Expecting Happiness with Cake Mania: Lights, Camera, Action!

Cake Mania 5 Download

Play On: Windows XP/Vista & 7

Rating: 85%

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When Director Michael Be decided that Bakersfield was the perfect location to shoot his film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, nobody expected the sudden influx of people that would be arriving. Now, the quiet little town has become quite the busy center of attraction and everyone wants some cake! Join the ever persistent Jill Evans as she bakes her way through another strange assortment of cake-loving customers (and did we mention that this newlywed is now expecting a baby?). Cake Mania 5 is a return to the series' original plot style and gameplay with a few new extras that will delight players old and new.

Game Review

Cake Mania 5 Download: Lights, Camera, Action! is a massive new sequel to the time management series as a movie director comes into the town of Bakersfield and decides that it is the perfect location to shoot his movie. With all the attention that the town is getting, there are plenty of people now coming in - which means more business for Jill and her friends. The extra profit will certainly help Jill too: she's expecting a child!

Plot:

If this is your first Cake Mania game, then the main plot here would be the fact that there's a movie being shot, there are plenty of people coming in and there are cakes to be baked! It seems simple enough for newlywed and mother-to-be Jill Evans as she takes charge of the bakery as a one woman army handling everything from handing out menus, baking the cakes to wrapping them up in boxes and receiving payment. For the most part, Bakersfield has been a quiet town and despite the fact that the game hints at some key events in the history of locale, the fact is that the current biggest thing happening is a movie being shot.

Cake Mania 5 game: Lights, Camera, Action

For those who have been playing Cake Mania since the first one came out over half a decade ago, this is less about the Michael Be's (a reference to director Michael Bay) adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and instead, it really is more about the fact that Jill is moving on with her life. We have seen her bring the bakery to new heights for her grandparents, help out her friends with their own businesses and even travel through time in order to bring everyone back together. Her life and adventures have been very fantastic, but now, she's got new priorities as she waits with her husband Jack (who first appeared in CM2) for their first child to be born.

While we are not really sure if a pregnant woman running a bakery all by her own is a good idea, Jill manages just fine. In fact, it might even be thought that she is doing even better than ever. Even the trophy collection of the game reflects this motive: the trophies are toys and items that will fill up the baby room. It is not common for a casual game title to take on a serious issue such as preparing for parenthood, but the game certainly makes it a lot more fun to think about.

Delivery:

Between "Lights, Camera, Action!" and "To the Max", the visual and audio quality of the Cake Mania series has not changed much. Of course, this is hardly an issue since both games already look and sound good.

Cake Mania 5 screenshot: Lights, Camera, Action

The music is as amusing as ever and there are plenty of nods to many of the older tracks. Considering the title, we did expect to hear more upbeat and heavier tunes but instead, this game has decided to stick to the more relaxed style of the previous titles.

Graphics wise, we are certainly happy with this game. One of our favorite things is the overhead view of Bakersfield which gives you a quick idea of how this busy town looks. Click around the map and several side animations will pop out (we won't spoil you on this so you can enjoy looking for them, while it really is not relevant to the story; these little tidbits certainly help give character to Jill Evan's home town.

The Bakery, Pizzeria and the Boutique are uniquely designed. Take the Boutique for example, it is decked in deep blue tones on the floor and the shelves while soft contrasts of orange marks some of the products sold. The Pizzeria on the other hand sticks to pale gray tones accenting the rich earth browns and beiges of brick and clay. Of course, the Bakery is as lively as ever, with its pastel violets and soft blue floors.

Gameplay:

Once again, the Evans Bakery is the main stage for this game. There are plenty of new customer types to serve and even more new cake styles to accomplish. But if you are getting a little tired of cake-baking, then there are a couple of other stores to try out as well.

Cake Mania 5 gameplay: Lights, Camera, Action

Jill is not taking the spotlight alone in this game; players get to try out Gordo's Pizzeria and Risha's Boutique in order to give players a bit of variety and more importantly, a greater challenge.

While the Bakery focuses on being able to queue your commands efficiently, the pizzeria is more on memorization and focus on what the customer wants. Each pizza order has a unique combination of toppings and it is important to keep track of which ingredients need to be cooked separately. Players will want to leave ingredients on the grill or boiling (in the case of pasta) in order to keep up with high volume orders later in the game. There is no overcooking in this game so keeping items in the pot is a good strategy to keep up.

Lastly, the Boutique will test your memory. Each round of the game will have the store items placed in different shelves and racks, and it is all a matter of getting used to the locations of your merchandise. This game will have players maximizing combo bonuses. Focus on being able to grab all item orders in one sweep (as opposed to filling out an order piece by piece). This not only earns the player a combo bonus, but it saves a lot of time. One great thing about this stage is that sending items to the bin will not cause deductions -the products will simply re-appear on the shelves.

As we said earlier, there are plenty of new customers as well, and knowing their traits is a great way to achieve the highest scores in timed mode. In addition to the mimes, ninjas and sumo wrestlers (who are now wearing suits), there are plenty of new characters such as the cameraman, the movie star and more.

Getting to know their unique abilities is a key strategy. Take the movie star for instance; her fame has the ability of easily influencing everyone, even the people on your queue. Let her make an item choice and everyone else follow what she does - the perfect way to grind a large combo boost since you only need to prepare the same order several times. The super cat lady has a similar capability since she can turn people into mimes that copy orders. Expect to see plenty of use for the television set upgrade (except in the boutique) since it will determine how long you can make special customers wait in line.

Verdict

Cake Mania 5 Download: Lights, Camera, Action has truly evolved over the past five years and there is no doubt that this is one time management game series that will keep spawning even more sequels (we are officially confused as to the right order of the games) thanks to the solid gameplay, involving story and amazing cohesiveness in terms of player experience. Even the parallel aspects of the game and its virtual world shine in similar ways. The controls have always remained simple despite the fact that so many gameplay innovations have been introduced; in the same sense, the characters have always been down to earth no matter how fantastic their situations may have become. We give this game an expectant baker's 85/100.

Final Score: 85%

Cake Mania 5: Lights Camera Action can be played in full version format now, on either Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7 - simply click here to download a copy.