Recettear An Item Shop’s Tale Game !FULL!
Recettear takes place in a fantasy setting, and places the player in the role of Recette Lemongrass, the daughter of a shopkeeper who has left to be an adventurer but has mysteriously disappeared. As her father was in great debt to Terme Finance, she is forced by Terme's representative fairy, Tear, to rebuild her home into an item shop to repay the debt. Recette reopens the shop as Recettear, a portmanteau of hers and Tear's names. Recette adopts the catchphrase "Capitalism, ho!" as the player continues on with the story. The game's story is presented through text dialog and two-dimensional sprites, akin to a visual novel. There are some occasional spoken lines in Japanese, which remain untranslated in the English version.
Recettear An Item Shop’s Tale Game
The game is structured on daily cycle, with the goal to have repaid the debt of 820,000 pix (the game's currency) by the end of one month. Each day is structured into fixed periods. Time passes when the player operates the shop, goes adventuring for items, or returns to the shop after visiting other shops or guilds in the town, limiting the total number of activities that can be done in a day.
When the player chooses to operate the shop, they can place items on the shop's shelves, with certain spots, such as near the storefront window, being more lucrative to draw in buyers. When a potential buyer selects an item, the player can bargain to try to get as much profit from the sale as possible, but ineffectively bargaining will cause the buyer to leave without purchasing anything. Successful bargains earn points towards the player's merchant level, allowing for improvement of the shop and selling benefits once higher levels are gained. Customers may also bring goods to sell to Recette, requiring the player to try to barter and buy the item well below cost.
When adventuring, the player recruits a member of the local adventure guild. The player has access to only one adventurer at the start of the game, but as the game progresses, new guild members with various skills and abilities can be accessed. Through Tear's magic, Recette is invulnerable in the dungeon but cannot interact with the creatures within it, and instead watches over the adventurer, helping to collect items dropped by creatures or supplying healing items. The player has a limited amount of storage they can carry from the dungeon, and should the adventurer fall and cannot be healed, the player must drop most of their inventory to allow Recette to carry the adventurer out of the dungeon. Each dungeon features a number of randomly generated dungeon levels, along with a final treasure room at a specific depth. Items found in dungeons can be used as equipment for the adventurer, sold at the shop, or combined with other items to make more useful and valuable goods. The adventurer gains experience points and gains levels as he or she kills monsters, making the character more effective in deeper dungeons.
Should the player miss the debt payment deadline, Recette is forced to sell the shop and live in a cardboard box; the player can choose to restart the game retaining their merchant level and items, but not pix amount. Successfully completing the game unlocks three further game modes: "New Game+" which restarts the game but allows the player to keep their items and merchant and adventure levels from the completed game, "Endless Mode" where the player can continue the game indefinitely without having to pay any debt, and "Survival Mode", where the player must try to complete ever-increasing debt payments on a weekly basis. Survival Mode offers two versions, Normal Survival, where the items and levels are retained week to week, and Survival Hell, where these do not carry onward.
Dice and Light-Williams took the opportunity to establish some unique style to their localization efforts for Recettear. They modified the original Japanese script to replace some of the unique aspects of Japanese to ones that made more sense in Western regions. For example, as the game is set in a seemingly European village, the original script's mention of rice and tofu felt out of place, and Carpe Fulgur replaced these with more appropriate foods. They also modified Recette's repetitive use of the word "yatta", a Japanese expression similar to "yay" in English, with variations on the word "yay", like "Yayifications!", or other made-up affirmations, such as "Yeperoni!". Much of the time in translation was taken by the item list, and specifically the addition of plural nouns which do not exist in the Japanese language. Dice was initially worried that some changes to the general script necessitated by localization would be criticized, but found after release that their resulting script was well received. Dice admits that they did not fully explain the keyboard control well enough (such as the "Z" key being the default action key for most dōjin soft games but uncommon in Western titles), and believes that some players were lost because of this.
