2 Broke Girls is an advergame that’s surprisingly playable, if not without flaws

2 Broke Girls is shaping up to be one of the fall TV season’s hits, so it’s natural that CBS would choose to support the show with the advergame 2 Broke Girls on Facebook (and iOS). 2 Broke Girls is much better than the average advergame, but still has some clear shortcomings. It is only 15 levels long and those levels can easily be cleared in about an hour and a half. While it has an upgrade system that, pleasantly, does not ask you to spend real money on upgrades, the system also highlights some of the basic gameplay problems that make 2 Broke Girls less fun than it could be.

Since 2 Broke Girls is about two young women working as waitresses in a diner, it shouldn’t be surprising that the game is basically a clone of Diner Dash. Since it’s an advergame, it’s a simplified clone that removes many of Diner Dash‘s most punishing elements, like seating customers. There’s some complexity added with elements like the coffee machine which you can use to give any customer a boost to how well they’ll tip but must be used to satisfy a rare type of customer called the loner. 2 Broke Girls goes a step further by introducing a huge variety of gameplay power-ups more potent than anything the Diner Dash series is usually willing to let you obtain.

2 Broke Girls

So, going back to the coffee machine, you can upgrade it to a machine that produces four cups at a time and then later six cups at a time by spending upgrade points. You earn upgrade points by completing levels while meeting certain goals with regard to score. Each “shift” has a monetary goal you must earn by serving customers well enough that they stay around to pay the check instead of walking out early. Inspiring big tips through good service lets you meet and, if you’re lucky, exceed your goal for that shift. If you exceed it by a wide margin, you begin earning bonus upgrade points.

2 Broke Girls has no true social features and, in fact, seems to just be a port of an iPhone game. The screen resolution is unusually small for Facebook and doesn’t use a very Facebook-like interface. On the other hand, you can play the game for as much as you want without being locked out by energy limits or other timers. The game does a good job at its advertising goal, which is making a player curious about seeing the sitcom it’s based on. As a game, 2 Broke Girls is surprisingly solid and fun until you reach the last five or so missions. At this point you run into serious balance issues regardless of how many upgrades you’ve bought, like not enough customers appearing to make getting your goal score possible.

2 Broke Girls

It’s funny, because despite the balance issues, the upgrades in the game still feel overpowered. Many of them let you essentially cut steps out of gameplay or just passively earn money for not doing anything. There can be weird lulls in the gameplay where you’re just waiting for something to happen that are very dissatisfying. Still, 2 Broke Girls works just well enough to be a tall, cheap gas station latte of a game. It’s not exactly what you want, but the price is right and it’s easy to check out without having to go too far out of your way for it.