Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
developed by EasyGameStation
Quierta's Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale Review
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale THE GOOD:
Playing for the Plot
So in conclusion...
- There is a surprisingly vast amount of items that you can find for such a seemingly simply game. Despite there being few places to go, there is a lot more to do than one might think at a first glance.
The difficulty increases as you go through the dungeons, keeping a better hold on your interest.
Even the dialogue itself is somewhat entertaining and more "intelligent" and adult than a game like, for example, Harvest Moon.
- The debts you are made to repay are sometimes impossible to meet resulting in the need to restart. Failing to meet ones payments at any part of the game results in having to start over, albeit with all of your items. For example, if you made your payments for the first three weeks and failed on the fourth week, you go back to week one.
- Recettear, at a first glance, is just a small indie game perhaps akin to the likes of the infamous Facebook game "Farmville" or whatever Zynga's managed to come up with recently. However, that is very much INCORRECT!
The overall plot of the game is rather simple. You play as Recette, a young girl who is currently living alone in her father's home. It seems that he's gone missing, apparently having partaken in some large adventure and never having returned. Much to her surprise she is one day visited by a fairy by the name of Tear. She instructs you that your father left you with a daunting debt which you will have to repay, or you will be thrown on the streets. A compromise is made - you will turn your home into an item shop, buy and sell items at a profit and slowly widdle away at the overly large debt your father has so kindly left on your lap.
And that is the story of how I began to run an item shop...
- There isn't a lot of moving around to do in Recettear. You can move around your item shop in order to place or remove items and you can move around in the dungeons, but that is it. If you head out to town you will be shown a map and have to choose where to go - you can not freely walk around the town or any place other than your own shop or the dungeons.
Despite being unable to walk freely, you can interact with people around the town if you stumble upon a cutscene. If, when you look at the map, you notice that one of the names of the places is glowing, then once you go there you will witness a small interaction between your character and another. During the cutscenes you can do little more than press "z" and wait for it to end, but many of the cutscenes are to your benefit and it is suggested that you pay attention to what is being said unless you want to miss something important!
Playing for the Plot
- Although it is possible to play this game on "Endless Mode" without worrying about paying debts, you will need to beat it at least once in order to do so. After you successfully pay off your entire debt you will unlock Endless Mode where you will be able to dungeon crawl and buy and sell items to your heart's content without worrying about having to start over. You can completely bankrupt yourself if you so choose.
In order to beat the game you will need to pay off your debt weekly. Each week the amount that you pay raises by what Tear refers to as "a small amount," when really you're paying ridiculous amounts of money in a short period of time. It's very daunting and sometimes impossible to achieve but in the event that you fail, you're not at a total loss.
If you can not meet your payments you will witness a small cutscene during which Recette is reduced to living in a box on the street. Good news, however - it was all just a dream! You will wake up on week 1 before the whole thing began to start anew. This means that if you paid off your first two weeks and failed the third, you will have to go back to week one. You will, however, retain all of your items that were in your bag or in the shop as well as your merchant level and any levels of the second dungeon that you were able to unlock.
Unfortunately, if you lose, you will have to re-watch all the cutscenes that you have already watched. This means that you will have to meet the other adventurers all over again, you will have to meet Alouette a second time as well as unlock any dungeons that you were able to enter (besides the second one). However, there is an option to skip cutscenes by pressing the esc key, luckily for you.
- As has been mentioned before, this game has dungeons in which you can find various items that can not be found in the Marketplace or the Merchant's Guild. In the beginning of the game the items that you find in dungeons are relatively cheap and won't bring in a lot of profit, but as you delve deeper and begin to unlock more dungeons you will find items that you can sell for more than you would usually make in an entire game week.
Since Recette is just a small girl and Tear isn't much of a help in the bulk department, you will have to go into the dungeon with an adventurer. In the beginning you will be able to use Louie, a young adventurer simply trying to make his way in life. You will need to beat the first dungeon with him and, after receiving his Guild Card which will allow you to use him as an adventurer, then you can move on to other dungeons. Throughout the game you will unlock several adventurers all with different statistics, weapons and skills and will be able to supply them with better, stronger equipment in order to boost their respective strengths.
Adventurers also have the ability to level up, increasing their overall stats and abilities. Each time a monster is destroyed it will explode into glittering jewels, or Power Crystals. The adventurer absorbs these crystals and takes in the power and becomes stronger. The highest level for an adventurer is level 99.
Items that you find in the dungeons can be anything from armor to weaponry. Among the most important of these items, however, are "Ingredients" which are dropped by monsters. Ingredients can later be used to create "Fusion" items which are made by combining low-grade items with Ingredients in order to create better, stronger items that you can not find in the dungeons or the shops. Sometimes it is necessary, even, to go into a dungeon with your adventurer and harvest ingredients even if you have already passed the dungeon.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about any dungeon is the amount of items that you can hold, and the amount of items that you can take back with you in the event that you collapse. To start out with, you can only hold a certain amount of items in your bags. If you run out of room you will have to choose carefully, dropping items that you wish to trade in for better ones. It is possible to raise the amount of items that you can carry, however, by raising your merchant level. By the end of the game you will still only be able to carry up to 35 items so it is necessary to learn which items you need and which items you do not.
Worse than the 35 item limit, however, is the limit of items that you can take back if you die. Initially, if you lose all of your HP in a dungeon you can only take one item back with you. As you raise your merchant levels you will be able to take up to 3 items back with you. It's still not a very large number, though, considering the important things you'll be finding in the dungeons at higher levels.
Although the dungeons start out easy, the game does a good job of retaining a certain level of difficulty. Monster levels increase as you move through the dungeons, both from the first floor to the last floor and from the first dungeon to the last dungeon. In this way it forces you to make choices based on where you are and what you need to do. In the first dungeon you may have been able to kill a monster with one shot but in the last dungeon it could take anywhere from 3-4 shots depending on your adventurer, your weapon and your own level. Even at level 99 the dungeons can still be a relatively dangerous place!
- The graphics of Recettear are not brilliant but neither are they choppy and ill thought of. Every item has its own sprite so that each type of clothing looks different, each sword looks different, all the food looks different, etc. The characters take on the look of a Japanese Animation during cutscenes while the smaller avatars that you move around with are, of course, smaller, more squat and "chibi" versions of the more formal selves.
You are able to move in any direction rather than the classic 4 or 8 directions making it easy to dodge monsters. However, this also means that some of the monsters can move in any direction making them a little harder to dodge.
When the characters speak they will speak in Japanese but the writing is English. Each character does have their own voice significant to them but, unless you speak Japanese, you'll have to pay attention to the dialogue boxes in order to understand what's going on.
There are in-game sound options allowing you to change the volume of sounds such as speech, music, and actions allowing you to change them to suit your tastes.
So in conclusion...
- For a game with so little backing and so small a concept, it certainly leaves a big impression. It might not be "the best game since The Ocarina of Time" or anything of the sort but it's got enough meat to serve an army of gamers for quite a few weeks.
The dungeons are by no means huge and involved but they weren't taken lightly by the developers, either. You'll face so many traps, bombs, landslides and flying fish (No, that's not a joke. There are flying fish!) that you'll start to doubt if you'll EVER get out of the dungeon. In a fun and entertaining way, of course.
After you beat the game you're free to do what you want whether it's selling items and seeing who you can squeeze the most money out of or work on your encyclopedia of items and see if you can find every last piece of armor and sword until it's full.
In all, the game tailors to a little bit of everyone - those who just want to relax and those who want a little excitement, suspense and... frustration.
- Whee I beat the game! 
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