iPad Game Review: Supermarket Mania 2 HD Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Supermarket Mania 2 HD (SM2) is a time management game from industry veteran, G5 Entertainment. Your task is to keep your market stocked, clean, and trouble-free in the face of unruly children, shoplifters, the evil Mr. Torg (your nemesis), and an unwashed horde of quirky and demanding shoppers.
The game starts simply enough, asking only that you keep the shelves stocked and the floor clean. However, before you know it, you?ll be making milkshakes, juicing oranges, baking croissants and pizza, and dealing with a wide variety of distractions and challenges. The trick is, you can only do one thing at a time so the key to success is correctly anticipating your needs. This is primarily accomplished by keeping an eye on the thought balloons of the various customers, but also by good old-fashioned planning and clever strategy. For instance, since it takes 30 seconds to bake a tray of croissants, knowing that a customer is thinking about them will not do you any good if you didn?t take the time to previously bake them as said customers will not wait even 5 seconds for this particular item. Fortunately, the challenge ramps up at an appropriate pace and the large, friendly touchscreen of your iPad means the interface is uncluttered and intuitive. SM2 boasts 80 levels in six settings, with 34 different items to create/bake/stock/sell; all of which are upgradeable. Game Center support is nicely integrated as well, for those obsessive completionists out there.
Being new to this genre, I had a unique opportunity to put this game through its paces from the point of view of a clueless idiot. While my experience with the gameplay was overall very positive, I did have a few minor complaints. For instance, you get a warning if you try to make a milkshake with the wrong items, however, it was not immediately apparent to me how to shed myself of the incorrect items so I can get what I need. Further, you can?t do anything else while you?re carrying these items around, leading to a symphony of frustrated tapping as I tried to change tasks and couldn?t. As I said, this was most likely due to my inexperience, however, unless you?re a veteran of time management games expect a similar experience from time to time as it just wasn?t obvious how to get myself out of trouble.
SM2 boasts some very nice hand-drawn 2-D graphics. They are bright, colorful, high-resolution, smoothly animated, and they fit the theme of the game perfectly. Each time you advance to a new group of challenges you are greeted by a fresh, new environment in which to work. This goes a long way toward keeping the game feeling fresh in spite of the fact that the play doesn't vary significantly between them. There are also some nicely drawn comic book style cut scenes that are used to advance the storyline.
The in-game sounds of SM2 are first-rate. From the coffee grinder to the blender to the cash register, everything sounds exactly as you'd expect it to. This goes a long way toward immersing you in the game, and really adds a great deal of satisfaction to the whole experience. Now, if they can only find a way to digitally recreate smells, the immersion will be complete. Lastly, the soundtrack light and whimsical, and suits the game perfectly.
Supermarket Mania 2 HD is a great time management game. In fact, it's safe to say that it is one of the very best of the genre. If you're looking for an actual supermarket simulation you're better off tinkering with a spreadsheet (as fun as that sounds). However, if you're looking for a fun game about supermarkets, look no further. Time management fans are likely to love this one, and those new to the genre may also find themselves hooked. It's accessible yet challenging, pleasing to look at/listen to, and most of all, fun!
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Nicely rendered 2-D sprites. Sound: - 4 - Satisfyingly accurate sampled sound effects will make you think you can smell the baked bread, and freshly ground coffee. Controls: - 5 - A multi-touch interface is perfect for this type of game, making the iPad the premier platform for budding supermarket enthusiasts. Gameplay: - 5 - A fun and frantic tapfest that will have you replaying levels until you get a perfect score.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Upgrade your milkshakes, croissants, and mop bucket first. These are the things that take the most time, and upgrades will immediately be felt. You should never have any downtime. If your shelves are stocked and the floor is clean, make those items that take some extra time.
Developer: G5 Entertainment Release Date: May 12, 2011 Price: Free to download with a $6.99 IAP to unlock the full game for the iPad version, $4.99 for the iPhone version Buy App: Supermarket Mania 2 HD