Intuitive stylus controls, bright visual style, fun management mechanics
Weird storyline, sloppy design quirks, last level of stages is repetitive
Video games provide people with the opportunity to live out their ultimate fantasies– whether it’s venturing out on an intergalactic space odyssey or joining a professional sports team. Supermarket Mania, however, puts you in the shoes of a blonde, 20-something stock girl. Being a stockperson is something people rarely dream about. But this DSiWare title from G5 Entertainment takes this down-to-reality concept and turns it into a fun and hectic management game with a couple of loose ends.
As Nikki in Supermarket Mania, players restock shelves of a grocery store to satisfy customers– similar to waiting virtual tables in Diner Dash. Some guests simply mosey through the shops, like the elderly, while others are testy and quick, like young yuppies. You also have to worry about trash and thieves, but everything is easily managed by the intuitive touch screen and stylus controls. Basically, you tap a shelf, and Nikki does the rest. You click on the stock house, and your cart fills up accordingly.
The title throws new game mechanics at you at a pleasant pace, with new guests entering the foray or special abilities becoming unlocked. There are also upgrades to better equip Nikki, such as a larger cart to stock more shelves before refilling. The upgrades and variety help keep the experience fresh for the most part, though the last level of stages gets a bit repetitive.
Managing a grocery store on a busy afternoon makes for some fun game aspects. You can plot out your shelf destinations beforehand or wait for customers to stand by and demand fresh vegetables or fruits. Sometimes the store gets so overrun by customers that you are tapping up to 7 or 8 advance moves, just waiting for Nikki to run around and please the guests. The depth may be pretty surface level, but there’s no doubt that Supermarket Mania is entertaining in short bursts.
The visual style fits nicely with the game setup. A bright, colorful palate of colors pleases the eyes, with cute, round humans filling the screens. The style is pretty straightforward, which works well with lots of characters on screen and to separate customers from one another. Weirdly, the storyline of Supermarket Mania clashes with the happy nature of the game. An evil tyrant who relies on robots tries to careen Nikki and her friends into bankruptcy. Only Nikki can prove that homo sapiens are the superior worker in this odd human-versus-robot plotline. The story is an oddity that should have been left on the cutting room floor.
The DSiWare game also contains a few sloppy quirks for the Nintendo handheld. For example, a loading bar appears upon starting the game. The title takes close to a minute to finally start, which is common in most iPhone games, but not on DSi. The long wait is frustrating and suggests lazy developers.
Even with the rough edges, Supermarket Mania features a fun management time for spurt gaming. The title does not proffer anything remotely innovative, but achieves success in its smart controls and normalcy.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.