Recettear's Western release was well received by critics who considered the game a surprise title. The Metro acknowledged that while the idea of a game around running a shop would be the "dullest activity possible", Recettear's shopkeeping is a "strangely fulfilling activity", with some deep gameplay aspects that are not apparent on an initial play. Quintin Smith of Eurogamer considered the shopkeeping activity rather addictive, similar to "a tiny gambling session, where a confluence of factors can result in you having the best or worst day ever", leading the player to play "just one more [turn]". Richard Cobbett of PC Gamer noted that "while you do spend most of it doing the exact same simple things, doing so quickly becomes a frothy, capitalistic bubblewrap". IGN's Charles Onyett noted that, once the player has learned the habits of various characters, the price haggling "degenerates into a thoughtless, mechanical exercise", but random fluctuations in the market such as the result of news events or trending items helps to keep the shopkeeping interesting.
Recettear is the story of an item shop, the girl who lives in it, and the fairy who turned her life upside down. Recette Lemongrass finds herself in charge of an item shop built into her house, in order to pay back a loan her father took and then skipped out on - and Tear, her newfound fairy "companion", won't take no for an answer! As Recette, you have to decide how you'll get your stock - either through playing the markets in town or going out into the wild with an adventuring friend and thrashing beasts until they give up the goodies - how much to sell things for, what the shop should look like, and how to best go about getting the money Tear needs to pay off the loan. If you can't come up with the money... well, hope you like living in a cardboard box.
What I think is that this whimsical indie tale of manning the tills of a semi-stereotypical RPG item shop is about ten times bigger than I'd imagined. I thought I'd got the measure of it from the demo, but what seemed a small and simple thing unravelled and expanded throughout - every time I sat back and thought "that's it, I'm ready to write this up" it threw in a little something else.
The key effect of this is that "An Item Shop's Tale" isn't all that accurate a description. "A Surprisingly Enormous, Sprawling Roleplaying Game" would be far more relevant, if less neat.Let's do the context thing, anyway. Recettear is the tale of Recette, daughter of a hapless and now missing adventurer, whose only legacy is a nauseating amount of debt. To pay this off, Recette's talked into running a loot shop for an apparently kill-crazed (but otherwise rather genteel) town. Advised by scowly fairy/bailiff Tear, the girl must master buy low, sell high, plus the rather more complicated acquisition of rarefied swords, helms et al.
I've been all over the place in my thinking on this. That so much of the game becomes dungeoneering, levelling up, accruing special abilities and mastering boss fights can seem to ruin the joke. The stereotypical RPG shop doesn't know where its stock comes from or what in God's name its scarred, near-suicidal customers are really up to. By doing the dungeon runs yourself, and especially by getting the keep the loot rather than the adventurer trying to sell it to you, the fiction and the gag become a little flimsy.
It's clearly a game that its developers enjoyed making. Don't expect something super-slick, as rigid controls (play with a gamepad if possible) and an erring towards the unfair means it can frustrate, but the evident enthusiasm and desire to entertain more than compensates. The great perversity of Recettear is that the pull to go beat up some monsters gradually outgrows the cheesy thrill of shop management.
Throw in the creation of uber-items - both for profit and to equip your hired dungeon-runners with - and it's almost fully into Proper RPG territory. It suits the game entirely, and elevates it from good-natured gag to something that's better than half of the RPGs it's affectionately lampooning.
Then I realised that the game loops. Fail to pay off the debt and you'll be bumped back to the start of the whole process- but with your Merchant level (which affects what you can buy, create and modify, essentially), shop upgrades and much of your inventory intact, as well as the first of the available heroes retaining his level and gear. This means you start off with a massive advantage, and the fun of the fantasy comes back, rather than being chased away by the stressful deadlines.
Recettear, essentially, is not what I thought it would be. I thought it was this slim, charming gag, but in fact it's one of the most unusual and ingenious games I've played this year. It's a shoe-in to be revisited regularly, mined for new challenges, new items and the heroes I've yet to use. It's splendid, it's compulsive and it's far more than the sum of its simple parts. I'll eat my Warrior's Helm +2 if I'm not jabbering wildly on about it in whatever we do for our Games Of The Year stuff come December. Capitalism, ho! 350c69d7ab