My Shops on Facebook: Why build just one store, when you can build them all?

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While there are plenty of Facebook games that allow you to start managing a single kind of business or store (a restaurant, a clothing store, electronics store, and so on), what if you were instead given a game where you could create an entire "Shopping Street," rather than just a single store? Pretty Simple Games will allow you to make that hypothetical scenario into a reality, with their Facebook game My Shops.

The game launched in the middle of November, and has since grown to almost 140,000 users - not bad for a game from a little-known developer, in a genre that is already quite full. If you'd like to see what it takes to run more than one business at once, then meet us behind the break for more details about this up-and-coming business management sim.

My Shops begins with a basic tutorial in your first shop - a Bakery. The game's street view is presented much like the Street View in Restaurant City, for those that are familiar, as it is a flat image that can be scrolled through left and right to see your various buildings, or even open new ones.

Through the tutorial, you'll learn that the game is filled with a large variety of customers, each of which has different demands represented by thought bubbles. These thought bubbles contain images of what a customer wants to help you keep track. Via these thought bubbles, you'll be able to keep track of which items will be hot sellers, and can then order goods from the shipping menu accordingly. To start, at your Bakery you'll meet customers that want either bread or croissants, so you'll need to order both kinds of goods to be delivered on a delivery truck.

This is where the game's timer comes in, as you'll need to wait for the delivery trucks to arrive, with different travel times being available for the different items that you could purchase. You'll need to be on-hand to accept the delivery when it does arrive (increasing the incentive for repeat returns on a daily basis), and from there, your shop will automatically go about the business of selling goods. Your total stock is represented as meters in the bottom left corner of the gameplay screen, and you'll be able to see when a good will sell out based on how many hours that stock will last given the store's current popularity.

With your stores supplied, you'll be able to tackle a series of missions (upgrade your buildings, add certain decorations, and so on) or you can choose to upgrade your customers. In terms of customer upgrading, when a customer leaves your store satisfied, they will have a red heart appear above their head. Clicking on this heart earns your business a recommendation, and when enough of the same variety of customer recommend your business, you'll be able to unlock new kinds of customers, with entirely different sets of demands.

These customers may wish to purchase items you don't have in stock, which either means you can unlock them from the game's store (in the case of entirely new items), or you can simply wait for your current stock of items to empty and then order more of that particular item in the next Delivery Truck.

As you go along, you can increase the popularity of your shops by increasing their "Beauty," or adding decorations. Considering the time of year, there are some incredibly adorable Holiday decorations currently available, for those that are interested in that sort of thing. Otherwise, you can choose from decorative baskets, flower pots, street lamps, trees, bicycles and more, to make each individual building on your street look customized and unique (you'll need to customize stores for missions, but you can do this voluntarily as well).

Of course, your buildings can also be upgraded in terms of size (allowing you to hold more goods in your stock), with starter upgrades being available for coins, so that the average user can upgrade their Starter Bakery twice without running out of their beginning stock of coins, which is appreciated. Delivery Trucks can also be upgraded, but this requires you to collect building parts.

Since the game is all about opening up additional shops, it seems odd that you won't be able to do so without at least reaching level five. Not that this is an incredibly difficult milestone to reach in terms of gameplay, but levels do see to take a bit longer to complete than in other games of this type (that being the business-management sim). Once you start leveling up, you'll be able to get your hands on new shops like Pet Shops, Cake Shops, and more.

All in all, though, we're definitely pleased with what My Shops has to offer so far. If you're willing to climb your way to level 5 and finally start unlocking additional shop locations, then we'd suggest giving this one a look.

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