Bar Star HD is the iPad version of Bar Star, a time-management game where players are to ensure the smooth running of a bar. Like all time-management games, you have to be quick with your fingers and smart in planning who to serve first and who to ignore. With such skills, the game will then be of a piece of cake. If not, be prepared to start feeling the stress as you fail to serve those customers on time! The main difference between the iPad version (which this review is based on) and the iPhone version, is the graphics catered for the resolution of the iPad. Other than that the gameplay is pretty much identical.
Bar Star is an action packed time-management game. The difficulty curve is definitely of a acceptable gradient with the starting few levels providing time for new players to get used to the gameplay mechanics as well as the different stuff they have to do. It works out something like a tutorial and is definitely welcomed. Slowly as you progress through the levels, you will find the gradual increase in the speed and accuracy requirements of your fingers increase as well. That is not all though, not only do you have to be quick, you have to think quick (explained in the paragraphs below).
You will start off with just a few types of beverages that you can serve. As you complete and finish the levels, you will soon find yourself bombarded with recipes of cocktails and so on. There are also different types of customers who require different kinds of treatment. That’s when the strategic elements come in. Some customers have more patience than others, thus if both come in at the same time you should put your emphasis on the one with less patience to ensure maximum efficiency. Some customers only order a certain type of drink, so be prepared first by making it before hand.
Customers come in with different number of stars above their heads. The stars are indicative of the amount of drinks they would purchase before finally paying and leaving. Every time you successfully serve the customer on time, he would give out tips or rather stars. The amount of stars is pretty much fixed except that they are awarded according to the time they waited and treatment. If you make a customer impatient but not angry, you will get maybe one star. If you serve him fast enough while he is still in the patient mood, you’ll get two. This varies according to the type of customers as well. However the fact is that if you make your customer wait too long, they’ll get angry and just leave without giving you anything. So be sure to serve all customers on time!
There are 3 main styles of drinks that you can serve and that are beer, wine and cocktails. Within these broad categories, there are different types as well, for example the wine has red and white wine. Cocktails are the hardest to serve as they require you to go to different stations just to make one drink. The main processes are to take an empty glass, get the right base and then go mixing with the rest of the required ingredients. The beer and wine are simple one step processes with the beer requiring you to just on the tap and then you can leave and do other things while for the wine you have to be there to pour it all out. Again, plan wisely as to which drink to serve first and so on.
Like many time-management games, you get to purchase upgrades with the money or points you earn after successfully completing each level. These upgrades are slowly unlocked as the game progresses as well, not all can be purchased right from the start. There are upgrades for your shop or your characters. For the shop, you get the standard few upgrades to help you out in serving the customers for example a bouncer to check the identification cards of the customers, allowing you to focus mainly on serving and so on. For character upgrades, there are the usual few of increasing speed of running, the speed of mixing the drinks etc. Pretty ordinary stuff but extremely essential for the later stages of the game.
The campaign mode features two different campaigns to choose from. One the normal main story and the other a zombie campaign mode. The main differences between both campaigns are the graphical theme and the mini storyline that each provides. Other than that they are pretty much similar. The other game mode that you can play is the time attack where you can fight for the highscore boards to boast to the world how quick and fast your fingers are. Time attack gameplay works exactly the same as the normal campaign gameplay except that you have to serve your customers quick and they’ll provide extra time for you to keep going on. Customers come in waves and the higher the waves the more and more customers you will have to handle. Be prepared to get real busy!
The controls of the game works well. Tap on a particular station and if there are additional options, they appear in a circular format surrounding the station. You then drag your finger to select whatever you need. The only problem I faced is that when stations are placed too closed together, I often face the situation where I mistakenly press one instead of the other intended one. Every time that happens, I do get frustrated as time is essence especially in such a game. Not sure if it is just me but I guess that is where the accuracy of your finger placement comes in.
Graphics are well drawn and remastered to great quality for the iPad version. A cartoony style with comics put in place to tell the story does the game good. Colours are well chosen and the whole game itself complements each other to near perfection. Although graphics aren’t of the highest detail or in terms of uniqueness, it does the job well. The sound department is not lacking as well. Background music gives the game an arcade feel and when your timer is running out, the music speeds up quite a bit, increasing the pace of the game and enable you to feel the adrenalin rush. The only problem though is after maybe an hour of playing or so the music becomes too repetitive and slowly becomes irritating. Sound effects are kept to the minimum but are adequately and effectively placed.
For the price of $4.99, Bar Star HD is a rather good time-management game to try out. With the different game modes as well as over 10 hours of gameplay, the price tag is rather well justified. If you’re a fan of the genre, do feel free to purchase it and I doubt you’ll be disappointed. If you’re new to the genre and wanting to look for such a game to try out, you might want to find try out the lite version for the iPhone first since if you don’t like the game genre . This isn’t really a game that is so special or extraordinary that would make haters to lovers. Instead it does the job well enough for lovers to keep loving and the neutral to have an enjoyable experience.