You would have thought that the advent of the credit crunch would have cut our spending on confectionery right down, wouldn't you? Surely, working in a chocolate boutique or candy store right now would be pretty easy work - employees piling on the pounds as they snack on all the treats left on the un-bought treats.
Whether that's the case or not I've no idea, but its clear the boys and girls at Sumea believe there's life in the house that cocoa built yet, with Chocolate Shop Frenzy delivering exactly what its title suggests: a chocolate store awash with customers, each demanding their own box of milky heaven. Your average American coffee house has nothing on this - Frenzy will teach you just how to cope with the whim of every customer that storms through your door.
As with games such as Diner Dash and Cake Mania, Chocolate Shop Frenzy is all about quickly serving customers, sorting and delivering a rash of different orders as impatient folk stand and stare. As customers appear at your counter, it's up to you to take their orders, pick up their chocolates, wrap them (if they so please) and deliver them back to the counter before they get fed up and leave. It's a standard concept, but Frenzy is the kind of game that constantly puts hurdles in your path just to complicate issues a little.
For instance, beyond the opening rounds it's very rare that you'll ever deal with just one customer at a time. Instead, people tend to come in packs of four, with orders also turning up via phone just to add to your workload. While you might think that a 'first come, first serve' mantra would serve you well, any sense of routine is tossed out the window as soon as different kinds of customers begin to turn up at your store; old grannies are perfectly happy to wait a little longer than your average customer, as opposed to businessmen, who quickly get impatient while yabbering away on their mobile phones.
The game handily informs you of the various quirks each of the game's characters has, leaving it up to you to decide just who your priority should be at that exact moment. Get it wrong, and you could find your shop rapidly emptying as the collective frustration boils over and your consumer base clears off. Sound hectic? Never has there been an apter use of the word - and this is even before you take into account thieves looking to pick up any cash left on your counter, your own fatigue (revived by making a cup of something hot) and a rival looking to put you out of business.
It's just as well that, during all this commotion, navigating your way around your shop is a breeze. Moving from the counter to the chocolate machines to the contraptions that wrap your gift boxes only requires a tap left, right ('4' and '6'), up or down ('2' and '8') depending on your position, with the game automatically carrying out the action at hand if only one is on offer, or presenting you with the options if many are available.
All this to-ing and fro-ing eventually becomes second nature and the sheer thrill that comes with making those split-second decisions is what powers you through. But if all that becomes too much, then Sumea has also thrown in a mini-game for good measure, just to break up any sense of monotony that might set in. The whole point of the main game is to successfully run your shop for 12 months, but each month consists of three days spent running the store and one day developing new chocolates - cannily applied through a mini-game that sees you matching together various different ingredients in threes on a grid.
Though timed, this is a much more pedestrian contest that contrasts well with the frantic nature of Chocolate Shop Frenzy's main mode, where speed is your lifeblood and combos essential to hitting each round's points target. If quick-fire games with a penchant for pace are your thing, then there are few that do it better than Frenzy - this is a game that'll give you massive highs and also send you slightly mad in the process, but it's the perfect example of just how mobile phones can accommodate action-packed titles without sacrificing gameplay. It doesn't get much sweeter than that.