Tuesday, March 12

Review: Little Shopping [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Reviewing games that are intended for children can be tricky, as obviously when you’re playing them as an adult they’re not meant for you. Educational games then present an additional layer of challenge as their intent and focus is on entertainment second. However, as a parent who has two grown children I believe I’m able to take an objective look at these sorts of games and provide fair criticism.

Little Shopping is a pretty straightforward and simple game with 2 distinct components. First, it is a matching game, where you’ll be able to go into one of 4 stores, each with their own theme, and will be looking to put the items specified in your list into your basket. Second, it is a game involving some basic math. Once you check out your items the cashier will ask you for the correct amount. You’ll always be paying with coins, representing 5, 2, and 1, with the goal being to give her a combination of coins that precisely matches the target price. Technically you could endlessly add 1s until you hit the total but we’ll assume the goal should be to as efficiently pay for your items as possible, though that isn’t required.

Each of the stores is distinct with their own items and those have a reasonably variety with some items looking roughly similar so the pattern matching component should at least provide some modest challenge, though it will likely get repetitive pretty quickly. The math component is essentially common to all stores, with all that will vary being the price you need to pay. This should be decent for helping with very simple math but the lack of variety is a bit disappointing, even if only some different aesthetics, amounts, or something to up the ante since mastery of these specific amounts and basic subtraction likely won’t take terribly long.

While there’s obviously nothing else on the system that is in competition with this title that doesn’t quite give it a free pass for being awfully basic overall. Implementing more items or changing things up with the math skills, possibly even having a setting to make it more challenging on a sliding scale, would have at least been a nice value add. There’s an area shown under construction for future content but given the simplicity of the game that seems odd, to have something incomplete, and once your kids have exhausted the title I’m not sure new content would prompt you loading it up again. Kudos for it having support in docked mode at least, so you have some added versatility, but the content feeling akin to web or app-based games makes it difficult to point to anything that clearly makes owning it on Switch to be a plus aside from convenience.

Score: 6.5

  • There’s some variety in items for the matching elements of the game
  • Works on simple math skills involving addition and subtraction
  • Capable of being played in docked or handheld modes

  • Very focused limited content likely only specific to a very specific developmental age
  • While this is unique to Switch there are other means of playing similar games elsewhere