Supermarket Mania doesn’t mark the first time that game developers have headed to your local Asda/Tesco/Morrisons (delete as applicable) as inspiration for a game.
If you have a really long memory, you might even remember a ZX Spectrum game called Super Trolley, published after a request on Jim’ll Fix It, that actually trod much of the same ground that we see here. Supermarket Mania, in principle, isn’t much different to that game. But it is quicker. It is more devilish. And it is a lot more fun.
The game sees you as a supermarket shelf stacker, with some hokum plot that sees you taking on levels on the way to working at a really big shop. The idea is to keep the shelves filled, the rubbish off the floor, the customers happy, the thieves away and the loyalty card points filed.
Actually that last bit’s a lie, but the rest of it is the basis of the game and it proves to be extremely frantic. It’s all controlled via the mouse, as you click on the cabinet or display you need to restock. Your own trolley can only hold so much, so you also need to occasionally go back to the storeroom to refill, and just managing all of this alone will keep you busy. Fortunately you can click ahead, so that your trolley-filler will know their next steps, but when the shop starts filling up it can be murder to keep track of what’s what.
Things, though, become further complicated. First, you can start investing in upgrades for your store, which generally allow you to increase revenue – or prevent revenue loss. The latter is important, because as the game progresses you’re also going to have to keep an eye on the tealeaves who try to rob you, which introduces security personnel as well and, as you’d suspect, things then become even busier and more testing.
The levels are wisely kept short and snappy, and much though you may be sceptical of the concept, it’s hard not to be drawn in. Supermarket Mania is an easy game to pick up and play and, certainly in the early days, it’s a hard one to put down. Its charms aren’t limitless, as the simple single-screen concept does eventually tire, but it’s still a faithful friend to have on the desktop when you’ve got ten minutes to kill.
Company: Focus Multimedia