Shop-N-Spree: Family Fortune is a great sequel with fresh new departments
Shop-N-Spree: Family Fortune is a wonderful follow-up to the original Shop-n-Spree, a game that blended time management and hidden object gameplay and tasked the player with running the local family department store. Family Fortune expands to three locations with fun new departments offering plenty of new merchandise to hunt for.
Like the first game, the goal is to sell a certain amount of merchandise to earn stars with which to open new departments, and later, whole new stores. Each level takes place in one of your store’s departments, such as Bakery & Desserts, Living Room & Kitchen, or Electronic Appliances, and items are themed accordingly. Customers arrive at the bottom of the screen with shopping lists (such as a wooden table, ceramic vase, and bottle of water), and you must find the items and drag them onto the customer.
Family Fortune offers two modes that cater to whether you’re more of a time management fan or a hidden object gamer. Timed mode is tailored to fans of fast-paced clicking, with conventional time management goals such as needing to earn a certain amount of money by the end of the day, and the ability to aim for Expert goals. If you come from more of a hidden object background, you can play Untimed mode, which allows you to takes as much time as you need to reach the sales goal without any time pressure.
The gameplay and appearance of Family Fortune is very similar to that of the original Shop-n-Spree, which, trust us, is a good thing. The game is fast-paced and fun, with hundreds of items thoughtfully and cleverly arranged in each department.
You’ll start out in a suburban department store, whose setting will be familiar if you’ve played the first game. But from there you’re off to two very different new locations, each with their own unique departments. The Beach store, for example, offers seafood, beach fashion and tropical gardening, while the Snowy store has departments for winter sports and Christmas decorations.
Customers have different personalities that affect what they ask for and how they behave. Some are impatient and don’t like to be kept waiting. One type of customer, for example, always asks for the same item in as many different colors as you can find. There are color bonuses, too. For example, if a customer is wearing red and asks for a pillow, you’ll get a bonus if you give her a red pillow.
Every so often you’ll get to play a quality control minigame before the store opens, which involves finding broken items and removing them from the scene. There are eight other minigames, too, all variations on spot the difference or finding the odd item out. These minigames are optional, but you can earn extra hints and stars if you manage to beat them.
The only downside is that the story is completely forgettable, which really is a shame since titles like Ranch Rush have proven that there’s room for a good story in time management games. Gameplay-wise, however, Shop-N-Spree: Family Fortune is just as fun as the first game, with enough new departments and items to feel fresh. Give this hidden object/time management hybrid a chance and download the demo – I doubt you’ll regret it.