This one came out of nowhere, and truth be told, despite the occasional issue, I’m rather glad it did. The premise sounds like the start of a bad joke; being that it’s a shopping kart racer in which a man and a goat find themselves intertwined as they navigate a range of obstacle courses and challenges throughout. I mean, it’s silly, but it fits. There’s no real story present, nor is there any interesting plot structure for that matter. Instead, this is one of those games that just wants you to sit back and have a hoot, and that you can certainly do.
The game takes it setting from England. There’s several shop-based levels spread across an English street, levels that consist of the sort of flavor you would expect. Timed Runs, for example, sees you bolting it round a shop as quickly as possible whilst avoiding masses of swinging axes, floor traps, puddles, and so forth. Perhaps you fancy something more structured? Spill the Beans has you smashing as many stacks of tinned beans as you can, and as quickly as you can, before heading to the checkout to tally in your current score. Simples.
Then there’s the Grand Prix, a mode in which you’ll chase a meat wagon through the shop in an attempt to beat it to the till. My personal favorite was a mode that had me completing a shopping list before heading to the exit. If I haven’t made it clear enough already, Supermarket Shriek is a combination of modes that see you doing various things in and round a shopping center. This game may not be the most original game on the block, but it most definitely utilizes its content well, despite some glaring drawbacks with its handling.
We’ll get to that shortly though. Participating in the game’s several races will see you earning a set amount of stars based on your run, with how well you ran also charted on a leaderboard. There’s a bunch of cosmetic wares that you can unlock and equip through putting in the time and effort, and although this does nothing to alter the fields of play, it’s fun dressing the protagonist in clothes that make him look even weirder. That, and I suppose it bolsters the replay value to some degree, if indeed that’s what you enjoy chasing.
In regards to the game’s longevity, there’s a healthy selection of races and tracks to take to, offering up hours worth of fun as a result. Whilst some may fall off the proverbial bandwagon before max-completion, I believe the game has enough grip to justify its cost. That said, I should point out that the game is readily available in Xbox Game Pass, so perhaps you would be wise giving it a go whilst it’s covered. Either way, that, ladies and gents, is the aim of the main event – short, varied, and plentiful bouts of shop carnage.
When you’re done on the street, a party mode awaits. This allows for up to eight players to pile in their trolleys and race for supremacy. The aim of play here is to get a strong lead ahead of your opposition. Doing so will net you a point, with victory dished out to the player that earns three points in total. That may sound simple on paper, but in practice, it’s surprisingly fun – though, isn’t that usually the case with basic concepts? I daresay that’s how to best describe Supermarket Shriek; short, simple, no-BS fun. There’s issues, mind.
Drawing back to the controls, I’m on the fence. The game sees you using both triggers to control the trolley’s speed, and then has you steering the trolley through holding just a single trigger – LT to turn left, and RT to turn right. That sounds totally doable, but believe me, it’s a lot more legwork than it’s worth. This scheme makes it hard to remain accurate and precise, especially when moving at fast speed, and even more so when you’re met with a sharp turn and find that you don’t quite have the flexibility of thumbstick movement.
Further to that, the man lets out an annoyingly unbearable noise whenever you utilize a specific command, and although funny at first, it doesn’t half grate before long. To make matters a little more complex, you’re able to play the game in co-op; one player controlling the LT function, and another controlling RT. Now, at very best, this is a novelty and little else. It’s neat at first, but then you’re likely to pack it in and rarely make a return. Bottom line is, it would have been nice to see more focus put to the default scheme, because it does drag.
In regards to progression, the game does a good job at pacing its content through making you graft to access locked areas – demanding a set amount of stars before you can continue. It’s a system we’ve seen time and time again in games of this kind, and it works just as well here as it does anywhere else. The game’s difficulty is well set too, giving you a gradual but firm challenge across all of its offered content. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be angered, you’ll be delighted, but for the most part, you’ll not regret the time that you put in here.
The game’s visual and audio presentation is quite nice. There’s a lot of detail across the board, with sharp and vibrant textures throughout. I can extend the same level of appreciation to the game’s audio work (outside of that hellish wail) putting forward a fresh, funky, upbeat soundtrack to tie everything together. Whilst Supermarket Shriek isn’t going to be winning any awards any time soon, it’s most certainly up there with the fun-filled indies that have released in recent memory, and an easy one to comfortably recommend.
Supermarket Shriek has enough varied content to keep you entertained for a few hours at a time, and although its control scheme is fairly hit and miss and tends to annoy, this is one kart racer you shouldn’t pass by. It’s outlandish, it’s crazy, and it’s relatively daft, but then, that’s the whole point. This game doesn’t take itself seriously at all, it merely wants you to sit back and enjoy, and despite its faults, it achieves what it set out to accomplish.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.