Computer games initially served as a fun way to unwind after a long day at work or school, and were largely fantasy-based since they gave us a temporary escape from reality. Ironically, some of the hottest games today put you to work in a frantic environment, such as a waitress in Diner Dash. Who knew playing a game about 9 to 5 life would be fun after our real 9 to 5 job?
And Puzzle Labs’ Posh Shop is no different. In this clever – but not too original – clothing store simulation, you must help shoppers complete outfits to make your daily sales quota. You start off in a summer collection store, move onto a jeans shop (Denim House), and so on an so forth. As articles of clothing roll out onto a conveyor belt you must click on items and pair them up with others to complete the requested ensemble. For example, in the first store you’ll begin pairing a tank top with a skirt, and then move onto three items such as a khaki vest, white shirt and cargo pants. If the items fall down into the stockroom you’re penalized with some cash taken off your daily tally.
The game will help you out by simultaneously matching other outfits on the screen with the same articles of clothing, even though you’re only dragging and dropping one on top of the other. This help to create two or three outfits in one move, which then disappears to help make way for more clothing. Perform well and you’ll be rewarded with a temporary bag of cash on the conveyor belt which you can click on quickly for a bonus.
At the end of each day you’ll find out how well (or poorly) you did. Assuming it’s the former, you can use your earned cash to purchase new outfits at your store or decorate the inside of it with furnishings such as comfy couches, mirrors, lamps and other goodies customers will like – many will give you bonuses and power-ups, too.
Every few levels or so players will be treated to a mini-game of sorts – not unlike 3-in-a-row puzzlers such as Bewejeled. But instead of swapping gems on the screen to create a vertical or horizontal row of at least three of the same items, it’s an “accessories” game so you’ll be swapping shoes, glasses, bags and purses to create a match.
Another fun exercise in Posh Shop is at the end of each store, where you’re asked to put clothes away back onto the shelves. Basically this mini-game is a kind of “seek-and-find” challenge where you must locate all the listed items hidden in the store.
But truth be told, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of dÃ©jÃ vu while playing Posh Shop. Yes, the clothing component is somewhat original – and I like all the different types of stores you can unlock, the ability to buy items at the end of the day and the mini-games – but the main game-play is very similar to other “assembly” games on conveyor belts, such as Teddy Factory or Recyclorama.
Another minor beef is the somewhat lengthy load times at the start of each new store. Perhaps the game makers didn’t want players to think there was something wrong during this lag so they put “Stocking Shelves” on the screen instead of “Loading.” Fortunately, it doesn’t take away from the game at all. Finally, it would’ve been great if the developers added a secondary mode to play other than the main campaign.
Shortcomings aside, Posh Shop is a solid B-grade game that attempts to take an existing formula and add a few bells and whistles – and they succeed for the most part.