Reviews: Recettear An Item Shops Tale

At last; a game where the ghost of Adam Smith just wants to be friends

Recettear is available on Steam, similar services or via the developer's website for about US$15. There is also a free demo available on both.

The gameplay is reminiscent of Act Raiser; split between a sim and an action game, with the former being an item shop and the later being a Gauntlet style Dungeon Crawl. The aim is to earn enough money to erase Recette's debt by obtaining items on the dungeon crawl or buying them wholesale. You must then display them in your shop and flog them to passers by, haggling over each sale. While this is simple at first, every item you sell earns you experience. Levelling up gives you many more options ranging from Item Crafting better wares to installing vending machines to automate the process of selling Vendor Trash or just simply expanding and decorating your store. The Dungeon Crawling segments are more straight forward; you hire an adventurer (starting with the lovable swordsman Louie and unlocking all the usual RPG suspects) and hack, slash and spellcast from floor to floor until you reach a boss and abscond with your loot. The two sides of the game are tied together both by being the way you'll get your more valuable items and new adventurers being befriended after they've bought a few items from you (as well as using any equipment you happen to sell them).

The goal of each week of gameplay is to earn enough to pay off another chunk of debt (failure to do so will cause Recette to wake up on the first day, allowing you to start again with all your items and experience intact). After paying it off in full (after four in game weeks) you can try one of the challenge modes, giving it some replay value, or simply enjoy the plot without fear of a game over.

The plot is strongly orientated towards humour, including a great deal of woolseyisms and more Shout Outs and pop culture references than you can imagine. While the cutesy anime styled graphics might put some potential players off, they fit the lighthearted tone of the game perfectly. All the adventurers you can hire have their own (standard, but entertaining) personalities and subplots to enjoy and you really do care about Ms. Lemongrass' plight.


The graphics might not be for everyone, but the gameplay and script are solid, try the demo even if you hate the graphics and you might find yourself pleasantly surprised: 9/10