Working in a supermarket restocking shelves and cleaning after customers is certainly not the most glamourous job, but running your own shop has to be pretty cool. If you like the sound of it, there's a game that mixes both ideas in a simple and fast paced recipe for your iPhone or iPad.
Supermarket Mania 2 [iTunes Link] by G5 Entertainment is the sequel to the time management game that puts you in the feet of a supermarket manager Nikki. You are in full control of all the shop upgrades, but customer loyalty and success comes at a price. The secret to running an excellent supermarket lies on stocking your shelves, offer freshly-made products and keep everything clean and tidy. Unfortunately, you'll be in charge of that too.
The game mechanics are very simple. From the moment the supermarket opens its doors, you'll have to push around a trolley restocking counters and shelves with the most popular products. Needless to say that if customers can't find some fish, they will walk away and shop somewhere else. Once your cart is empty, you'll need to go back to the warehouse, collect more items, and continue restocking.
As you progress through the game and your supermarket offers a wider range of products, you'll start making freshly ground coffee, bake pizzas, milkshakes and juices to delight your visitors. In this case, you'll need to pick up some fruit and take it to the food processor, or ground some coffee to brew some cups. This element brings some complexity to the mix, as you'll need to multitask restocking and operating every machine.
As you would expect, every customer has its own characteristics, which range from product preference, shopping speed and average waiting time. Some special visitors will require extra attention, like a chid who always gets lost and can't find mom, or an annoying girl who brings her scooter in the shop. On top of that, you'll need to deal with the odd burglar and some competitor who trashes the place in every visit.
The game is structured into levels that increase in complexity and introduce new concepts to the game. While the gameplay elements are the same throughout, the fact that you are presented with new products, customers, stores, upgrades and power-ups, keep you entertained without the feeling of doing the same thing over and over again, which in fact, you are doing.
Although you cannot jump levels if you find the first ones too easy, you always have the chance to unlock special events and get more cash within the level, making it suitable for a wide range of players, from children to adults. The moment you upgrade your supermarket to the maximum, you'll probably be about to end the stage.
The customer is always right, until Lady Gaga comes to your supermarket and everyone starts taking pictures with their phones and you have to give her a hollywood star treatment
Despite its appearance from the screenshots, Supermarket Mania is a time management game in the fashion of Sally's Spa, Diner Dash or even Star Wars: Cantina. Those looking for a simulation/strategy sort of gameplay like Hot Springs Story will have to keep looking. The game runs through pre-built levels and there's no level editor or freestyle mode.
I felt Supermarket Mania was in many ways similar to Virtual City and I reckon they share a lot of common code because the game mechanics and presentation are pretty similar. Having said this, if you liked the first one, you are going to like this one too, but in the age of FarmVille and social gaming, there could be an extra social element to it. If you can't stand fermium titles, Supermarket Mania 2 packs all the goodies in one single price without needing virtual currency to unlock more.
Overall, Supermarket Mania 2 is a worthy second part with a good combination of strategy and fast decision making that will please you as long as you like restocking shelves.