Caffeinated match-3/time management sequel that lacks polish and smooth gameplay.

In Coffee Rush 2, the follow-up to 2008’s Coffee Rush, you’ll once again have save a small town from the pollution of the evil Smokestack Company. By matching ingredients and serving customers delicious coffee, it’s your goal to replace one factory after another with charming coffee shops. Apparently no one learned their lesson from the first game and continue to buy coffee from an obviously high-polluting company – but that’s another discussion.

Coffee Rush 2 features two different speed modes and 100 levels (actually 101) spread over ten different shops. However, it does not matter at which shop you are playing, since they look basically the same, and gameplay does not really vary from shop to shop either. In between the regular match-3 puzzle levels you also have to play various mini-games, such as solving jigsaw puzzles, swapping tiles to recreate a picture, or playing shorter match-3 games to get new recipes and customers.
Coffee Rush 2
In the regular levels, customers will enter your store and order different kinds of coffee, which all require different amounts of ingredients such as sugar, milk, ice cubes, coffee beans, or caffeine. Finished orders bring you a certain amount of money, depending on the base cost of the coffee itself and how much patience the customer has left. You can increase the price of an order by adding a sandwich or a salad to it – something that becomes important if you want to reach the expert or super goals.

Gameplay gets spiced up by more difficult grids, locked ingredients, and Smokestack tiles that can only be destroyed by creating a coffee rush that will destroy one row and one column immediately. Those power-ups appear on the grid regularly after so many matches, besides other power-ups that increase customer’s patience, or give you extra money when clicking it. You are also able to upgrade salads and sandwiches to lower their activation time or to increase their worth. Furthermore you can serve customers donuts and other sweets to lighten their mood if needed.

Coffee Rush 2 adds a lot of new features that were missing from the first game, but that have been standard in other games for a year or longer now – in other words, there’s probably nothing you haven’t seen before if you’ve played a lot of match-3 games. The game’s fast mode is quite easy, with only the super goal providing enough challenge that you might not reach it the first time. Unfortunately you can’t replay levels from the map to improve your score, which would have added a lot of motivation to the game.

Coffee Rush 2

The game offers a respectable number of levels and mini-games, but due to the lack of upgrades and recipes (which you are not really able to purchase yourself – recipes appear in a fixed order, and you can only choose between two upgrades at fixed times – Coffee Rush 2 is not very complex and will definitely demand too little from experienced players. Another wasted opportunity is the inability to do anything with the money you earn afterwards, so it feels rather pointless to do as well as possible in level.

The controls of the game and the mechanics behind the match-3 grid are definitely the game’s worst aspect. You are not able to easily swap ingredients, but rather have to click both, which feels sluggish. Even more annoying is that you have to wait to make the next match until all ingredients have fallen down, which regularly stops the otherwise engaging gameplay. This sort of match-3 mechanic is common in pure match-3-titles, but in Coffee Rush‘s combination of match-3 and time management gameplay it is really frustrating.

The basic features and the premise of Coffee Rush 2 are quite good, but all in all it is a tad disappointing that a game like Restaurant Rush, which launched a while ago, is still better than Coffee Rush 2 in every respect. And in spite of increasing the number of levels, modes, and adding mini-games and achievements, this sequel nevertheless looks and feels extremely similar to the first game in the series without resolving its issues.

In the end, fans of this niche genre, namely combining match-3 gameplay with time management aspects, might enjoy Coffee Rush 2. Newcomers especially will probably welcome the low grade of difficulty and the manageable number of features and upgrades. Everyone can give it a try, too, but be aware of the fact that the game does not change much from the impression you will get after the first dozen or so levels.