App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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As readers may know, our family really enjoys the Dr. Panda series of apps that include friendly, recurring animal characters and child-friendly themes that may allow children to role-play at being a doctor, farmer, or handyman. One of my son’s favorites of these apps is Dr. Panda's Restaurant - where one can prepare foods for animal clients in an upscale restaurant setting. Because of this, my son was really excited to find Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2 downloaded on our iPad. Here, players will cook in the kitchen of a more casual waterfront restaurant. I really like how the hungry animal customers arrive by boat and ask for a specific dish, then approach a window to the kitchen to give the OK on the ingredients one is looking to cook with. Children will enjoy supplying favorite foods as well as choices these animals are not fond of in many different ways. Explore kitchen tools such as a knife, grater, or food processor as well as bake, boil, and sauté in the safety of one's own homes and without help from adults.
Children will find it satisfying to stir the food within the frying pan or cut vegetables with a knife with a drag of a finger. I do enjoy the details such as watching my carrot slices begin to float while boiling or seeing my baking fish brown slightly. One can also pulse with the processor to further chop as well as hold down the button to pulverize food, complete with the sight of food spinning up against the machine’s mixing cup. Also nice is how one can add extra favor such as at the wok station that also includes ingredients such as soy sauce, vinegar, or hot peppers. Dr. Panda, the chef who guides children through the kitchen, will let one know if too much salt, pepper, or other ingredients have been used, and these feelings will be mirrored by the comments made by the diners who will let children know how the food tasted via speech bubbles once the meal has been enjoyed. Finish up interacting with these furry patrons by busing the dishes and collecting money.
Feel free to explore the variety kitchen implements without fear of overworking the meal, as these animals will express happiness or displeasure based more on their preferences for ingredients than on the way foods are prepared. In some ways, this keeps the app as open-ended as possible, but I would also appreciate animals having standards regarding how the food is dealt with, such as not being fond of their salad fixings being boiled in water or macerated to pulp, or simply serving whole baked vegetables instead of the soup they asked for. Likewise, would prefer the presentation of ground vegetables one may have processed to be served instead of here the solid three-dimensional blob offered, but lining the serving plate like a sauce or soup.
I really enjoy the food-specific tasks one performs such as rolling out the pizza dough, adding red sauce, and laying down cheese. Also included is the process of choosing a pasta shape, boiling and draining the pot, or dropping in a chosen bouillon into boiling water as a base to make soup. These activities adds a nice number of realistic details including the food splatter of a busy kitchen that will keep children coming back for more. It would be nice to see more variety of dishes one may be asked to cook including some dessert dishes as well. Also, I raise an eyebrow at Dr. Panda’s dependency on canned tomato sauce, but the large selection of ingredients to choose from and creative use of these appliances go a long way in keeping children engaged. Be aware that a vegetarian mode is available in the parents section - a nice touch.