Only in America can you buy car tires, underwear, plastic flamingoes, and bean burritoes in the same shop. It’s a cultural phenomenon known as the “Megastore.” Offering dirt cheap prices (and cheap imports), these megastores manage to make themselves a regular part of our weekend to-do list. Megastore Madness is a time management game that lets you play manager at one of these one-stop-shops.

After finishing college, you we’re hoping to spend three months loafing about at home. Your parents have other ideas, however, and they go jaunting off to the Cayman Islands while leaving you in charge of the family’s Megastore. It’s your job to keep the store running smoothly throughout their absence.

Managing the Megastore is straightforward. Stockboys keep the shelves stocked. Click the item on the conveyor, and then on the highlighted empty spot to replace bought items. Sometimes a character will leave an item laying around the store. Click on it, and then on the highlighted space to put it back on the shelf. Certain customers require special assistance to find objects. Click on them to send an assistant to help, and then direct them to the item they want. To collect cash, click the money on the counter and the cashier will ring up the customer.

If a customer is kept waiting too long, they will glow red, and you will lose money. When things are getting really hectic, you can hit the “sales” button. This temporarily prevents customers from getting angry, and can only be used again when you’ve made an additional $5000 profit.

A sloppy store will result in loss of profits, so you must promptly clean up messes. Occasionally, a thief will try his luck. Once he’s lifted an item, click on him to send the guard his way before he leaves the store.

As far as time management games go, Megastore Madness is a fairly easy to learn, with relatively few surprises or power-ups along the way. However, this is also its weak point. The levels don’t change very much, other then involving more customers, shelves, shop assistants and aesthetic upgrades like different floors and plant decorations. Customers always pick the same items, with the men buying tvs, ladies buying lamps, little girls buying teddy bears and teenagers buying boomboxes. It becomes very easy to predict what will happen next.

Upgrades are automatically given to you, and this overall lack of variety leads to very little replay value across the game’s 45 levels. Similarly, there is no real strategy involved, which limits players from challenging themselves for better scores.

While the theme is interesting, and the graphics are somewhat cute and colorful, there isn’t enough depth in the game play to keep experienced players interested for longer than a few rounds. Megastore Madness would really have benefited from few more powerups, or some good chaining action to keep things from feeling monotonous.