Time to head into the attic and clear out all your antique goodies, because we’re opening up an Antique store in Antique Shop. Play as an antique shop owner looking to raise money in order to search for ancient buried treasures. Sell lovely pieces of history, travel to exotic locales and even search for hidden objects in this fabulous mixed genre game.
Antique Shop is an interesting time management game with the additional elements of a hidden object game and an adventure game thrown in for spice. You begin the game following the story of a recent university graduate that’s looking to go on her first digging expedition but is crushed when she finds out that no one will hire her, even though she has a map to an ancient Greek treasure. So she decides to fund her own dig for the treasure by opening an antique store in New York City.
Your antique store experience is much like most time management games: your customers ask for an item, you provide it to them and they give you money. In this game though, you are required to move your customers over from the front door to the counter and then asked them what they would like. Also the main character doesn’t retrieve any of the items as that task is reserved for the shop attendants. The main character only retrieves money, asks about items and provides coffee.
Also, how each customer tells you what item they want is different for each item as they can tell you in pictures or words. Luckily your cursor can act as a subtle hint system for requests as it will highlight a they can tell you directly or ask you for general item like something in silver or paper.
Each level/day is measured by a timed clock and while these days don’t really have a goal, they do have a reputation meter. The meter is affected by your customers’ happiness levels which in turn are affected by how fast you serve them. Each customer has a happy face to indicate how satisfied they are and this face will change as they become impatience, until ultimately they leave. The higher your reputation meter is, the more stuff you’ll unlock for your store.
Store improvements and new items can be purchased between levels. Store improvements can help you towards your money and travel goals by helping you make more money on items and improving your shop attendants. New items in your store will increase the amount of money you can make in each day.
While there aren’t goals for each day, ultimately you are working towards a travel goal that will cost you lots of money. Before you can travel to look for your hidden treasure, you must answer four riddles by buying four objects out of several objects on your screen, paying for your trip and meeting a reputation requirement.
At the travel site, the game turns into a hidden object/adventure game that requires you to find a list of hidden objects in the scene and even use those riddle clues you bought in various ways in order to find your hidden treasure. There is a hint system that will highlight a hidden object for a price. Once you find your treasure, a new store location for you to purchase will appear as will a new travel location.
Antique Shop, when it comes to value for your money, is definitely on the mark. It took me 21 in-game days before I even traveled to my first destination, but I did fail to answer my riddles on several occasions. The addition of the hidden object and adventure game elements at the dig sites really made for a cool break from all the time management gameplay. The game even changes the store items up when you start a new game which is kind of a neat feature for those who like to replay their games over and over again.
The game could have lived without having to move your customers from the doorway to the counter. It just seemed pointless and one more thing to add to your already endless string of clicking. Also, the items that you have to pick from in the riddle section didn’t have any names, so if you didn’t know what you were looking at, it made it harder to answer the riddles. I wasted more money on wrong answers because I didn’t know what the object was I was clicking on.
The game’s musical tracks were different random, upbeat midi tracks that would just cycle through as you play the level. While in level graphics went for a more realistic 3D look, the beginning cartoon used to tell the story line used a more Walt Disney cartoon.
While most time management games tend to be pretty formulaic, Antique Shop adds in other game genre elements to break up that formula, and amazingly it works. I know not everyone is going to see all the addition elements as a bonus, especially considering the amount of time it can take to get to your first destination, but thankfully there is a 60-minute trial version available for those on the fence. I think veterans in the time management genre will love Antique Shop’s challenge and hidden object fans will love the chance to check out a new genre.