Jess10 | Added on: November 12, 2009
If you happen to be in the market for another match game yet can't seem to find any with original themes, this game might be just what you're looking for. On the surface, I was charmed. The holiday theme and music was refreshing and I was fully ready to enjoy this. This made my disappointment all the more acute. If you aren't bothered by my impressions below then you'll probably find this game a very fun little free time casual. This game is essentially kid friendly. You might have fun playing it with them, but ... you guys might get bored. I personally wouldn't want my kids playing this game as it revolves around the idea of selling Luxury Items for the Holidays. GAMEPLAY -- You match balls. What can I say? The only difference between this and any other match game mechanic is that Gift Shop utilizes the "scroll and group" (which is actually a lot easier, IMHO). If you love this gameplay, Gift Shop provides both relaxed and expert mode. You can match away over and over to your heart's content. In that sense, yes, excellent replay value. CONTENT & THEME -- I was really looking forward to a holiday themed gift shop simulation/puzzle game. It's not. It bills itself in the full description as a puzzler with a "combination of colorful matching and exciting strategy." I found this misleading. Sliding things into groups requires no strategy at all, so, I kept waiting for the next kind of puzzle to appear. There isn't any. Plus, the requirements and achievements you need to fulfill are so easy, I never once even bothered to think about them. The phrase "...as you slide shiny ornaments into place and sell fabulous gifts to busy shoppers" gave me the impression we would be required to do at least two separate activities, which is not the case. Even in Coffee Rush (which this game is somewhat like), the matching and "making" varies slightly with what orders are required. In Gift Shop there is no such variation. There is nothing more required of you than to stock more expensive gifts between levels and fill the match limit during play, thereby "selling" the gift you set as your sale between levels. My "refreshing charm" with the theme was also quickly, mercilessly tarnished by the holiday theme being, IMHO, ruined by the gifts themselves. I would have preferred wrapping gifts, baking treats, or making toys. Instead, you match glass balls (and only glass balls) to "sell" expensive luxuries like Camcorders, Butler Robots, and Hot Tubs, complete with price tags. I found this to be extremely tacky and ruin the mood. Without this design gaff, I might have overlooked how bored I got with the game later.