Cafe style time management games are fairly alike. Started by the Diner Dash series, other brands swiftly followed like Cake Mania and a slew of single titles with fantasy, realistic, and magical cafe settings. Not to be outdone by time management games, the hidden object genre is another top seller for casual game outlets. Alice’s Tea Cup Madness is the best of both.
Following more in the footsteps of Cake Mania, in this game Alice runs a Mad Tea House by filling tea and pastry orders. As the player, you must make variations of the same products based on style, toppings, and color. There is a familiar customer management system of bonuses for seating the same colored character in the same chair. Where other games developed the mechanics of this time management style, Alice’s Tea Cup Madness explodes with gorgeous graphics and game play that makes sense.
One of the best aspects of the game play is blending tasks you must wait on, capitalizing on similar orders for bonuses, and order enhancements to boost your money score. At the end of each level, you can buy cafe upgrades, but everything is mechanical (instant serving tray) or decorative (nicer lamps). For increasing Alice’s speed or an instant creation of orders, individual customers have those boosts on them and they are applied immediately after you collect their money.
To change things up, after every few levels, Alice plays a mini-game posed by who else but the Cheshire Cat. He is up to his old mischief and will rearrange Alice’s cafe in a 5 minute hidden object hunt. In another, he confiscated Alice’s cups and food and drops them from a tree while Alice avoids the dishes and catches the food for points. Both have goals you have to pass, but the money you make is available for spending on cafe upgrades before the next regular level.
What keeps you playing is the very clever graphics. Alice in Wonderland is full of the most outrageous and fantastical characters in English literature. The graphics here do not disappoint as a happy marriage between bright colors and detailed renditions.
One drawback to Alice’s Tea Cup Madness is a lack of replay incentive. There aren’t any bonus levels or even a way to share your high score globally. There is also no endless mode. Finally, in the regular game play, there is a pattern to the later levels where customers will have the same order in groups of three, so you can sometimes predict a customer’s order.
Tips and Tricks:
Start making pastries right away, and you can store more than 3 at a time. It’s a good idea to keep 6-9 pastries of each type on hand, you won’t be penalized for unused pastry.
Invest in upgrading the serving platter as soon as possible, as it makes the serving combo easier and saves you time so you can serve more customers.
The highest points come from combinations, such as using the extend feature to place a garnish on multiple glasses or pastries.
In the falling food mini-game, each food is worth the same, and the points go up the longer you go without hitting a dish.