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Game Info:

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale
Developed By: Easy Game Station
Published By: Carpe Fulgar
Release Date: Sept 10th 2010
Genre: RPG
Available on: PC
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Mode: Single player
MSRP: $20

Thank you GamersGate for sending us this game to review!

Recette Lemongrass lives by herself since her father has gone adventuring and hasn’t returned since.  The story begins as Recette is greeted by a fairy named Tear who has come to collect on her father’s enormous debt.    Since Recette is unable to pay it, she converts her house to an item shop.  Tear helps her get established and is willing to do five weekly payments that will increase each time.  Failure to make a payment results in the game ending.  The game is won by paying off the debt.

 To get started you must buy some items from either the merchant’s guild or the market.  Once you stock your store, you can open the doors and haggle with customers over the prices you set.  The prices are determined by you at the point of sale.  You don’t have to worry about constantly adjusting prices on your shelves.   I typically did a 30% markup but most of the customers required the price to be lower.  If your price is too high, they will storm out of your store.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Unique characters and original game concept.
Weak Points: Separate executable needed to configure screen resolution and controls; English voice acting would have been nice.
Moral Warnings: Cartoon style fighting; there is no blood or gore.

For each successful transaction, you will gain experience towards raising your merchant level.  As your merchant level rises you’ll unlock new abilities like taking advance orders and redecorating your store.  Your store starts off plain but you can redecorate it to be gaudy or have a light or a dark feel to it.  Your store's look will attract unique customers who will get to know you and fight in dungeons for you.

The best way to stock up your store is to gather loot from dungeons.  Unfortunately, dungeon crawling is time consuming and eats up at least half of your day needed to sell to customers.  To go into a dungeon you must hire and ideally equip a hero with better weapons and armor to give them an edge in battle.  You don't want to pack too many items since your inventory space is limited.  As your merchant level increases, so does your inventory capacity.

The dungeon levels are randomly generated and the level map is revealed as you explore each floor.  The typical dungeon has five floors with a boss at the fifth floor.  After the boss is defeated you have the option of exiting the dungeon or pressing onward.  In other words, you can only exit every fifth level.  Fortunately, your progress is saved and you don't have to start from the first floor every time.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls 3/5

Morality Score - 87%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The enemies and bosses get harder as you progress through the dungeons.  At first you'll be fighting simple slimes.  There's plenty of variety and some of the enemies will have vulnerabilities that you'll have to take advantage of to defeat them.  For example, there is a knight that you cannot attack head on since they have a shield.  In order to do damage, you'll have to attack them from the side or behind.

I was happy to see that the violence is cartoon like and not bloody or gory in nature.  When you defeat an enemy, jewels pour out instead of blood.  Appropriateness wise there isn't much to complain about, just some very minor language and name calling.  I had no problem playing this in front of my kids and they  often flocked to my computer when I was playing it.  I think the colorful anime style artwork drew them in.

My only complaint with the artwork is that there isn't enough variety with the customers since there is only a handful of sprites used to represent them.  I do like how their facial expressions reflect their opinion of your prices.  To run the game in full screen mode you have to launch a separate customization executable to enable that feature. I decided against it since it does not support wide screen modes without getting distorted. 

If you're a fan of anime, chances are you'll appreciate the artwork and Japanese voice acting.  I was able to understand a couple of the words but I relied on the English subtitles to understand what was going on.  The English translation was pretty good for the most part.  I think this game would have been more polished if it had English voice acting.

Besides being a little rough around the edges, I enjoyed playing Recettear.  After the debt is paid off, some new modes are unlocked.  You can play in endless mode where you no longer have to worry about debt; this is ideal for dungeon exploring.  On the other hand, there is survival mode where the debt keeps getting higher and higher until you can no longer keep up.  Lastly, there is Game Mode + which is a little more challenging than the fist time around.  The MSRP is $20 but I have seen it on sale on Steam and GamersGate.  This is a good title to add to your wish list or watch list.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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