Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Recettear - An Item Shop's Tale
Recettear is the story of an item shop, the girl who lives in it, and the fairy who turned her life upside down. Recette Lemongrass finds herself in charge of an item shop built into her house, in order to pay back a loan her father took and then skipped out on – and Tear, her newfound fairy “companion”, won’t take no for an answer! As Recette, you have to decide how you’ll get your stock – either through playing the markets in town or going out into the wild with an adventuring friend and thrashing beasts until they give up the goodies – how much to sell things for, what the shop should look like, and how to best go about getting the money Tear needs to pay off the loan. If you can’t come up with the money… well, hope you like living in a cardboard box
While the main gameplay is focused around how well a player can sell merchandise. How they stock their store and what goods they keep is entirely up to them. Players start the game with a small mount of cash which can be used to buy general goods at the market, or weapons and armor from the guild. From there players learn how to properly turn a profit on everything they buy for the store, how to manage mark-up and how little details like putting items in the front window will draw in specific kinds of customers. As the store profits, Recette's Merchant Level will increase over time, giving access to more expensive goods and store customizations (like wallpaper, item racks, and fun carpets that make customers feel more at home).
If that's where the gameplay ended we would probably have on our hands a fun, but easily dismissive mini game. Fortunately the game is filled with loads of surprises beyond that. Customers will occasionally come into the store not looking for a specific item, and players will have to help them select the good they most likely want. Once players progress enough into the game news flashes are announced as well, letting players know when items drop in price, raise in price, become harder to find or are simply more sought out. As players have only so many hours available in a single day to manage all these minor tasks, it becomes a game of careful balance. Making sure that the store is properly stocked with a wide variety of goods is just as important as making sure there's enough cash to pay the debt at the end of the week.
Another massive surprise in-game comes in the form of the adventure guild, a dungeon crawling portion of Recettear that lets players hire out a local adventurer to explore with. Players take control of the contracted adventurer and enter a random dungeon, filled with monsters to be slain and (more importantly) loot to be sold back at the store. It's here that players will find the best items to sell back at the shop, as well as ingredients to create more valuable fusion items. The old school zelda-esque style gameplay is a fantastic break from the normal objectives, and as an entire package makes Recettear's pacing nearly flawless.
A little break from my usual touhou related posts, as I've run out of games to post about, but this title is really really fun and addictive, can be difficult, though.
(psst, click here)