It isn’t often a come across a money management game that’s actually fun and has an appealing personality. Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale is about a young girl named Recette, whose adventurer father leaves her in an empty home with a colossal debt weighing down on her tiny reserve of cash. Tear, a fairy contracted to a large financial corporation, comes to collect the debt. Since Recette can’t pay immediately, Tear helps her turn her house into an item shop! That way, she can pay her debt back in weekly chunks through monitoring sales, checking prices, buying low, and selling high. There is a fair amount of depth in this cutesy indie game.
That said, it is possibly a little too cutesy and whimsical to stomach. If you don’t have a high tolerance for silly humor and sitcom shenanigans, you might just wind up getting a little bored with the theme. Just a warning, because I myself have trouble playing consistently due to the interminably engaged adorable mode.
The in-game tutorial is long, patient, and thorough, enough so that getting into detail about how things work would be a bit of a waste of your time. All the same, you need to know the basics, right?
A lot of this game is getting to know your customers and haggling. Sell too high, and they’ll leave your store empty-handed. Sell too low, and your customers will love you, but you won’t turn much of a profit, which means you may not be able to meet your quota. The day is divided into four segments, which you can use to open the store, explore town, or check out the Adventurer’s Guild and hire an adventurer to loot a dungeon for you.
Adventuring is tough as nails, because there is no health regeneration beyond healing items, and enemies tend to hurt. A single dungeon can be incredibly lucrative, providing you have the gear and the patience to travel through all five floors. I’ve only played with the first available adventurer, but I imagine ranged characters are a litter easier to work with, since melee often means taking a few punches while you’re swinging.
The payments can get pretty steep pretty quickly, which can be a little disheartening if you’re not familiar with how these sort of games work. The good news is, if you miss a payment, you don’t really get a game over. You just restart from Day 2 without any money, but with all your inventory and adventurer stuff intact. You’ll typically fall hard the first few times, it seems, but that gives you all the more opportunity to learn how to play the market right.
It’s all very plot/event oriented, so expect a lot of goings-on to shake things up. New adventurers coming in, competitors, price shifts, and plenty more. It starts off easy peasy, but is quick to test your monetary mettle. Don’t invest in this game unless you’re prepared for some trial and error, okay? Okay.
Alec Meer of RockPaperShotgun took quite a shine to Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale as well, but got plenty farther than I did, thus knows quite a bit more about the underlying strategy and mechanics. From what I’ve read, the whole looping aspect plays a pretty major role, and the price deadlines get… well, staggeringly huge. So, my friends, don’t be afraid of failure, and take a peek at this review here before you decide to take it or leave it! Tadaa: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/11/wot-i-think-recettear-an-item-shops-tale/