Overall Score 71%
A pretty simple match-3 game this week. Not the first of its kind to cross the desk here at Bytten, and doubtless not the last weíll ever see. Rather than just a bland abstract puzzler though, the developers have attempted to add a bit of flavour to this one with a supermarket theme and a few basic strategy elements as well.
The game was designed primarily with the mobile phone as its target platform, but we reviewed a standalone PC version of the game that ran in a 480x720 window. There were no options to run in a higher resolution or in any sort of full screen mode, but the window although diminutive is sufficient nonetheless.
As a supermarket clerk, the player has to make horizontal or vertical matches of various groceries in groups of three or more. Each match awards a small amount of cash which goes towards a running total on each of the 50+ levels. Levels are unlocked sequentially once a target amount of cash has been earned. Large amounts of cash well in excess of the target can also reward the player with an expert completion achievement. Chaining matches into cascades and matching numerous groceries simultaneously seems to attract a bonus although the exact nature of the scoring system is a bit cryptic and a full understanding of it is not necessarily vital to enjoyment of the game.
What tends to make the game more interesting than your standard match-3 puzzler are the never-ending streams of customers that appear in the bottom half of the playfield. Each type of customer has a different biography, and level of patience. The player needs to fulfil each customerís order by matching the specific type of groceries that appear on the customer portrait. Fulfil the orders quickly and then send the customer on their way for a bonus payout. This is where the big money is made, and itís hard to win the levels later in the game unless you pay attention to your customers. The Diva is especially impatient, and hard to please; she typically buys a lot. The businessman only pops in for a couple of items but wants to get on his way quickly also. Children appear on errands for their parents and only buy one item, but leave only a small tip. Elderly folk generally tend to pay frugally, but have a more patient streak. Itís fun, and kept me playing the game for much longer than I would have played an abstract match-3 game.
There are also various powerups that can appear randomly on the board. These include the shopping trolley that clears entire rows (and awards the groceries to the customers orders), wads of money that provide an immediate cash bonus and shopping bags that instantly fill one customerís order completely. Tokens earned on each level can be spent in between levels to upgrade products, powerups and store features. To a certain extent, the player can customise their play style and make the game as hard or easy as they want this way. The system works well in luring the player back for just one more level.
The sounds are good for such a simple game. Customers have individual sound clips for when they are starting to become impatient, and for when their order is successfully completed. The register beeps realistically and the clinking of coins as the customers settle their bills is satisfying. The artwork is pretty basic but not bad, and importantly the display is clear and tiles are easily distinguishable from each other.
Although the game is very basic in scope and serves as more of a timesink than anything else, the effort to make the game more than just a simple puzzler was appreciated. The game is much better suited to mobile gaming devices; itís hard to imagine that someone would play this game for an extended amount of time on a home PC. There are some annoyances that may stem from the fact that the game was designed for touch screen phones. The inability to click and drag tiles to create matches is the most apparent with the game requiring 2 clicks to make a match. Carpal tunnel anyone? Still, at the price point that the game is being offered at, itís hard not to recommend it. Fun and surprisingly addictive for a little, casual game.
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