Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
There are those times when there's a concept that is so unique that it demands your utmost attention. It turns common conventions on their head, or maybe it hits just the right nerve, nails something down that you've been looking for. Well, I found one. It's called Recettear. I can safely say that I have never, ever seen a game like this.
What Makes it So Unique?
If you've ever played a Japanese RPG like Final Fantasy, you're familiar with the old cliché of the item shop: they sell the heroes stuff, and the heroes sell them stuff. You buy new stuff, sell old stuff, and so on the cycle goes. It's all about what you need in order to beat the big boss later on. But does anybody remember the poor little shop owner?
This game does. Recettear eschews standard mechanics and focuses on the woes and joys of running an item shop. You play as Recette, a cute little girl whose father has left home to go adventuring...and left her to pay a massive loan. Tear, a fairy from the loan collection agency, has arrived to help her pay it back. She guides Recette through the ins and outs of stocking and selling items. It's a delightfully fresh setup, and it makes for an interesting game.
There's also a bit of a familiar, traditional element in Recettear: the dungeon-crawl. You get to see the other side of things as you hire out heroes to go gather up treasure from the local dungeon. This part plays like a simple Japanese RPG action segment, with you crawling deeper and deeper into passageways, battling more and more dangerous monsters as you pick up more loot to sell in your shop. I'm still trying to beat my way down....
Of course, what also helps is the writing, which is quite banter-y and fun. Recette is cute, not always a quick thinker, and prone to worry and over-exaggerate things. Her initial panicked plans to repay the debt include living off of two organs and selling the rest, if that gives you an idea of her unique but sometimes out-of-control imagination. The game is also dashed with small snippets of Japanese voice acting here and there...which, well. I do have a soft spot for random Japanese expressions.
Recette is currently being localized into the English language (from Japanese, if you haven't guessed by now) by Carpe Fulgur. So far, only the demo has been released, which lets you play through the very first week of item shop owning, in-game. You can replay that first week as much as you want, and all saves are compatible with the full game. I'd highly recommend that you head over and check it out!
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