If you don’t do enough chores in the real world, try Gourmania 2: Great Expectations

It’s interesting that Alawar chose to give Gourmania 2: Great Expectations such a subtitle as I went into the game with the same – great expectations. Unfortunately, even for the appreciated mix of hidden object and time management gameplay styles, Gourmania 2 is a fairly disappointing game that focuses more on cleaning and building repair than on fun.

Gourmania 2 tasks you with repairing restaurants from drab and even abandoned states to look as though they were brand new. This is done through a combination of gameplay types, including hidden object scenes and time management, if you choose to play the game in a “Timed” mode. Incredibly similar to games like Time to Hurry: Nicole’s Story and Shop-n-Spree, the gameplay here sees you completing each new day by serving a number of guests in your current restaurant.

 Great Expectations

Guests will order particular food items, which can be found in the incredibly cluttered hidden object scene to the left of their orders. For example, if a customer orders a hot dog, you’ll need to find an individual hot dog, hot dog bun, and even ketchup and mustard bottles, depending on what the customer orders. If you choose to be timed, customers will lose their patience over time (represented by hearts), and will pay you less for their food, whereas in the relaxed gameplay mode, customers will never become unhappy.

You’ll work through a group of customers in the same way each day, and will pass the level if you reach the monetary goal. You’re then able to use your accumulated funds to fix up the restaurant itself. While you can never lessen the clutter inside the restaurant’s kitchen, you can fix up the outside with new coats of paint, new tables, decorations, flower beds and so on. In this is the game’s biggest problem, as instead of simply purchasing these items and moving on, you’re required (in many cases) to put in the physical labor to clean the walls, paint the roofs, grow the flowers, etc.

You’ll need to use some of your money to purchase industrial strength cleansers, scrub brushes, and so on, and then use these expendable items to physically clean surfaces (click and drag your mouse), among other tasks. The last time I checked, picking up garbage off of the sidewalk and scrubbing graffiti off of a wall wasn’t very fun in the real world, and it isn’t very fun here either; this is compounded by the fact that you’ll need to spend even more money on cleaning supplies when you use your first batch up. This money would be much better suited to purchasing decorations for your restaurants, but I digress.

 Great Expectations

Breaking up this day-by-day serving and cleaning are short instances of more traditional hidden object gameplay, which see you working outside the restaurant to find items like legal documents that will help you stay in business, as but one example. These do a nice job of breaking up the monotony, and are fairly entertaining as well.

Where the hidden object scenes are flawed, however, is in the kitchen scenes themselves, as the scenes may look static, but in fact change over time, moving items from one location to the next on the fly. As an example, you may see the bread that you’ll need for your next customer before it is their turn, only to have that bread disappear by the time you actually need it, forcing you to find it all over again. While this isn’t an issue in the relaxed, untimed gameplay mode, it can be a real frustration when every second counts.

All told, Gourmania 2: Great Expectations seems to focus on all the wrong areas. With more gameplay time spent scrubbing walls or sweeping floors than actually serving guests, this is one game that’s better off as a demo, rather than a purchase.