Recettear is a wonderful animated indie game created by EasyGameStation which combines the elements of RPG dungeon-crawling combat with slow paced shopkeeping. This game focuses on Recette whose father has mysteriously vanished and left her in debt (with fairies!!) which she needs to pay back or she’ll lose everything. Luckily the fairy ‘Tear’ who has come to collect the debt decides to teach you how to run your shop ‘Recettear’ so that you can pay off the money owed.
As a game Recettear has very simple mechanics, movement is limited to the arrow keys, while Z and X control everything else. Yet the game doesn’t need to be more complicated. When running the store, Z is used in selecting where to place items around the shop, while also accepting prices when selling items. Then when combat begins while exploring dungeons it’s used as basic auto-attacks with X as a special ability. I did enjoy how you had certain segments of the day to do things (as the game moves within its own time system), when you choose to start selling items it will take up 1 of these 4 segments.
(above, one of the adventurers you can use to take on dungeons)
The game itself has a very cute pixelated art style that’s colourful and lovely to look at, suiting the environment within the game perfectly. Even during the dungeon crawling, there’s enough variety in the different levels themselves that keep everything fresh and enjoyable as you proceed into the harder levels. The monsters themselves are quite varied and enough of a challenge to kill you if you’re struggling with the combat or get swarmed by them, even the bosses are cool to fight against as they have enough characteristics to make the player think ‘okay so to beat this guy I can’t simply hit him repeatedly’, and if you make silly mistakes the damage can be unforgiving and force you to use food items you’ve collected to sell just to heal yourself back up.
Something adorable about the game is Recettes little Japanese voice which just makes you smile every time your hear her bartering with people. Then you feel terrible for making her sad when you ruin a sale that you needed. However when you manage to make a great profit on an item (e.g. 140% price increase of its RRP), whether it’s worth 4000pix (the currency) or 400pix, you feel so satisfied with yourself, even if you’ve completely conned people out of their money.
(above, you find chests during the dungeons that contain loot or traps)
The music from the game is so sweet and chirpy and definitely fits with the atmosphere of the game, as you want to feel relaxed and enjoy every moment in the game. Unfortunately a small downside of this is that it can become very repetitive and force you to put the game on mute after too long. The game itself isn’t as repetitive as you can switch between going dungeon crawling or sit back and sell items / interact with the ingame community (such as the church or stores).
Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is a fun take on store life, it provides a great atmosphere while being a relaxing, enjoyable game. Allowing players to neither be pressured to play, yet want to. The storyline isn’t too complex yet quite compelling and running your shop is very fun. The music can be a little repetitive and the game itself can be seen as a bit pricey if you’re not willing to initially dedicate the time to it, if so I’d suggest waiting for a sale.