In Cake Mania: Main Street, there’s a character known as the Politician. I only know him as Stephen Colbert. How about you?
I mean, look at it. You have the suit, the hair, and the cocked eyebrow.
This is old news, as this game has been out for several years, but I’m trying to increase internet awareness, even if only a little.
This review is a long time coming because I had to muster up the courage to actually admit to playing these games.
They came free (big surprise) from Gamehouse, so, being the time management fiend that I am, I decided to try them. They look the same from the outside; both are second instalments of very easy-sounding games and feature peppy, blonde protagonists. After playing, they’re a world apart.
The least disappointing of the two was Supermarket Mania 2. I recommend this to very young children who love time management. It’s actually hard not to do poorly at this. Anyone who watches television wouldn’t be surprised at the competition slant, one that ended up confusing me because the characters in the game aren’t actually on a show in the game’s script. They’re just overly competitive about selling basic necessities to people, which confused me even more. The biggest thing to happen in the game are the moves to new locations and the occasional visits from spoiled celebrities who throws fits when their temper fizzes out.
There are some pretty cool upgrades you can “buy” throughout the game, some of which do more than others. The security camera to help prevent theft does nothing, but I appreciated GLaDOS’ pretty face looking over the customers. The floor sweeper upgrade is by far my favourite, as it creeped me out the first time the “automatic” upgrade was used.
This fairly simple game is filled with day-to-day annoyances that might happen to the typical retail/customer service employee. The biggest annoyance, albeit slightly realistic, is the mother who continues to lose her child and stands there looking stupid rather than walking around to look for him. Maybe this does happen in real life. Or maybe I expect pre-programmed people to have common sense.
Either way, this game runs very smoothly and is very addictive. In short, it’s a boring win-win.
Supermarket Management 2 sounds like the same thing, and it is—but it’s really not! The basic premise is the same: keep the stocks shelved so you can keep customers happy and buy upgrades. The difficulty level, however is so much higher. As a matter of fact, I found it difficult to get past the first third of the game until I returned after a harrowing day of working retail at Christmastime. Or maybe I’m stupid.
The biggest difference between this game and the one just reviewed above is that you are actually managing a grocery store, rather than stocking shelves and running errands on your own. You can hire employees for every station of the store (if you have enough money), resolve any issues that come up with the customers, and replace employees who are randomly out sick throughout the game.
Other annoyances include the repetitive sound effects of customers trying to call your attention to them, the various glitches that occur (see left), the poorly edited story, and that idiot dancing bunny in the upper righthand corner.
Through all the madness, you’ll have much more fun with these customers than any other game I’ve encountered. Much of my time was spent either yelling at them or reeling at their creepy laughs.
I’m so glad I can finally get these games off my computer.
This post is a long time coming because I actually finished this game in the summer. However, it was such a disappointment that I didn’t care to say anything about it. Wait, that’s not true. I genuinely forgot because my praises were few.
I’ve played Miriel The Magical Merchant, its predecessor, in its sample online, and, from what I saw, all of its good qualities are quite similar to Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery. The sequel, though, I got to finish. Boy, do I regret it.
If you seek a repetitive game with very little payoff, this one’s for you. The transition between levels is supposed to follow a story line, and I was disappointed to find our heroine doesn’t travel to every location listed on the map. There seem to be no rhyme or reason between the 3-4 levels (I honestly forget how many levels there were) besides a mystery about some egg or ring or… I don’t even care. The story is that Miriel must collect so many items to help a king get back his crown/scepter/shields/blankey/girlfriend’s phone number. Some of this is done with a hidden object game that was surprisingly fun for what it was. (If you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of hidden object games unless you give me an I Spy book. Now, those are always some enjoyably frustrating times.)
I shouldn’t be complaining; it was a free download and there were some really great features.
The music is absolutely my favorite part. It does have a sense of mystery and enchantment in it, and an oddly new-age score to one world that would be Steampunk if Steampunk culture took place on a desert planet. The cello theme for the merchant from which Miriel(you) buys goodies is easy to jam to.
