If you’re looking for Lord of the Rings, keep searching. Bilbo is the name of a hamster that enters the restaurant biz. While restaurant themes reign in time management, the recipe of Bilbo – The Four Corners of the World adds a soupcon of Cooking Mama, a dash of Diner Dash and cup of originality.
While in Paris, Bilbo looks for a place to grab a bite. One restaurant draws him in where he meets a beautiful girl. Her father, the owner of the restaurant, wants her to marry a man of means. Naturally, Bilbo gets the idea to open his own restaurant even though more restaurants fail than succeed. He attracts diners with animal-sized appetites, which makes sense considering the diners are rabbits, pandas, foxes, beavers, oh my! Chef Walrus takes care of the chopping, flipping and sautéing for Bilbo.
As Bilbo grows more successful in Paris, he earns the love of his sweetheart. They take a trip to Hawaii where he buys her a ring and discovers a map hidden in the ring’s case. The map leads to Norway to an ancient recipe. Story updates occur between restaurants without going into much detail, something some gamers appreciate.
Bilbo – The Four Corners of the World game controls work differently from most time management games. Bilbo’s actions require no dragging and dropping. Instead, click the customers’ thought bubbles to put him in action. It’s a nice change from dragging and dropping customers into their seats. He quickly scurries to and fro so you never feel like tapping your fingers waiting on him.
Before playing a level, Bilbo needs to pick several menu items to serve to customers. He can’t just select whatever tickles his fancy. Instead, he needs to make sure all the customers have an item they like on the menu or else he won’t get tips. Every level has three goals. If Bilbo meets one goal, it’s the bronze rating. Two goals gets silver and three is gold. After serving the last customer and winning one of the ratings, you play a humdrum mini-game with falling coins and catch as many as you can with the net.
A new level starts with Bilbo seating customers. When they’re ready to order, you need to pick the one that puts a happy face on the customer. After finishing the main course, the rest is anything goes depending on the current restaurant theme and customer.
In Paris, customers may request dumplings or crepes. This is where a little Cooking Mama comes in. To put the dumpling together, click the three dots in the right place and a photo of completed dumplings appears. For crepes, you select the last ingredient based on the customer preference (just watch for the smile or something like it). At the end of dinner, it’s karaoke time! The customers go to the little stage to sing and those waiting for a table dance along. The characters have slight different dancing styles that make you smile.
Bilbo is an official restaurateur at the end of his time in Paris. Next is a tropical-themed restaurant where he hands out leis, scoops ice cream and serves kabobs and coconuts. New animals stop by the restaurant with each having its own funny quirks. The panda, for one, sticks his tongue out to show his disdain for a menu item. Sometimes you seat two different animals, yet you can only serve one dish. This means figuring out which dish will do the least damage to your tip.
The ice cream request will make you scream and curse. Four options appear in the pop up window with a slider moving fast on the bottom. You must watch the customer’s face when the slider passes through what it wants.
Norway has a nautical- themed restaurant where customers can take home live fish. Chaining works like most time management games: the more of the same actions you take, the more points you score. Except this goes a step further and saves steps. If you make a special sandwich for a customer and two others request the same sandwich, you don’t have to make it again if you chain.
While Bilbo – The Four Corners of the World has a few problems. Windowed mode works less than half of the time. The goals sometimes sound awkward and don’t always make sense. For example, "Serve 12 guests while making them happy." It also has impossible goals, which start around halfway through the game. A goal, for example, says to serve Mr. Fox 10 times. No matter how fast you move the customers, you see Mr. Fox only eight times, if that. Thankfully, you can move on to the next level when you fail to meet one goal. One level would not budge no matter the strategies. The restaurants differ from each other, but the restaurant theme is old hat in time management.
Bilbo – The Four Corners of the World will never drone on with the restaurants to serve, strategies to try and upgrades to buy. A hamster may not sound much like a cute hero, but Bilbo entertains more than a hamster running on a wheel.