I loved the PC version of SuperMarket Mania 2, and now that it is available for iPhone and iPad I wanted to take another look and see how it would work as a port! Read on and find out how they did!
Nikki and her friends are back in Supermarket Mania 2! Help her uncle Ross manage and run his chain of grocery stores on the other side of the country. Keep the supermarket shelves stocked up, floors clean and customers coming as you work on improving the stores and increasing profits. It’s not all peachy though, as the evil Assistant Torg and his robotic minions are back causing trouble. Can you handle the pressure?
How hard can it be running a supermarket? In the original Supermarket Mania Nikki found out that is was much harder than she thought – especially with the evil Torg and his robot minions trying to put the store she works at out of business. Yet through perseverance she succeeds and prevails! Now Nikki is back … but so is Torg! Can you help Nikki Succeed in a new location with new challenges?
Just because a game is called ‘casual’ doesn’t mean it is relaxing! Supermarket Mania 2 is a time management game, and is similar in focus and challenge to the popular Diner Dash games and of course the original Supermarket Mania!
The story of Supermarket Mania 2 involves Nikki being given full control over a supermarket in Tinseltown when Uncle Ross is having problems and needs her help. The story is told through a series of comic-book style pages in between each mission. It is a great way of integrating a fun story and providing an added impetus to keep on playing even as the levels get harder and harder!
The basics of a time management game are straight-forward: you are in a real-time, dynamic environment and need to keep track of supplies and keep your inputs and outputs balanced and deal with any situation that comes up before it turns into a serious problem. In the city-builder game Virtual City there are some time-management aspects involving putting out fired and tending to sick people while also dealing with building your city to meet your mission objectives.
Supermarket Mania is more or less about enabling all of your customers to buy what they want without too much delay.
That makes it sound simple … but it really isn’t! You have a dozen or so shelves of product to keep stocked while customers are constantly coming in and out of your market. You also need to run the register, keep the floors clean, move the shopping baskets back to the entry, handle customer issues, deal with suppliers, and make customer multi-step items.
The goal for each level is to gain an ‘Expert’ rating. This is based on the money gained, which isn’t just about sales but also about whether you keep your shelves stocked, the store clean, how many customers you served and how many you lost, and so on. Customers can be happy (green), annoyed (yellow), or angry (red). After they are angry you have a limited time before they simply leave the store and lower your score. You can get lower ratings and pass the level or fail and need to try again.
When you start the game you play through what amounts to the demo levels. Here your customers are predominantly little old ladies and college kids. The old ladies move slowly around and buy a few different items and have loads of patience. The college kids tend to get distracted by their phones and will hang around for a while giving your precious extra time to restock shelves and clean the floor. Things get a bit more challenging towards the end, but it is still enough to keep you feeling like you can handle it all.
But once you get into the paid section of the game things get really interesting! You have already been shown more challenging customers and the ability to buy upgrades. One upgrade will completely clean the store, which is an absolute boon later on! You can also upgrade your shelves for more capacity and your mop for more efficient cleaning, and so on. Planning your upgrades and spending everything you can as soon as possible definitely makes your life easier.
As you get more customers coming in of a variety of types you will discover that it is the mix that causes the challenge more than the customer type. You will have someone who buys large amounts of food as well as someone with little patience and a destructive child and a drive-through customer requiring multiple items FAST and someone at one of the combo items … all at once!
The combination items are a real challenge. For example, to build a milk-shake you need to gather up milk and ice cream and take it to the shake machine and then wait for time to elapse until your shake is done. During this time loads of other things are happening around the store, so you really have to map out a plan and not simply react to what is going on at that moment. It is better to have two customers annoyed (yellow) than one customer angry, for example.
Technically Supermarket Mania is wonderful. The music is cheery and well suited with the game – you won’t want it on your iPod but will find yourself humming the tunes after playing. The graphics are detailed and colorful and distinct enough to never lose sight of anything even as the shop gets crazy busy. Since the story is told through comic book styled pages you don’t have to worry about the voice acting.
The port from the Mac/PC version to the iPhone and iPad was wonderfully done. There is no sign of slow-down or other performance issues, the music sounds great, and the touch screen is even more natural feeling than using a mouse! My only problem in this regard was with the size of the screen on my iPod Touch interfering with my accuracy and visibility – but even then this was just an issue during frantic action. On the iPad that wasn’t a concern at all.
My only issue was that some of the levels seemed designed to be frustrating rather than challenging, presenting a difficulty spike that required multiple attempts just to pass, let along get an Expert score. There were some missions I had to resign myself to never gaining an Expert rating, but only after multiple frustrating attempts. On the up-side, those levels were scarce, and with a game containing more than 80 levels the overall feeling was one of a very fun but challenging game.
As I said at the start, ‘thrilling’ isn’t the word that comes to mind with a supposedly ‘casual’ game … which is why the genre title is meaningless! Supermarket Mania 2 IS a thrilling game, and one you can easily pick up and play for just a few minutes when you have the chance. But like any good casual game, once you start playing you will find yourself sucked into that ‘just one more level’ mode!
Best of all, with a free download to try out and the ability to get the whole game for under $7 and several hours of gameplay and built-in replayability to reach Expert ratings, Supermarket Mania 2 is a great game AND a great value!
Review: Supermarket Mania 2
Price: Free download ($4.99 iPhone and $6.99 iPad in-app purchase of full version)
What I Like: Fast paced and addictive gameplay; Bright and cheery graphics; Worth retrying levels to get Expert rating; Many hours of fun
What Needs Improvement: Some levels frustrating to get through at all … let alone reach Expert status; iPhone screen feels small during frantic action!