This merchant isn’t too bad on the eyes, either. The gameplay is very smooth with no glitches that I could see, and even if it got challenging enough not to pass a level it was still fun. You can choose your own upgrades and, if you’re lazy, even win a level without collecting all the gold customers leave on the table.
I only wish I were interested enough to continue the game; when Miriel solves the mystery and order is restored, there’s an option to continue playing the game. I took this option for a while, thinking there might be something better in the payoff, but soon lost patience. I’m not interested in playing Miriel the Magical Merchant, which is a shame because a game–especially a time management game–shouldn’t be judged by its sequel.
I’m only slightly embarrassed to have played and finished this game. Time management and similar simulation games feel great for my brain. Putting together a series of tasks under a time limit organizes my mind.
I was excited to find out there was a sequel to Jessica’s Cupcake Cafe by Gamers Digital, Inc. JCC is, by far, one of those great games that doesn’t get much limelight. As, in my experience, sequels of games tend to be basically the same with some improvements, I was hoping Jessica’s Bow Wow Bistro for PC would be fantabulous. If you have a dog and want to spoil it with homemade treats, you might want to get this game for the real recipes it has. Otherwise, meh.
Like its predecessor, JBWB has a well-polished art style and the same cute music. (Very much the same auditory experience.) The handle on actions are smooth, loading times are pretty fast, and sound effects are cute and not annoying (unlike Cake Mania). However, I felt there were little improvements. There were many changes in the overall game-play and planning of sequences, but were they for the better?
The goal is the same: serve doggy treats to make money; make a certain amount of money to beat the current level; beat all the levels to reach the game’s end. Unlike JCC, I was disappointed to find I couldn’t change the design of the treats. Sometimes, though, this was a plus because the planning of the level became more of a challenge when I had to obey the directions; some baking machines could only process certain shapes or colors of goodies, rendering a dink in any plans to do well for the current level. Nevertheless, I was able to get through everything with a Gold reward (minus just one level out of fifty where I wasn’t paying attention).
Also unlike the original, the way Miss Jessica accepted payments was a bit annoying. Originally, if ever a line of people waiting to pay, she could check out all of them with one click of the cash register. In JBWB, one has to click on each individual person. This was a pain, but the creators might have wanted to promote the power-up that calls the doggy-helper.
In this game, Jessica is accompanied by her dog, which serves customers for her if she collects enough money. This pet can be called multiple times, as he gets his energy from customers’ money (that’s the way I read it, anyway). This feature comes in handy when you need to spend time baking more of the treats that have run out. My pet peeve (ha, ha) about this is that he doesn’t serve every type of food, nor does he collect money. When annoyed with the dog, other power-ups came in handy.
Included power-ups are: a heart button, which keeps customers from getting cranky at delays; a shoe button, which gives Jessica faster speed; a fast-forward button, which speeds up appliances; a food button, which refills treat trays without having to cook anything; and a money button, which doubles the cost of any money you collect while the feature is running. These power-ups, like the server dog, have limited time-spans, so one must find out which is best to use when. Ideal times may be different from every person.
Power-ups are the way to go, as appliance and decor updates don’t really do much for the productivity. The one appliance update I would swear by is the biscuit-maker. The number of shapes it produces increases with each purchase.
Two other, hilarious features are fleas and poop (see image below). An assistant is hired to clean all of this, as having an obstacle in the way keeps a customer from appearing in that spot ever again, but she’s not needed. Those spots for customers aren’t needed, unless you happen to be OCD about your game-play. The money rolls in well enough even when you’re down to two customer spots at the end of a level. I appreciate the thought, though, my dear Gamers Digital.
The payoff for all of this? Not very much at all. It follows along the story line, but I think the writers of this could have done a better job of making it exciting. At least at the end. Give us something for that time.
The game, as a whole, wasn’t a challenge, but it did give me that inexplicable bloodrush that happens when I play these types of games. I probably won’t revisit this particular game for that rush. JCC and other greener pastures await.
This game is perfect for people under 12 who might not be able to think as well under pressure.