Diner Bros – Review
Follow Genre: Cooking/Restaurant Simulator
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Diner Bros – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun, short bursts of couch co-op
Bad: Short game with no ''skill improvement zone'' or creative room for the players.
User Score
(7 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.7/10 (7 votes cast)

Cooking and restaurant games have been around for a couple of years now, and grow in numbers every year as well. A game such as Cooking with Mama reached a broad audience, later we got Cook, Serve, Delicious that delivered an interesting gaming concept of running your own restaurant in a hectic environment, and in 2016 the ever-popular Overcooked arrived as well. The latter could be seen as a game that Diner Bros clearly based its own game upon, yet there are quite a few things different. 


In the story, you, and maybe some friends depending on if you play solo or co-op, started a restaurant. This won’t be shown with cutscenes or an actual story, but it’s what you can take from the way the game starts. It’s a small building that needs to earn its name and customers before you are able to actually grow and offer more recipes to whoever wants to pay for food and drinks. If you play solo, you can hire waitresses to deliver food to the waiting consumers. If you play with a friend or maybe even three, the serving, as well as the cooking, is entirely up to you and free to divide amongst the players however you want.


Not only the gameplay, also the graphics have the same ”cute” style as Overcooked. Maybe it’s just a little bit different. There are a couple of square-headed characters to choose from. In a way, it feels like everything is a bit of a LEGO world. It’s either square or made to look simple, which is effective either way. Around your restaurant, a couple of pedestrians will pass by, and some of them will enter the restaurant. There are ”normal” customers and a couple of special ones, which you will recognize by their appearance such as ”jogger girls” who will come to eat salads. The further you get, the more hectic the screen will get in terms of customers and information. But the style helps you to spot the most important parts.


There’s nothing wrong about the sound. It’s not great either but it manages to fit the style and does the job. The background track is a bit jazzy, expressing pretty well what a montage of an urban restaurant would look like. The other sounds such as happy customers or sizzling burgers are, like the graphics, also a bit cartoonish, and match what you see with perfect timing.


So, Diner Bros is a restaurant simulator where you not only cook the food that’s been ordered, but you also serve it to the right tables. If you play solo you mainly need to focus on cooking, if you are playing with more, you can divide the roles however you want. There are two modes in Diner Bros, either you go play the campaign or you take on some challenges. The campaign is, sadly, rather short and doesn’t have many options. You start out making burgers, and with the money you gain you will permanently add tomatoes, lettuce, a fryer, an oven and more. Continuing this in a decent tempo gives you about an hour and a half worth of gameplay. Maybe two if you are a bit slower. The challenge mode is only available if you play co-op, making the game even shorter than it already is if you are a solo player.

The game goes as follows: As soon as you start you will want to prepare as much as you can already can. You know that even though the timer gives you just a few minutes of play time, the restaurant will be filling up with NPCs you got to serve, and the less you get to do the more trouble it will bring you as time passes. Then they come, with different wishes. The joggers who want salads and don’t have any patience whatsoever, the construction workers who will order twice because they are so hungry, different groups with different attributes. If they don’t belong to a group they could want anything at all. And every recipe needs a different preparation. To make chicken and fries you will have to deep-fry the chicken before you cut it, and cut the fries before you fry those. Burgers you grill first and combine with other items after that, depending on what the customer wants. Items stack on a plate. So if you want a burger with lettuce and tomatoes, you can also first pick a plate and put lettuce and tomatoes on them. The biggest challenge is watching all the timers of food that’s being prepared. If you wait too long it will get burned, you will need to toss it in a corner and quickly make something new.

While playing solo, the game is fairly easy. If you manage to maintain a streak and prepare everything within the allotted amount of time, you will almost always get five stars (the maximum) for the level. When in co-op mode, you really need to trust each other to stay flawless to not screw up the overall score. It’s easy to miss-communicate timers or places, so talking is advisable. Besides that, the time-windows to get a good score are rather small, so the game basically counts on you all to act (almost) flawlessly. In the challenge mode, it’s more like Overcooked. Different settings such as a busy street crossing challenges you to not make a single mistake serving all the people that come along. It’s like the game, on one hand, borrows a bit of a restaurant sim such as Cook, Serve, Delicious but lacks any real expansion or elaborate challenges, making every game quickly feel as the same day over and over. On the other hand, it is a clone of Overcooked but also with less elaborate or growing challenges, also making the serving itself more of a gimmick than an actual addition. Which is a shame, cause it locks out the potential of Diner Bros by copying gameplay here and there, but not fully going into a single direction.


Diner Bros is fun, but there’s also a lot lacking to make it more than a copy of already existing games. The time-windows that allow you to get the best possible score don’t give you much variation to act upon in different ways, meaning you will finish rows of orders the same order they come in mostly. The campaign itself is short and doesn’t offer much control of expansion or anything else for that matter. Challenges are also fun but require another person. The entire game just holds itself back in so many ways, coming over as more of a cool experiment of recreating other mechanics than something else. Still, perhaps if you find this game in a sale, it’s still worth buying for a fun night of couch co-op.


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Rating: 7.7/10 (7 votes cast)
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Diner Bros - Review, 7.7 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for 3rd-strike.com since 2017.

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