Party Of Three – Reviewing The Applebee’s Tablet Games
The video games press can’t cover everything – there just isn’t enough time to look at all of the games that release each year. Naturally, these pressures lead to blind spots. We, the interns, have taken it upon ourselves to fill one such void in games journalism. Read along, as we get down to the nitty gritty of the reviews you really want to see: Applebee’s Tablet Games.
Upon sitting down at one of these fine establishments, you’ll find a mysterious tablet at the end of the table. For just $1.99, the tablet becomes a portal to fun. Below, you’ll find our expert opinions, an appropriate food pairing, and a monetary value of the amount of fun we had with each and every game on the device.
Smashy Brick takes advantage of the touchscreen in a unique way. It’s a typical Breakout clone, but instead of a bar, the ball (or square in this case) is bouncing off of a line you draw with your finger. It’s a cool concept, but I never liked Breakout. I give it points for originality, though. Also, it looks clean, and it never crashed/bugged out at any point, which is more than can be said for most of the games on this list. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: The Puzzling Grilled Chicken ‘N Cornbread Salad
Care Bears Love to Learn
As someone who doesn’t love to learn, I gained a whole new appreciation for what it means to be educated. Simple skills, such as counting and pattern recognition, have never been more fun. Unfortunately, just as I felt I was hitting my groove and getting to know the characters, it was over. I look forward to Care Bears Love to Learn 2. Side note: Upon sitting down at our Applebee’s booth, I noticed Doug looked especially dumb. If anyone needed learning, it’s him. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: Grilled Cheese and Mott’s Applesauce
Whenever I’m sitting down for a fine meal at Applebee’s, it’s inevitable that someone questions my intelligence. Now, I can prove them wrong by smashing the high score on Harry Potter trivia. Sometimes you look stupid because the game throws curveballs at you, like a Shrek question in the Disney category. I totally would have gotten it right if it was in a Dreamworks category, I swear. With “thousands” of questions (we managed to find repeats on our second attempt) and a variety of categories, Trivia Attack is a perfectly functional trivia experience. – Doug DeLong
Pairs with: A) Cedar Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze B) Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken C) Caesar Salad D) All of the above
Tractor Crew introduces a lot of questions: Who is my crew? Why aren’t there any tractors in this game? Despite a promising set-up, Tractor Crew may have been the biggest letdown of the night. The game tasks you with getting inconveniently placed uranium into a safe waste deposit. With its unique physics engine and complex control scheme, the touchpad controller simply couldn’t handle the dynamicity of the game. Hopefully, the next generation of touch technology will be able to support Kurius Games’ ambition. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: Any alcoholic beverage
It’s Bejeweled. Match colors to make all adjacent pieces disappear. The stack rises with increasing speed until it’s game over. Despite being a cookie-cutter puzzle game, it was actually fun. Once you get used to the flow, Gold Rush throws in a new element to the gameplay like screen-clearing power-ups or color changers, so the game will hold your attention until you lose. The game challenged us to go “Deluxe,” but when we hit the button nothing happened. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: A bowl of tortilla chips that you can’t stop eating
Delicious: Emily’s New Beginning
Babysitters are expensive, and sometimes your husband JUST WON’T WATCH THE DAMN BABY FOR A SECOND. Emily has starred in a number of restaurant-management games, but this time you also need to keep an eye on your baby while you do it. You tap around the screen to make Emily run around and perform tasks, such as putting together a hamburger, handing people menus, and keeping the baby from crawling out the door. The game is said to have a “Once in a lifetime story,” but unfortunately the Applebee’s tablet is not the place to experience it. The delicious graphics are much too demanding for the system, which causes the framerate to crawl more slowly than little Paige, and the unresponsive touch screen makes the game nearly unplayable. – Doug DeLong
Pairs with: There’s no time to eat! That man needs a donut, and the baby needs rocking!
