I’m only slightly embarrassed to have played and finished this game. Time management and similar simulation games feel great for my brain. Putting together a series of tasks under a time limit organizes my mind.

I was excited to find out there was a sequel to Jessica’s Cupcake Cafe by Gamers Digital, Inc. JCC is, by far, one of those great games that doesn’t get much limelight. As, in my experience, sequels of games tend to be basically the same with some improvements, I was hoping Jessica’s Bow Wow Bistro for PC would be fantabulous. If you have a dog and want to spoil it with homemade treats, you might want to get this game for the real recipes it has. Otherwise, meh.

Like its predecessor, JBWB has a well-polished art style and the same cute music. (Very much the same auditory experience.) The handle on actions are smooth, loading times are pretty fast, and sound effects are cute and not annoying (unlike Cake Mania). However, I felt there were little improvements. There were many changes in the overall game-play and planning of sequences, but were they for the better?

The goal is the same: serve doggy treats to make money; make a certain amount of money to beat the current level; beat all the levels to reach the game’s end. Unlike JCC, I was disappointed to find I couldn’t change the design of the treats. Sometimes, though, this was a plus because the planning of the level became more of a challenge when I had to obey the directions; some baking machines could only process certain shapes or colors of goodies, rendering a dink in any plans to do well for the current level. Nevertheless, I was able to get through everything with a Gold reward (minus just one level out of fifty where I wasn’t paying attention).

Also unlike the original, the way Miss Jessica accepted payments was a bit annoying. Originally, if ever a line of people waiting to pay, she could check out all of them with one click of the cash register. In JBWB, one has to click on each individual person. This was a pain, but the creators might have wanted to promote the power-up that calls the doggy-helper.

In this game, Jessica is accompanied by her dog, which serves customers for her if she collects enough money. This pet can be called multiple times, as he gets his energy from customers’ money (that’s the way I read it, anyway). This feature comes in handy when you need to spend time baking more of the treats that have run out. My pet peeve (ha, ha) about this is that he doesn’t serve every type of food, nor does he collect money. When annoyed with the dog, other power-ups came in handy.

Included power-ups are: a heart button, which keeps customers from getting cranky at delays; a shoe button, which gives Jessica faster speed; a fast-forward button, which speeds up appliances; a food button, which refills treat trays without having to cook anything; and a money button, which doubles the cost of any money you collect while the feature is running. These power-ups, like the server dog, have limited time-spans, so one must find out which is best to use when. Ideal times may be different from every person.

Power-ups are the way to go, as appliance and decor updates don’t really do much for the productivity. The one appliance update I would swear by is the biscuit-maker. The number of shapes it produces increases with each purchase.

Two other, hilarious features are fleas and poop (see image below). An assistant is hired to clean all of this, as having an obstacle in the way keeps a customer from appearing in that spot ever again, but she’s not needed. Those spots for customers aren’t needed, unless you happen to be OCD about your game-play. The money rolls in well enough even when you’re down to two customer spots at the end of a level. I appreciate the thought, though, my dear Gamers Digital.

Jessica’s Bow Wow Bistro level 39

The payoff for all of this? Not very much at all. It follows along the story line, but I think the writers of this could have done a better job of making it exciting. At least at the end. Give us something for that time.

The game, as a whole, wasn’t a challenge, but it did give me that inexplicable bloodrush that happens when I play these types of games. I probably won’t revisit this particular game for that rush. JCC and other greener pastures await.

This game is perfect for people under 12 who might not be able to think as well under pressure.