Game Review: Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale

The downloadable game: “Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale” is really two games in one, a shopping and merchant simulation Role-playing game and a dungeon crawl. Neither fish nor fowl, this downloadable game is not very good at either one of the genres.

The storyline is that Recette, an impossibly cheerful girl wakes up one morning to find her father gone and also that her dad owes lots of money, “pix” in the game’s world, to a loan shark who is also a fairy and now it her reasonability to pay off the debt. So Recette and her fairy helper, Tear, decide to open an Item Shop to make enough “pix” to clear the loan. Recette becomes a little capitalist, buying low and selling high. Unfortunately this part of the game has all the excitement of taking inventory with a laser scan gun. As the player gets items, puts them on the shelves and haggles with customers for the best price. Tear’s sole job seems to be to keep the rather unfocused Recette on track and he seems to do little else.

The other way for Recette to get “pix” is to hire an adventurer to explore the local dungeon for treasure. The different adventurers can use a variety of weapons; like magic, swords, arrows or daggers, but the combat system is a simple move and strike scheme which doesn’t allow for much in the way of tactics. Plus the weapons don’t seem to have much a difference in effect; a sword and a spell have the same result. The exploration and combat soon pall as it seems the battles are all basically the same.

That is the bottom line on this game is that after a few turns, all the game play becomes the same.

The graphics and sound are excellent, with a nice anime and manga cutesy look and feel. The music is unrelentingly upbeat which nicely fits Recette’s personality and the rest of the relentlessly cute game play. The creators were clearly trying to do something new and different by combining the two game genres, it is unfortunate that the execution falls so short. Instead of going for real deep game play, the developers went for the saccharine sweet, and not in a good way.

Long story short, for $19.99 American this game is overpriced and the Role Playing Game player could do much better somewhere else for their money.

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