Blame it on the late ’80s Tom Cruise flick, Cocktails, but an entire generation of dreamers imagined quitting their day job to sling drinks at a island beach bar. Well, this is precisely what you can do in Big Island Blends, in charge of a smoothie bar, after inheriting an orchard of fruit from a late relative.
Not unlike a game like Cake Mania, your goal is to serve a seemingly endless stream of customers, buy upgrades to increase your productivity (or to make the joint more attractive) and of course make a lot of money in the process.
Big Island Blends, which takes place over four main areas, offers familiar game-play to fans of these types of serving games. When a customer saunters up to the bar, you click on them to give them a menu. In a few seconds they’ll tell you what shape glass they’d like, a specific smoothie flavor and perhaps which garnish to put on top. For instance, glasses might be a mug, martini-style, rimmed tall glass or one with a face on it. Flavors are represented by color, such as red (strawberry), pink (cherry), green (lime), yellow (banana) or purple (grape). You must then click on the appropriate shape glass, and then take it to the flavor dispenser and click on the correct color. Garnishes, which need to be purchased in between levels, might be mint, whipped cream, orange wedges or flowers. Then you’ll give the concoction to the customer and collect the tip.
Now, imagine doing this with five customers – at a time – all of whom might leave if they’re not serviced fast enough. If you make a mistake you must throw out the drink or place it in a holding area in case someone asks for it before closing time. When in need, you can click on a parrot who will make a drink for you.
After every level you can purchase additional smoothie dispensers, extra glass making stations, faster shoes ("turbocharged flip-flips"!), a popcorn machine, plants, tiki torches, and so on. You can also upgrade your machines, but will cost a pretty penny.
Customers – such as mimes, pirates, beach bums, preppies and bodybuilders – each have their own personality traits. For example, mermaids don’t have a lot of patience but they tip well. Messy kids come in, so you better buy a towel to clean up the dirt they leave on the bar; this means you also need to click on the towel the moment you see a mess on the countertop.
So long as you reach the daily minimum dollar amount, you move onto the next day or must repeat the level. After you’re done the beach you’ll follow the story and move onto a desert level, and then two other locations with a unique look (but disappointingly, virtually the same game-play between each of the locales). The is also quite easy, I found, even when you have a stream of demanding customers.
Another issue: while Big Island Blends is enjoyable as you feverously multitask (the trick is to cue up each move in advance by clicking on each step ahead of time), but the game really doesn’t offer anything new over other games of this kind, such as Cake Mania or Diner Dash. Plus, there’s only one game mode, so there’s limited replayability. The game is fun, and has attractive graphics, but seasoned casual game players might find there’s nothing new here other than the smoothie bar theme. At the very least, download the trial to see if the game hooks you enough to pay to keep playing. No I.D. required!