Cake Mania 2 is out! Check out our review and link to download a free trial of the game!

The release date of Sandlot’s newest game Cake Mania 2 is so close that we can almost taste the chocolate icing and sprinkles. To whet your appetite until the game’s official launch next week, Gamezebo was able to get its hands on a copy of the game early to offer you this exclusive preview.

Fans of the original Cake Mania loved the challenge of running a bakery business and creating the scrumptious and colorful cakes that customers demanded. Apparently, though, it’s not quite enough to keep Jill (the main character) satisfied. With her grandparents’ business now running smoothly and no longer in financial danger, Jill finds herself growing restless living the life of a small-town baker. So, she sets out on an adventure to see other parts of the world while using her expertise to run various bakeries along the way.

You’ll explore Cake Mania 2 through a branching story that lets you decide where Jill travels to next: for example, will she help culinary school pal Risha turn a profit in her swanky new downtown pastry shop, or will she help bail out poor old Jack, who’s floundering under a mountain of debt and health inspectors while trying to run the Underwater Aquarium Cafe.

Whichever path Jill takes, she’ll find herself running a bakery of some sort – one that often needs a bit of TLC and elbow grease to whip it into shape. Gameplay is similar to the first Cake Mania, which in turn was inspired by the Diner Dash style of restaurant management. A single game stage plays out over an entire month of the calendar, where Jill must serve enough customers to earn a certain amount of money before time runs out. When customers walk through the door Jill must first hand them a menu and then create the cake they ask for, which involves baking the correct shape of cake, applying the right icing, boxing up the finished cake. The final step is receiving the customer’s payment – the happier they are, the bigger Jill’s tip will be.

In later levels, orders will become more complex as customers start to ask for things like multi-levelled cakes and cakes with plastic cake toppers (like soccer balls, lucky horseshoes and palm trees). Sometimes customers will come in pairs and each order a different cake – you’ll have to deliver both cakes before they get impatient, which is twice as challenging for Jill but earns twice as much money as well!

Each of the locations Jill travels to offers not only a new setting and new customers, but the layout of the bakery will be different, which adds another layer of challenge – for example, the counter might be on the opposite side, the ovens and icing stations may have switched places with each other, and so on.

Just as Cake Mania had its own eccentric set of customers, Cake Mania 2 offers up a whole new batch. From rock stars and celebrities to doctors and businessmen to kids and guys dressed as penguins, the customers all have different personalities and needs that must be catered in order to keep them happy. Some are more impatient than others, for example, and must be served right away or they’ll storm off in a huff. Characters have their own animations and sound effects as well, from the rock star blowing bubbles with her chewing gum to the kid whining "it’s MY turn!" as he arrives in line.

Jill will be able to use the money she earns to purchase upgrades for the shop such as more ovens, cake topping and icing stations (as well as ones that can cook more efficiently), special shoes that make her move faster, a microwave to bake cookies to feed to impatient customers, a television to keep customers happier as they wait, and a cake stand to store a work in progress or display a finished work. The cake stand comes in useful if a customer storms away and leaves Jill with a finished cake. Instead of just throwing it in the garbage (which loses her money), she can display it on the cake stand so that a customer might notice it and decide to buy it as an impulse purchase.

With a challenging set of levels spread across multiple locations, as well as a secondary Endless mode, Cake Mania 2 looks ready to serve up another helping of cake-making, bakery managing goodness.