More like ain’t fun. Paint Fun provided a limited number of colors and tools to bring my work of art to life, and the overall result was uninspired. As I attempted to capture a typical day in the G.I. intern room, I found myself disappointed with the lack of options the game afforded me while attempting to depict such a beautiful moment. Ben Reeves’ beautiful curly locks lacked their lustrous texture, while Jeff Cork’s beard simply couldn’t even begin to be captured by the repugnant lack of chromatic values. I originally had plans to print my masterpiece and get it framed for Jeff and Ben, so they might hang it upon their fridges as they would their own child’s creation. Jeff and Ben hold a special place in my heart, and Paint Fun in no way prepared me to express that sentiment. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: Non-toxic paints
This game pissed me off, but I also loved it. It’s one of those math-puzzle games where you have to rotate and turn a prism so it falls down a hole. I was determined to solve level six, and was right about to complete it when “Grubby Hands” Jared Koncsol grabbed the tablet from me. Then I got angry. This is a good puzzle game if you have rugrats who won’t sit still in the Applebee’s. You can also buy the home version, but according to reviews it doesn’t work. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: Candy Blox that Doug brought in his purse
Text Twist 2
What’s that? Knowing random facts about Harry Potter doesn’t prove I’m smart? Well guess what, buddy – wait until you see my anagram skills. This simple game about creating words from an assortment of letters is a useful tool for very secure people, like myself, to prove to their server that they’re geniuses. My server even told me “Wow, good job,” with an expressionless look on his face because he was dumbfounded by my mastery of the English language. – Doug DeLong
Pairs with: The twisty noodles from the Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Fun: Making random people like you? Priceless.
Going into the night, Tippy Wings was a clear favorite with its promise of Flappy Birds-esque gameplay. We were severely disappointed to find the game got stuck on the “Powered by Unity” screen. I’m not sure if this was a problem with Unity or some other technical issue. I do know Applebee’s has dedicated servers, but unfortunately, they seemed more interested in keeping my water topped off than troubleshooting the game. Either way, Tippy Wings left me with a bad taste in my mouth. To be fair, that may have just been the chicken wonton tacos. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: Waiting for your wings that aren’t coming because your server forgot
Fun: Still waiting to find out
Although, it’s an unoriginal concept, Prestogram provided a fresh take on the image-filtering genre. The gameplay was spectacular, with tight sticker placement and a fluent user-interface. My only qualm with Prestogram is the distinct lack of sticker content, and the fact that the Viking helmet makes Doug look even more pretentious than he already is. I can only assume more stickers will be added as DLC, although Presto has yet to announce any. Prestogram has an integrated multiplayer which allows you to connect with others upon completion of your gram. Jeff and Ben were thrilled to receive ours, and we hope to be getting one in return very soon. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: A side of Pesto Mayo
Next Up: The Interns get to know each other really well after playing some group games.
Critics have hailed this app as “delicious.” Bestappsforkids.com gives it a 4.5/5. The app store description of this game touts its “colorful graphics, dynamic elements and fun sound effects.” All of this praise for a game where you drag food across a screen and watch it transform into a funny face. In the first screen we tried, the bread glitched and the food we moved kept disappearing. The next arrangement was a possibly racist image of a Native American woman. After that, we tapped out. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: Double Bacon Chicken Sandwich
When I’m not trying to show everybody how smart I am, I’m looking for love. If finding your true love at the Applebee’s bar proves fruitless, you can console yourself with Robo Buddies, a cute little game about finding hidden items to build yourself a robot girlfriend. I know the title says she’s only a buddy, but after she sees me play Text Twist 2, she’ll totally want to be my girlfriend. – Doug DeLong
Note: Unfortunately, there are no options to build a robot boyfriend.
Pairs with: Two glasses of Applebee’s Neighborhood Favorites
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an affinity for building birdhouses. Unfortunately, I’m incapable of carpentry, painting, and most things in general, so I’ve been unable to entertain this passion for some time now. In the same way those who lack athleticism turn to games such as FIFA and 2K Sports’ titles, I wanted a game to fulfill my passion for aviocentric civil construction. Finally, Duckie Deck has answered my pleas and delivered what I consider to be the ultimate birdhouse-building sim. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: Caprese Mozzarella Chicken
A memory game. There are three levels of difficulty. Memorize the cards. That’s it.
