to set them out. When cutting something, I would frequently not hear the sound of my knife chopping on the wooden surface. Once, the knife disappeared entirely, forcing me to restart the level.
Finally, it could have been my setup, but I had some detection issues as well. In a game that asks you to move quickly, I would sometimes have to try to pick something up several times, before it worked. This was really frustrating at the higher levels when a little more precision is necessary to win.
Overall, VR the Diner Duo is exactly what it promises to be. It is a smaller game that puts you in a diner and forces you to use your skills as a food prep professional to feed an army of hungry robots. The game will only give you a handful of hours of fun in single player, but, even with over 50 levels, multiplayer extends the play time and provides a fun challenge for you and anyone willing to enter your VR version of Hell’s Kitchen.
VR The Diner Duo PS4/PSVR Review
Overall - Good - 6.5/10
VR the Diner Duo reaffirmed my choice not to work in the food service industry, and I enjoyed my time (and ringing the bell) with the game. With increasing difficulty, multiplayer, and a more reasonable price, it provides a nice package for anyone looking for a decent experience.
There are some technical issues that keep it from being better, but it had me moving quickly to keep my customers happy and advancing to the next level. If you are looking for a quick and simple PSVR game with interesting multiplayer, give VR The Diner Duo a try.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.