Billy Goat Entertainment Ltd (studio)
11 June 2019 (released)
24 June 2019
One of the strangest titles to emerge from E3 is the supermarket themed crazed train of screaming, Supermarket Shriek. Supermarket Shriek falls under the category of games which revolve around driving around environments, completing challenges but with a unique and surreal twist to the formula. So an example of this genre would be the spinning Limonene theme title Roundabout from 2014.
Supermarket Shriek is quintessential of British humour; something like Blackadder or The Young Ones (if it were set in various supermarkets). The quirky insanity and over the top nature to an everyday scenario is fascinating if done right, otherwise it can be rather obnoxious. Can Supermarket Shriek implement the insane idea of using screams to drive a shopping trolley around while causing carnage fun?
Supermarket Shriek is a heart-breaking tale of economic ruin (yes there are themes about it) and the journey of one man and a goat trying to survive. Or something like that, the story doesn’t matter when the gameplay is the main highlight! As both the timid man and goat traverse a rundown high-street (which acts as the hub world for the game), their main goal is to infiltrate a number of supermarkets which satirically represent real like ones in the UK and cause as much damage as possible with a shopping trolley. The only way to control the trolley is by screaming with either the man or goat.
For example with an Xbox controller, you’ll use the triggers of the controller to make either the man or goat scream/shriek and this moves the cart. So screaming from either side turns the cart and making them both scream moves the cart forward. You drive around various arenas aka the supermarkets and shops to complete various objectives which usually amount to racing, destroying stock and even the odd shopping challenge here and there.
Supermarket Shriek is extremely colourful, weird and inventive with an interesting mechanic for the core gameplay. Taking control of a man and a goat as they control a shopping cart by screaming/shrieking is very strange but none the less very inventive. Then having to complete weird tasks in places known as Bean-Land, Pidl and the Fish Bucket has a certain charm to it.
There’s plenty of content with a wide selection of locations to venture and the arenas expand in detail, change up the aesthetics and contain plenty of hidden rewards. Supermarket Shriek will give you a few hours of fun with its manic campaign and it keeps the gameplay fresh throughout with inventive challenges and fun arena designs. Although the overall campaign is not very long and to be honest, there could’ve been more setups that used the core mechanic effectively.
While Supermarket Shriek has a concept which is neat, there is a certain problem which holds it back. Namely it’s the controls which can be an issue.
So you’re controlling a shopping trolley and if you know anything about shopping trollies, you know they’re not fun to drive in real life. The controls aren’t bad but they are difficult to grasp and even downright tedious when it comes to the bigger levels later in the game. You can do the low and steady thing by turning and moving very carefully in order to complete some levels. But many of them are timed and require you to learn as quickly as possible. After an hours with the game I did manage well enough but I believe the issue is turning and moving. It can be rather disjointed and for the manic events, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re doing. Then have to start the event from the very beginning again.
Supermarket Shriek has an interesting idea for the core mechanic but it’s one that handles like a shopping trolley, awkward, a little annoying but you can grasp it enough to progress onward. It wouldn’t be so bad if the game wasn’t so demanding and a bit of grind to progress to the later levels.
But the multiplayer is surprisingly entertaining and maybe this is because the awkward controls and restriction on movement make it a rush in some ways. Having to battle through a difficult control scheme with another person is just laughable and in the end quite enjoyable for how absurd it gets.
Supermarket Shriek has a neat idea and executes it well enough, but later stages become slightly tedious due to the accuracy needed for completion. Plus the scale of the levels can be too big for the clunky driving mechanics. The controls require patience to grasp them and the issue is turning and moving. But if your one to take your time and in certain stages, this is not a big problem. It’s difficult to remain accurate with the controls at hand, but at the same time it’s still a fun and very creative method of movement (even if the novelty of screaming does were off after an hour or so). It’s the more complicated events which wears the controls down, whereas the non-timed sections and even multiplayer are a heap fun when you get a hang of things.
++ Neat concept for driving
+ Colourful, imaginative and fun
- Controls are awkward for the later, more manic stages of the game
- Progression can be a grind