VR The Diner Duo puts a nice spin on the restaurant-based time management games that are so prevalent in the casual game domain. After an initial Steam release, it’s now available for Playstation VR.
As the title suggest, VR The Diner Duo is best played with a team of two – running a diner as a chef and a server. The player wearing the VR headset plays as the chef, and puts orders together as they come in. Get them wrong or take too long, and you’ll suffer for it as you make less or even lose customers. The other player is the server, who takes orders from your customers and brings your assignments to you before returning to a customer with the finished product.
The success of the diner depends entirely on how well each of you performs and how you cooperate, although the chef’s role is crucial and also the focus of the single player portion of the game. If you don’t have someone to play with, then you’re essentially just playing a motion-controlled job simulator – not too unlike the casual games that inspired it and missing that social element that makes multiplayer fun.
Multiplayer in The Diner Duo makes great use of the social screen feature, one of our favorite PSVR aspects but one that’s not used nearly enough. For those unaware of the concept, it allows one player to stay inside a virtual world (in this case, as the diner’s chef) while the other one has a different view using the television screen. This was used to great effect in Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes, and in VR The Diner Duo this allows the non-VR player to control the server and whisk around your restaurant.
One thing you don’t want in any restaurant is bugs, but unfortunately at release this game had a few of them – most noticeably in the chef portion of the game. I had the game reshuffle the components that made my burger while putting it together, for instance. I’ve since found out that more people had tracking problems and glitches, but the good news is that developer Whirlybird Games has indicated that a patch is coming up in the near future.
Visually, VR The Diner Duo works around the technical limitations that VR brings with it by employing a cartoon-like look in both chef and server modes. Things aren’t highly detailed, but crisp and colorful – something we see in a lot of VR titles from smaller studios and a smart choice for a game like this where plenty of contrast helps you in speeding things up.
If you’re ever played any restaurant-themed time management game then by now you’ll know exactly what to expect from VR The Diner Duo. It’s a clever concept and Whirlybird delivers on it in theory, but released a game that holds it back due to a few bugs that slipped into the release version. Once these are fixed, feel free to add half a point to the score below – provided that you’re playing with a friend.