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When I first heard that Gamelab, the creators of my all-time favorite PC game to date “Diner Dash”, came out with a new game that incorporates RTS style, customer service action with a shopping theme, I thought my head would explode!

Shopmania is a sweet little story of Lewis and his beloved gerbil Gerry. Gerry has become very sick ( a collective awww) and Lewis doesn’t have enough money for his medication. You see, Lewis has fallen into the materialistic “need it, want it, gotta have it now! trap- having spent all his money at the mega – big box “Spendmoore” department store. So his only option is to get a job there and work his way up the ladder in order to earn his mean boss’s respect .

Your goal is to fill shopping carts with items of different Tetris-like shapes, sizes, and colors all coming out of a conveyor belt (think I Love Lucy in the chocolate factory). You must do this fast enough to keep the shoppers happy and increase the totals so you meet the sales quota for that round. When you have met all the requirements for all 10 rounds you move up to different floors in the mall. Each of the floors has it’s own theme,
From Fashion, Toys, Housewares, to Garden, and Luxury, each new look gives the game a fresh new feel for every level, kinda like Flo’s different restaurants in “Diner Dash 2”.

Unlike DD2 though, customer types don't really play as an important role in aiding you to pass and complete each level, with the exception of the very impatient old lady. I kinda miss that little uniqueness about the people.

You are given 3 chances to please the customers or you’re out in each level, after 3 strikes you must start that level over. Strikes can happen for a number of reasons- upset, impatient customers who leave if you take too long, they will also get upset if you don’t give them what they came to buy, as well as earning a strike for items falling off the conveyor belt. Conveyor belts speed up at higher levels.Shopmania brilliantly adds a new spin to the “click and drag, fill cart, make customer happy” concept, by making the player multitask. For example, sometimes a customer is content with a full cart while another customer would like a special requested item , while yet another customer would like his/her cart full of all the same color . These are known within the game as color bonuses, and full cart bonuses, and better still full cart/ full color bonuses! Are you getting excited yet?

You are rewarded for going the extra mile and holding out to challenge yourself with fulfilling these requests, the game will help you “bribe/distact/hypnotize” the shopper with sweets and/or wrapped presents. The better you play, the more you are rewarded mid level with bigger shopping carts and as we all know ladies and gentlemen Size Matters!

I liked the fun graphics , they will give you an “Old Navy” happy shopping feeling. The sound effects are quirky and funny (even though you might soon tire of the Spenndmooore! chant.)

Even though I loved the game, it never gave me the warm feelings for the main character Lewis like I had for Flo in Diner Dash. I feel like a louse for saying that however-it’s like a parent picking their favorite child-you love them both for different reasons. (Another collective awww) I didn’t feel drawn into the storyline or Lewis’s plight either. I did fall in love with Gerry the gerbil however! But that might be because Gerry helps you out in some pretty tight spots (literally) at times. You’ll see what I mean once you play a few rounds, I will leave it up to your imagination until then, but keep it clean people, this is a family game!

The gameplay is addictive because it is constantly changing it’s basic premise. It isn’t your run of the mill RTS , it is a puzzle game as well. Pure Genius! Bravo Gamelab Bravo. It also works so well because Shopmania never gets too difficult, but it also never lets you get too comfortable by being non-challenging.

So my fellow gamers Spendmoore, Playmore, and Enjoy!
And remember in the PC game world the mall never closes!

I give it the blue light special!! an A !!

Nab it while supplies lasts!

Get Shopmania Here

Graphics B
Sound C
Pickup & Play B
Overall Fun B+

Posted by oxyjen on Sep 23, 2006


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