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Three Game Roundup 

Founded in 2001, XING Interactive has built up a substantial; number of titles. Three of the latest additions are entitled Sushi Bar Express, Old McDonald had a Farm and The Flying Dutchman.

When it comes to sushi I definitely fall into the category of “decliner”.  While this popular, lifestyle food regularly forms part of the diet of many, it is not compatible with my rather limited taste-buds range of acceptable nourishments.  Fortunately with Sushi Bar Express you only have to prepare the various dishes for others to eat.  Did I say “only” – with the stream of customers arriving at your establishment, you will be kept busy without any time for relaxing between orders.

The game includes a tutorial that leads you through the process of preparing Sushimi, Nigiri, Uramaki and Fatomaki.  Each dish must also be served with sake, shoyu and wasabi bowls that are filled to the brim.  The raw food ingredients, along with appropriate tools, will be laid out before you as you select what is needed.  Once completed, each order will need to be transferred to the correct plate.

You will need to ensure your business makes a profit by serving enough customers.  As they like their sushi so much they are not inclined to wait for too long for their orders to be filled.  Their current patience’s level will be shown by mini-heart icons.  Loosing customers or making a mistake with an order will hit your profit levels and could cause you to repeat a level.

Sushi Bar Express makes use of cartoon-style graphics which are appropriate to the game.  There is some catchy background music which some will enjoy but others will hate.  This is a simple game that is easy to pick up and will test your culinary skills when under pressure.

Moving on to another strand of the food chain takes us back to our childhood with “Old McDonald had a Farm”.  Fortunately there is no need for any singing or making the appropriate animal noises with this farm management style game.  The game is based on Old McDonald teaching his young grandson about farming by setting him tasks.  The game is aimed at the younger members of the family.

As with Sushi Bar Express, this title also has a tutorial but, in this case, it is carried out at such a speed that it is almost impossible to follow.  The machine-gun approach to dialogue, which is delivered as text, appears and begins to fade from view before you have time to take it in.  Even adults may struggle to follow this tutorial.

Working from a series of icons running across the bottom of the screen, a range of tasks will need to be completed within a designated time limit.  These tasks can involve ploughing sections of lands, planting seeds of different types and food groups, harvesting crops, raising animals, organising vehicles and taking products to market for selling.  As long as you earn enough money to pay for goods and reach your targets, you will be presented with new tasks.

The style of graphics should appeal to the younger members of the family.  However they will need some adult assistance in getting to grips with this game.

The Flying Dutchman is a hidden object game that casts you in the role of a historian.  After hearing rumours of a mysterious ship being seen on the horizon near an island, you decide to explore the area for clues as to what is happening.

Working from an old map you can select from various locations represented by pictures.  Only locations which have a number alongside them will bring a reward.  This reward will be in the form of a list of items that you need to locate.  There is nothing to stop you visiting other locations but it will not get you anywhere so why bother.

The game is made up of levels.  You start off with one possible location that has eight items to locate.  As you progress through the levels, the numbers of possible locations will increase and so will the number of items to find in each one.  You must find all the items in every location within a specific time limit. 

There is a Hint feature that will indicate the general area containing an item for a short period.  This feature does take time to recharge after each use.  If you indulge in indiscriminate clicking then the time clock will speed up at a prodigious rate.  Failure to complete a level will mean you will have to start it again.  As locations are visited several times, plus having to replay levels, and the amount of hidden objects is not extensive, you will find that locating items will gradually become easier.

At the conclusion of each level, you need to rearrange a jumbled up picture which has been divided into squares.  As squares are correctly placed they will adopt a sepia effect.  Fortunately the picture rearrangement is not included in the time limit.

The various scenes are well drawn.  There is a mixture of easy-to-find items and others that are so well integrated that you might struggle especially as the Hint feature only provides a general indication of the areas and the quickly fades from view.

All three games have been published by XING Interactive.  Prices are in the range of €6.95 and €6.99.  In each case system specifications call for a 800MHz processor with 128MB of RAM with support for DirectX 9 running Windows XP.

http://www.xinginteractive.nl/

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Features9
Performance9
Value9
Ease of use9
Design9
OverallXING Interactive Sushi Bar Express Old McDonald had a Farm The Flying Ductmand rated 60 out of 100

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