[Our "guest reviews" segment is something that will come up every so often, and features a title that we've had a friend, relative, reader or crazy fanboy write to express their thoughts on our front page here. So read, enjoy and leave some feedback - in other words, treat them just like you do us! Shouldn't be that hard.]
So, my husband (Chad) comes to me with an iPhone game and asks me, “Would you like to review a game called Supermarket Mania? It seems like it would be right up your alley.” I don’t know if that was a sexist slur or he just felt less manly reviewing such a girlie game. Probably both. “Sure,” I replied. “And I’m sure you know best, honey. Thank you for being such a big strong man and putting up with my feminine weaknesses.”
Okay, so that never happened. If it did, I can guarantee you I’d be a widow and running from the law. But I did get the opportunity to write a guest review for DualShockers, and that freakin’ rocks.
Supermarket Mania is one of those “tappy” games, where the success rate depends on how fast your itty bitty fingers can tap on what needs attention. There are two modes: Story and Endless. Being the wife of an RPG geek extraordinaire, I went for story mode first.
You start off as a cute little sorority girl type, in her bedroom (complete with stuffed animals and some deranged looking bunny slippers) hopeful about her first day at work. She is a little nervous about working for TORG Corporation’s grocery store. (At this point I immediately had a flashback to ZORG on The Fifth Element – sorry!) She explains that she’d rather not work for TORG, but it’s everywhere. Dun dun DUN!
The first level is a tutorial. It shows you that you need to fill shelves from a cart that you push around. You can fill a certain number of shelves before your cart is empty and you must refill it from the storage room. You must keep the shelves stocked, or customers have to wait. They have very little patience. There is an icon above the shopper’s head showing you what product they want. If they must wait for you to fill the shelf, a green smiley-face appears above their head and quickly turns to red if you take too long. If this happens they will throw their current groceries on the floor and leave. This means you lose a customer. You must also pick up the garbage and put it in the recycle bin so that patrons don’t slip, fall, and leave.
Gradually things speed up (no, really!), and variables are added, like rambunctious teenagers who bounce around and throw things on the ground and thieves who try to steal things. You are given tools to combat the undesirables and must stay on top of this as well as stocking shelves and cleaning up. You are given goals for each level, such as at dollar amount and the number of customers you can lose. There is a “normal” achievement and an “expert” achievement, depending on how well you fill the objectives for each level. You get a “Day Completed” or an “Excellent.” Excellent completion gains you a little star, and as I am motivated by a token economy, I wanted ALL of my path to be stars, which led to me replaying some levels.
Pretty early in the game, you stop working for ZORG, um, I mean TORG and start working for someone else – a lone wolf who wants to topple the monopoly in your town and needs your help. You work for him and help him upgrade his stores to provide a better shopping experience for consumers. Included are some ‘buffs’ like a coffee machine to give your character a speed boost, and other upgrades that I won’t spoil for you. Along the way you learn why your new boss has such a vendetta against TORG.
Endless mode is more of the same. The buffs are floating icons that you rush around to grab (go faster, refill cart faster, instantly refill shelves, etc.). It ends when you lose ten customers. You again have to deal with rambunctious teenagers, garbage, old people, and sticky-fingered rogues.
Overall, I enjoyed the game very much. I had a hard time keeping up with the faster-paced levels, but that just attests to my crappy hand-eye coordination. The graphics were good-looking, the concept was easy to grasp, and it was fun. I will probably keep playing on endless mode and re-play levels that I didn’t get an “excellent” achievement.
[Guest reviewer: Danielle Awkerman]