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Hometown Story Pocket

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, 3DS

The customer isn't always right

Product: Hometown Story Pocket | Publisher: Natsume | Format: iPhone | Genre: Time management | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Hometown Story Pocket iPhone, thumbnail 1
The biggest problem with the 3DS version of Hometown Story was that it came across as more of a smartphone game than a console one.

But now the well-known Japanese time management sim has made that leap from handheld to mobile.

The end result is a game that feels a little more at home than its 3DS counterpart. Or at least it does for the most part.

Shop till you drop

Hometown Story Pocket puts you in charge of a convenience store that sells, well, pretty much anything you can afford to stock.

But before you start packing in the produce, you actually need to install the shelves to hold it all on.

It's a nice touch, and it differentiates the game from the likes of Diner Dash. Your shop is bare to begin with, and there are only so many places to put tables and shelves.

Once those are positioned, you can lay out your products and open the door to a world of willing customers.

The most important aspect of each product is its wholesale value. This is how much it costs you to buy from the merchant.

You then add whatever mark-up you think you can get away with - too high and it'll sit on the shelves all day, too low and you're just giving the stuff away - and put it on display.

As the punters stream through the door they'll browse the shelves and, all being well, bring their goods up to the till so you can ring them up and count the profits.

The game builds a simple economy that doesn't get too bogged down in the tedious aspects of managing a shop. Instead you just get to enjoy turning a profit.

Service with a smile

That alone wouldn't give Hometown Story Pocket much longevity, though. To beef up the intrigue, you also need to interact with your customers.

Finding out what they want makes them happier about their shopping experience and, more importantly, makes you more money.

IAPs explained
Depending on your level, you can purchase various special products for 69p / 99c to sell in your shop. They'll fetch a much higher profit, but don't make a noticeable difference to the gameplay.
You can begin to tailor your stock to meet demands, and push goods at higher prices than if you were just randomly stuffing the shelves.

Merchants regularly stop by so you can replenish your stock. The higher your success rate, the more you can buy from them. As your experience grows, so does the range of products available from the stockists.

Gaining levels lets you expand your shop. You can fit in more tables and shelves, and accommodate more and more punters.

By the time you hit level five, Hometown Story Pocket becomes a pretty frantic experience.

You'll be dashing around trying to keep the shelves full while trying not to leave the punters tapping their feet at the counter, waiting to get served.

It's here that the game flounders a little, since the control method is pretty irksome.

To move you tap, hold, and release when the appropriate tile is highlighted. But the game has a habit of scrolling around the shop as you go, and that slows things down.

When the shop gets busy, you'll be left a little frustrated and flustered that the controls can't keep up.

This isn't an especially good-looking game either, despite the Japanese game development pedigree Hometown Story Pocket boasts.

But there's a strong time management game buried just below the surface, and it doesn't take more than five minutes to figure out.
Hometown Story Pocket
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 17 June 2014
Definitely a better buy than its 3DS counterpart, Hometown Story Pocket is still something of a jumble sale
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