Baking to the Future: Cake Mania 3

Cake Mania 3 Download

Play On: Windows XP/Vista/7 & Mac

Rating: 80%

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If you thought that preparing for a wedding was difficult enough, try having to travel through five different eras in the past (and a quick step into the future) in order to get all your friends and family back in time for the ceremony! Jill Evans has beaten plenty of odds before thanks to her baking skills, and faced with this new challenge, her cakes are still her answer. Cake Mania 3 takes you from the prehistoric past to ancient China as Jill's cakes take on the strangest assortment of customers yet. Simple controls, great animation and a charmingly silly storyline await you in this incredibly engaging time management game.

Game Review

Cake Mania 3 Download opens up with a pretty understandable premise: Jill Evans is about to get married!

Our heroine has started out the Cake Mania series as an eager granddaughter baking her way to the top in order to keep her grandparents' bakery open. Later, she gained new friends in Cake Mania 2 - which ended with a possibility of a love interest. Now, she's busy making preparations for her own big day. At this point, many of us not familiar with the plot of this third CM title would think that "wedding cakes" would be the new theme of the series.

Cake Mania 3 game

It isn't, and this sequel to the series has players tasked with bringing Jill back to her wedding preparations after a strange event (more on that below). The process is quite simple too; Jill simply has to keep on baking. This third title in the series returns to the classic CM formula: take orders and keep serving cakes.

Plot:

The first three minutes of this game is misleading, the animated comic shows Evans up to her neck in worries about the wedding preparations. Several panels into the story, a "time bender" sphere, which has been placed carelessly on a flat table top, gets knocked off and smashes on the floor. Jill, her friends and her family, who were all together at that moment helping make preparations for the wedding now get sent off to different eras of history. Jill now has to travel to different times in the past in order to bring everyone back in time for her wedding.

For those of you wondering, the time bender is a trophy that players can earn in the previous game, Cake Mania 2. As to why such a dangerous object would be left so carelessly unattended, do not even try thinking about it. Trying to answer these questions is a moot point; the game focuses the fact that Jill has to make her way across five different eras of ancient history. And she will do it the only way she knows how: by baking her way back to the future. From ancient Chinese royals to French revolutionaries to cavemen and dinosaurs (yes, dinosaurs), Jill has a wide array of palates to satisfy and fortunately, everyone seems to love the cakes she makes.

One thing we do appreciate about this game is that it manages to poke fun at how ridiculous its own storyline is. There are plenty of fourth-wall breaking events (such as the Agent Bundt level where the cavemen and dinosaurs shrug off the fact that they should not exist in the same period of time) which will certainly bring a smile to any player. Most importantly, the game does not take itself too seriously, which makes all the silly randomness forgivable.

Cake Mania 3 screenshot

Delivery:

Cake Mania 3 Download has gone a long way from its original game. The colors are brighter, the sprites are smoother and the in-game objects look a lot more detailed. There are also plenty of animation frames for the Jill and customers, giving them a little life when they are waiting in line or when the player is moving around the bakery. Still, as good as the graphics are it is not exactly what you would call outstanding. It may be because there is plenty of hype for the Cake Mania series that it never seems to live up to the reputation.

The music for this title takes a lot of inspiration from the tracks used in the first game. Fans of the first two games will certainly appreciate this, though those new to the Cake Mania series might find some of the BGMs as a little repetitive. There are some significant theme based beats depending on which stage you are playing - mostly music inspired by the era. Playing Tiny's Ancient China stages sounds a lot different than the jungle beats of Bundt's pre-historic stages.

The sound effects are a little better - providing ambient sounds reminding you of the location you are in. But more importantly, those ever-recognizable audio cues for the oven, the icing applicator and other bakery tools will help you organize and plan your game strategy.

Cake Mania 3 gameplay

Gameplay:

If you ignore all the weird scenarios and settings, Cake Mania 3 Download still retains its old system: catering to customers. As much as this game is called a baking game, veterans of the series know that the core function of this time-management title is to teach players about proper planning. Jill Evans will not walk you through on how to make the perfect cake dough or how to squeeze the icing properly. The focus is on getting the orders accomplished as fast as possible.

The entire procedure is a three step process starting with Jill handing out a menu to the customer. The second part is when the customer makes a selection and Jill has to make the cake. Lastly, once the cake (or cakes) are finished, it is time to hand them over and receive payment.

Handing out menus, waiting and receiving payment are all straightforward. The cake making part is where variety kicks in. Players will be initially equipped with an oven and an icing applicator, but store upgrades will allow you do much more (such as baking a second cake - which is important for the multi layered orders). Learning to decide which tasks to do determines whether a player will be able to reach the special earnings goal for each stage.

Verdict

We too have been scratching our heads at the premise of Cake Mania 3 game. Sure, we understand the whole pun of adding the concept of time travel to a time management game. But to understand how an entire plot for this simple, modern day cooking game can get so convoluted is something that players will need to step away from for the sake of being able to enjoy the game.

Fortunately for CM3, the silly plot does not take away from the fact that it is still a successful time management game that once again has the lead protagonist of the series, Jill Evans, back behind the counter to serve cakes to the widest assortment of customers in a cooking video game yet.

The controls are easy, the gameplay has a quick learning curve for new players and for the existing fans of the series, this next step in Jill Evan's life will make for an interesting update to the story. The best thing about this is that Cake Mania 3 has already been followed by a couple of sequels. Fans will not want to miss out on this special chapter on the life of their favorite cake chef. We give this game a time travelling bride's 81/100.

Final Score: 81%

Cake Mania 3 Download can be played in full version format now, on either Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 & Mac - simply click here to download a copy.