I am become Nook, builder of shelves.
Is this the dream shop I longed for, "where I am selling the goods to my friends? " Yes, this is Happy Birthday Mart. Yet this dream has metamorphosed into a nightmare. What friends are these that soil my clean floor and break my shelves? In the corner, a lone, pixelated sign stands, it reads, "Happy Birthday".
In Happy Birthday Mart, you are the caretaker of a small shop where animals come to shop for their friends' birthdays. Various species flood the aisles, wantonly depositing trash that must be cleaned. Some animals are "cheeky", so they must be tapped with the stylus, while other customers have inquiries that only a minigame can solve. Shelves are broken and must be fixed, and at times the shelves are emptied and must be filled. Some animals cannot find the shelves they need, so the player must drag the animal two feet to the shelf in question. Gifts can be given out to customers, but most animals are not grateful upon receiving a gift.
While managing a store can make for an exciting game, Happy Birthday Mart never quite feels hectic enough to present a challenge. Dragging trash to a bin, or goods to a shelf, is about as exciting as it sounds, especially when the only in-game event across thirty seconds of gameplay is the elephant dropping some garbage on the floor. The minigames are not engaging, and whether or not you beat them seems to make no difference.
Lack of purpose is an issue with almost every aspect of Happy Birthday Mart, as there are very few motivators while progressing through each day of sales. Games without set goals usually hinge on exciting mechanics; however, interacting in Happy Birthday Mart is anything but engaging. The game's painfully slow pace and simple mechanics may be geared towards children, but as a former Nintendo toddler I know that most kids are capable of playing much more interesting titles.
Happy Birthday Mart is not concerned with entertaining the player. On the surface, it looks like a potentially enjoyable children's game, but it will only frustrate kids with its slow pace and ambiguous structure.