You feel high and mighty when you crush the first level made for kids, but then when you make the jump to hard, you have to make an excuse to switch to another game. Bad for your self-esteem. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: The salad you ordered to impress your date but don’t want to eat
Applebee’s can be a tough place where people accuse you of being both stupid and pretentious at the same time. Thankfully, there’s a game to retreat to, full of warm colors and friendly faces, where all you need to do is tap the bodies of happy monsters. Cutie Monsters reminds you that “Yes, Doug, you are smart. You know how to count and how to read at a kindergarten level. Don’t let those people hurt you.” I love this game. – Doug DeLong
Pairs with: Apple Juice
I finally found love at Applebee’s, and it wasn’t at the bar like I originally thought, but around the game tablet. Jared and I played Couple’s Quiz, and I learned so much about him. We matched on every important question; we love traveling, enjoy listening to the Frozen soundtrack, and most importantly, I won. I’m so smart. I bet that made Jared fall even more deeply in love with me. – Doug DeLong
They say some games destroy relationships, but I feel like Doug and I experienced the exact opposite. I have never felt closer to Doug, and even though he won, I think we built a bond that can never be broken. I mean of course, I think he started cheating and picking answers specifically so I would get them wrong and he would win. He kept saying he wasn’t cheating, which I knew was a lie, because at this point I’m used to him lying to me. He just has to win, no matter what, and when I told him I was upset, he didn’t even care about my feelings. He never cares about my feelings. God, I hate Doug. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: The 2 for $20 deal
Fun: $0.30 for Doug, -$0.05 for Jared, with a grand total of $0.25
This is basically the same thing as the Couple’s Quiz but completely platonic. As Jared alluded to in the previous review, Friends quiz has a shocking level of depth and strategy. After the first round, your friends will inevitably start picking questions deliberately wrong in order to throw you off. But then the question becomes, “Do they know I know they’re picking wrong, so they pick right? What would Jared do? God, I hate Jared.” It starts to get really meta. Which is why this is a much better test of how well you know your friends than you may initially think. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: Telling your friend to order you whatever and praying he’s not picking the Mozzarella Chicken
Buzzfeed. “How cool are you?” “What kind of dog are you?” “What’s your ‘80s song?” This app gives you arbitrary answers to these arbitrary questions. We discovered Doug is uncool, along with being dumb and pretentious, Jared is a mutt, and I am “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean. – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: I don’t know, which food are you? Take this quiz to find out!
The goal is to try to make everyone else at the table guess the word without saying the word itself. The person with the most points wins. The only thing that “bombs” is referring to in the title is the fact that the timer is the fuse of a bomb, so if you pretend like the restaurant is going to blow up after every round it adds some tension. Or at least it would, if anything happened after the time ran out, because you can just keep playing. I guess you could say the bomb, just like this game, is a dud (but honestly, it was kind of fun). – Craig Taylor
Pairs with: Jalapeño Poppers
This game likes to think it’s tricky, but it was no match for Jug, the newest and most bestest power couple that’s ever met in an Applebee’s. Or at least that's what I thought, until that terrible moment when we learned The Leaning Tower of Pisa is taller than a Blue Whale. Maybe… maybe I'm not as smart as I think I am. Nah, it’s more likely that this game just sucks. – Doug DeLong
Pairs with: The dish that looks nothing like it did on the menu
This game pits your party against all the other parties that have ever set foot in your local Applebee’s. Essentially a more intense version of “Would You Rather,” Tough Call introduced some of the toughest calls we’ve ever had to call. After several grueling rounds of having our answers scrutinized by previous Applebee’s patrons, we realized we are simply not ready for serious gaming on the world’s largest stage. Following this game, we retreated home to reevaluate our life goals and enter a comatose state as is customary after visiting an Applebee’s. – Jared Koncsol
Pairs with: We can't decide; it's a tough call
Looking back, we paid $1.99 to have $4.42 of fun, avoid the discomfort of making small talk with coworkers, and find love (except for Craig), so really, the experience was priceless. The games that are the most fun are those that you can play as a group, because friends are more fun than any dumb game that you can find on an Applebee’s tablet. Our July 30 Game of the Night goes to…Word Bombs! Which is basically just Heads Up, which you can get on your smartphone.