Dessert Oasis is the seventh town in the (soon to disappear) Kitchen Scramble game. Originally, my goal was to get all three stars in every level in every town. I also wanted to complete all the location goals.
Those plans cannot be completed because Playdom has decided to end Kitchen Scramble on April 20, 2014. I still have a few days to play, but have decided I am done. The game used to be fun but has become an exercise in frustration.
The name of the town, Dessert Oasis, is not a typo. At the beginning of the town, an NPC (non-player character) tells your character that the person who founded the town really liked desserts.
As you may expect, all of the dishes served in Dessert Oasis are desserts. Chocolate chip cookies, Turkish delight, apple pie, blueberry pie, pecan pie, pecan pralines, snickerdoodles, blueberry cobbler, apple cobbler, and five different flavors of ice cream are some of the dishes that you must put together in this town.
The levels in Dessert Oasis are difficult. You can have three or more customers asking for ice cream at the same time. But, you only have one ice cream maker (and it is slow). The same problem happens when you get a counter full of customers who all want cookies. The longer the customers have to wait, the more irritated they become.
If they get mad enough to leave, it costs you. One, you don’t get money from those customers. Two, the less money you earn the less chance you have of earning three stars. Three, you end up stuck with a dish that no one wants and customers who are tired of waiting for their food (that you couldn’t get to yet because you were trying to serve the angrier customers).
It gets worse in the few levels where the Chowder Monster (from the previous town) shows up.
In the level above, he has a *, which means he will gladly accept any food you give him. In other levels, he wants a particular kind of food. Either way, he is one of the most impatient characters in the game.
It doesn’t make any sense to include a Chowder Monster in a desert town. I believe the purpose was to annoy players and make it harder for them to complete levels. When the Chowder monster gets too angry, he doesn’t just leave. He grabs another customer to drag away with him. This means you lose two customers at the same time – a big problem for the levels where you cannot lose more than 1 customer.
I have decided to stop playing Kitchen Scramble because I am no longer enjoying it. The biggest problem is that Playdom has stopped maintaining the game.
In the past few days, I have noticed that the game freezes up when the banner ads change. Obviously, this is problematic in a time-management game. I just got tired of losing progress due to lag.
I managed to get all three stars in the first section of Dessert Oasis.
I didn’t earn all three stars in every level in the second part of Dessert Oasis. I just don’t care anymore.
I managed to complete two of the three location goals.
As I was playing through this town I realized that Kitchen Scramble is unsustainable. Players quickly reach a town where it becomes impossible to complete the levels on their own.
Instead, they need to ask their “friends” to send them certain premium ingredients. Use the premium ones, and you make more money than you usually would. More money means you have a better chance of earning one star (the minimum requirement in order to move to the next level).
The other option is to use the in-game currency to purchase the premium items yourself. Of course, they are priced quite high. You would need to spend a lot of time playing previous levels in order to earn enough money to continue to buy the premium items. This forces you to rely on other players in order to make progress through the game.
There are several appliances that you can buy (or, in some cases, are required to buy) as you move from one town to the next. The farther you go, the more those items cost. Eventually, you hit a point where the only way to upgrade your appliances to faster ones is to use real-world money to pay for them.
Dessert Oasis is not too far along in the game. There are many more levels ahead of it (that I will never see). Already, it is clear that there are some levels that are impossible to earn three stars in unless you spend some real-world money. The game becomes “pay to win”.
The other problem with Kitchen Scramble is that it is on Playdom. They simply don’t put much effort into making sure their games work properly. This is true of Kitchen Scramble, Gardens of Time, and Blackwood and Bell (which disappeared a while back).
Their games freeze up. They “spin” and refuse to load. Players return to the game and find they have lost progress. Prizes in the tournaments don’t always “drop”. (This particular problem really annoys players when the prize is Kitchen Cash – or Crystals or gold in Gardens of Time). People report problems, yet nothing gets fixed.
I enjoyed Kitchen Scramble at first. By now, I have grown tired of it and will not miss it after it disappears. The game had potential, though. If it someday becomes a game that I can download and play on a Mac I will consider purchasing it. However, I won’t buy the game if it requires me to constantly feed it real-world money through micro transactions. Give me a version that I can play “offline”, and I will happily spend real-world money for it.