System Mania is an arcade game that borrows liberally from the ever-popular resource management genre. Instead of serving food to customers, however, you spend your time fixing their strange contraptions by turning off warning lights as they appear. The fate of Fiona's growing fix-it shop is in your fast-clicking fingertips, so pull levers, spin wheels, and flip switches as quickly as possible.
At the outset, Fiona is fortunate enough to get fired from a job she hates. She decides to follow her dream and open up a tech support shop, receiving calls from local businesses to fix their strange machines. Each contraption is a completely different setup than the last. Your simple goal is to attend to the lights as they appear. Sometimes a simple button press is all you'll need to do, while other times you'll have to spin a wheel, pull a lever, yank a cord, and more. The variety of things you'll do across the game's 90 levels goes a long way to making System Mania fun.
Clicking buttons and switches in a sequence or getting to them ASAP often earns you bonus points and cash. Between some levels you can use your money to buy upgrades. Apart from the main story mode, System Mania also offers an arcade mode to let you deal with machines one at a time. And your trophy room begs to be filled by completing challenge levels.
Analysis: My knee-jerk reaction when I saw this game's title was to dismiss it as yet another time management clone. But System Mania is different, it doesn't fall in the same traps every other "mania" title succumbs to, and instead I found a pleasantly unique arcade game with playful visuals and creativity spilling out of every seam. The machines themselves are always inventive, and I love scratching my head and trying to figure out how this collection of levers and switches can be a Dough Twister. The assemblies often feel like a Rube Goldberg.
System Mania is a great reflex-based arcade game with just a few resource management ideas sewn in on the side. There's a lot of twitch-type clicking involved, not as much strategy or planning, but the creative direction and light-hearted gameplay make it a blast to play.