Profitville, like many other towns in America (and no doubt elsewhere), are experiencing the “mega mart” pinch – a huge, do-it-all store with dirt-cheap prices that is single-handedly shutting down mom and pop stores one by one. We don’t need to name names, but we all know which corporation we’re dealing with here. Ahem.
And so it’s your job to save these smaller stores in the fictitious town of Profitville, a new casual game from savvy developer Myth People.
Similar to other “conveyor belt” factory games, such as Teddy Factory or Recyclorama – where you must click on objects and place them in the right spot before the items reach the end of the line — Profitville has you packing objects into boxes for shipment, with the goal to raise as much money as possible. Every ten levels or so players move from one type of store (such as furniture) to another (e.g. fashion). Products are of course relevant to the type of store it is, such as die, roulette wheels and poker chips in the casino store to skateboards, dumbbells and baseball bats in the sports store.
The game-play works as follows. Conveyor belts with these products pour out of the left-hand side of the screen and you must click to pick them up and drop them into the correct boxes on the right. In the sports store, for example, you may see a box with a silhouette of a tennis racket and a number (such as 3), which means you must drop three tennis rackets into this box before shipping it off. You get a chaining bonus for clicking on all three rackets in a row instead of one at a time.
Items that are broken, such as a cracked bat, must be dumped into the Recycling container. You can chain these items, as well, but oddly you don’t get a cash bonus for doing so (which is more difficult than dumping them one at a time).
A half-dozen power-ups appear from time to time to help aid in your quest. One might be a magnet that automatically (and temporarily) pulls the right products into the appropriate box or another might be a stop sign that, when clicked, halts the conveyor belt. A third might highlight all of the same items on the screen to help you better organize which products go where.
Another aid are some machines that appear at the bottom of the screen. You can earn new machines as you advance throughout the game, I didn’t really use these much at all, though, but they do things such as repair broken items or pack all the boxes for you, and so on.
A few beefs with Profitville: For one, it’s pretty easy; I was down to the last store within less than three hours of play (at least you can unlock the secondary Survival mode, which is equally as fun). Another issue is that some of the broken items, such as the green chair in the furniture store, don’t look broken, which can either waste your time when you accidentally click on it or even cost you one of your limited “strikes” by trying to pack it into the wrong box. A related problem is that if you accidentally click on the wrong item, say the third roulette wheel, which turns out to be broken, and right-mouse click to nullify the click, it deselects all previous items that are highlighted instead of just the last one. Finally, the game also made a error when I received an award for “20 Consecutive Levels Without Making a Mistake,” but I did make a mistake or two on the previous level.
Profitville is one of those games that seems very polished on the onset but is marred by many little annoyances that tend to add up in the end. It’s still an above-average micromanagement game you can sink your mouse into, but a few more weeks or months of testing could’ve eliminated a number of these small issues.