Circle Entertainment is a prolific publisher on the 3DS eShop. They specialise in bringing short, quirky games from the East to gamers in the West. Their previous titles have been hit and miss in the quality department but there have been some standout titles that deserve recognition such as Mercenary Saga 2.
Their latest release is Conveni Dream, a title fit for making me want to send my auto-correct somewhere to the depths of hell. As you may have guessed, it’s a simulation game based around a convenience store where you build your little shop into something big.
Something that Conveni Dream instantly reminded me of was Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story and its brethren: A minimalistic simulation game with a cutesy art style, hooking the player on addictive, if meaningless game play.
Without much fanfare upon opening the game, you’re thrusted into a tutorial. It’s really very intrusive to be honest, often explaining a lot of information very quickly via abrasive boxes that pop in and out instantly. It sounds like a minor complaint but it really was rather jaunting, especially because when the box flicks off, you assume you’re about to do just what was explained, but no, instead another box pops up to explain something else, giving you just a brief look at the game playing in the background.
Once that’s over, however, the game really opens up and you’re given free reign just about. Being a store simulator you won’t be surprised to know that your duties include: Hiring staff, stocking shelves, cleaning, warding off unsavoury customers, keeping up staff morale and of course, making lots of money.
And make money you will. Conveni Dream is an easy, laid back game. The tutorial warns you that losing too much money will result in a game over, but I didn’t come close to making a loss, never mind getting in debt.
The main element of Conveni Dream is keeping up with stock, once the game gets into its groove you’ll be constantly be restocking the more popular items. At the Opening of your store you only have access to installing a shelf, refrigerator and a drinks cooler. Each of these can stock different items from each other. For example shelves will store bread and non-perishables, while refrigerators will store freshly made products. As you level up your store you will increase the amount of equipment and products you’re able to sell. Naturally you can’t keep your pokey little starting store forever, so it won’t be long until you can make it bigger and bigger, allowing for more capacity and staff. You’ll be constantly upgrading your things once the game gets into its flow.
While playing the game you will often get little missions such as “greet 50 customers”, “Deal with 10 drunkards” and so on that you can aim for . With these you can gain extra experience and extra cash. Unfortunately you don’t have to go out of your way to do them as they all come naturally when playing the game, so they don’t feel like achievements. They have less meaning than they could have.
To add a little variety to the working days, you’ll come across seasonal “Campaigns” whereby certain goods are more popular than others due to certain events happening. This is one of the reasons that makes the game so easy as your assistant will tell you which stock will be popular, meaning you can earn tonnes of money instantly. I wouldn’t normally complain about a game being too easy, but I think it would be nice if it was just a tad more challenging.
Alongside juggling stock levels, you’ll have to occasionally deal with three types of dodgy customers that pop into your store. They consist of thieves who will steal a whole shelf’s worth of goods, drunk people and enraged customers who will bring the appeal of your shop down. Dealing with them is very easy although each of them is dealt with in slightly different ways. Basically you just need to tap on them while they show their true colours. The thief will reveal himself after the goods have been taken and he will become purple, tapping on them will allow a clerk of yours to stop them, forcing them to pay for what they have stolen. Drunk people are a little more hassle as you need to tap on them three times before they will finally leave the store. The raging customers will stomp around the store for a while before finally glowing red and allowing you to tap on them to leave. It’s hardly the most taxing task, even later on when your store can become chaotically crowded your workers are usually on the ball and deal with it without any input from the player.
I must say that Conveni Dream is curiously addictive. It’s excellent in the fact it’s a complete time waster, most of the time you’re playing semi-consciously, only vaguely aware of what you’re doing. I was enjoying it too. Going back to Kairosoft games, it’s has almost exactly the same effect. If you want to mindlessly waste up a few moments here and there, it’s a highly useful game.
The presentation is fairly decent, although the menus could have used better icons so you know exactly what you’re tapping on before you give it a try. Graphically it does the job, it’s colourful and appealing, minimalistic which suits the “light-simulation” genre. I did notice a few localisation issues with bad grammar and odd phrasing but nothing too off putting. The music can get a little grating after hearing the same track on loop over and over again, but to give it credit, it does change once in a while and the tunes themselves are quite decent.
Overall I don’t think Conveni Dream is a particularly great game. It lacks in challenge, meaning and depth, but that doesn’t stop it from being an excellent time sink. It’s a cheap and cheerful experience that can help say goodbye to a decent amount of hours. It’s honestly very mindless, but addictive.
– Excellent time waster
– A little too easy
– Tutorial is annoying