Review: Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale

The latest game review is here. After this, you get to look forward to the Summer 2012 anime lineup from Crunchyroll getting reviewed.

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, which I will simply refer to as Recettear from now on, is a Japanese game localized by Carpe Fulgur LLC, and is a Japanese game that has sold in record numbers.

It is an indie game, and a role-playing game all at the same time. While the idea of an indie RPG, much less an indie JRPG sounds very overdone, the new twists hat Recettear brings makes it a game that is wholly original.

There are two main characters, Recette and Tear. Recette is a human girl who was left alone by her father as he went off to adventure and such. As such, she stays in the house that he left and does chores and lives her simple life.

Tear is a fairy from a loan company, and she comes to Recette to have her repay the loan the company gave to her father, as they cannot contact him, so she will need to repay the loan. Tear says that the house can be sold to pay off the loan (whereupon Recette would liv ein a cardboard box) or that Recette could work to pay off the loan.

They come up with the idea of opening an item shop and selling items to adventurers. Recette must make a certain amount of money each week to work towards repaying the loan, if she fails, Tear will need to sell the house, and you fail the game and are forced to live in a cardboard box.

Your primary duties are to sell stuff and buy stuff, however you can also hire adventurers and go through dungeons to find items that you may then sell, as well as items that can be bought from the merchant guild or from people coming into your shop looking to sell stuff.

As far as gameplay goes, combat works fairly well and the selling system requires far more of an art than a science to master. You have to barter and trade back and forth with a customer until you reach a point where you both are happy, without the customer growing tired and leaving, or thinking they are getting ripped off and leaving.

As such, playing the game is a fairly enjoyable experience.

Complaints about the gameplay is limited to the fact that the introduction dungeon doesn’t tell you how to exit a dungeon until you make it to the fifth floor, and on regular dungeons, you can only leave on certain stages. This means that if you aren’t careful enough, or have an issue with the keys not working, you will die and only get to take back one item to sell.

As far as characters go, Recette and Tear are both very well rounded and fleshed out characters who just simply feel real. Both are very well developed, and they further develop as you play through the story and interact with other people and customers.

Recettea ris also funny. For instance, Recette comes up with the idea of the name Recettear, as it combines Recette and Tear into one name, as they are the ones running the shop. Tear points out that if you even slightly mispronounce it, you get Rackettear, which would be a very bad name for a store. Tear also makes some aside jokes or other references to things like a menu, save games, and other such things, but as Recette hears her, you get some questions like ‘who are you talking to?’ ‘save game? what’s that?’ and so on. If you play the demo and win, the game also presents you with one of the best anti-pirate messages I have ever seen. Even better, save game files from the demo transfer over to the full game.

That means that you can get the demo, and if you like it, your save files from playing the demo will transfer over to the full version.

Once you complete the loan payment, you can then go and choose other ways to play, such as survival, which requires you o pay ever increasing amounts until you fail, or endless, where you simply run a shop and adventure freely with no loan or anything else to worry about. You can also just go and start a new game, if that suits your tastes.

To make a short review even shorter, Recettear is funny and original, and one of the best RPGs I have ever played.

Score: 5/5 very good

Pros: characters are well rounded, plot is well developed, interesting, and original, gameplay is engaging and fun

Cons: Dungeons can be annoying at times. Took several tries to get the controls to work, and a lot of sound files didn’t download properly. Therefore, the one complaint is that getting the game installed can be a finicky process.

Recettear is $19.99 over on Steam (which is free) unless you choose to play the demo, because the demo is also free.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale

  1. CAPITALISM HO!

    (I haven’t finished the demo, but since I’m a spoiled spoilsport, I have to ask: just what exactly was the anti-pirate message?)

    • It would be more amusing to not tell you and let you find out for yourself.
      I really do try to avoid spoilers as much as possible.

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