There’s a reason some games manage to make it into the Switch’s eShop sale section at the seemingly criminally-low price of 35p. Little Shopping, from Ultimate Games, is just about the most basic of experiences you’re ever likely to find, not just on the Switch, but on any gaming system.
Of course, this is an educational game aimed at very, very small children. It’s a slim and short yet jolly experience set across four different shops: the grocery store, toy store, clothes shop and pets shop. You can select any of these from the beginning, though the gameplay in each is exactly the same. First, you’re presented with a shopping list on which are three items, each tied in with whatever the theme of the store is. Then, logically, you have to drag each of the three items into the shopping basket. Now, for some reason, even though this game does have touch screen controls, using it to drag the items into the basket is not possible, and this must instead be done by laboriously scrolling through all of the items on the shelves, then sliding them down towards the basket at the foot of the screen. Quite why there were no touch screen controls here when they are present on the main menu is bemusing.
Now, you’re onto part two of the shopping experience, and this is the easiest input of the lot. You find yourself at the checkout, and you must simply slide each of your three items across the checkout desk and past the scanner in order to run up a total, and in the process prompting the cashier to holler a loud ‘blah blah blah’. We reckon there must be something wrong with her; if you yelled ‘blah blah blah’ at an actual living human in an actual supermarket while you were working on the tills, we reckon you’d soon be finding yourself making a full-speed-ahead trip to psychiatry.
And you can even use the touch screen for this bit – it makes just as much logical sense as it did for step one in this shopping process, but yet that functionality is available here but not there. Go figure.
The third and final part of the shopping triad is perhaps the most tricky for small youngsters, as you must pay for your goods by using coins of values 1, 2 and 5 in order to meet the exact total of what you’ve bought. You can pay for any total here simply by pressing the one over and over again; the inconvenience of all of your unlimited change seemingly has no bearing whatsoever on the mood of the ‘blah blah blah’ cashier lady. She won’t let you go over your figure – clearly this game has no intention whatsoever of teaching children about the concept of change – but does count down how much money you have left to pay in an obnoxiously large speech bubble.
From there on, you just have to repeat the process for each of the three other shops and then you’re done with the game. Yes – this is a game you will have seen absolutely everything within five minutes. There are no further shops to unlock; and the game will just allow kids to replay each shop endlessly until all of their sanity has sapped and they are shunned from society forever. At 35p in a sale, you can’t really moan, but there’s nowhere near enough education or entertainment here to recommend a purchase.
Little Shopping £1.19
Little Shopping is a very bare experience, reflected in its price. It’s the price which saves it from the minimum score, as you can’t complain too much at 35p.