Ryu’s Musings – Recettear – An Item Shop’s Tale

Posted on September 17th, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

 

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This was a purely impulse buy because it was on sale, and the image of Recette was just so damned cute it would have been a crime not to buy it hehe.

Initially I wasn’t expecting much from the game since it was listed in the indie section, and my experience with indie games hasn’t been good. So when I finally sat down to play my initial reaction was crap.

There were a number of issues when I started out. Firstly the game didn’t install right, in fact the install froze my system and I ended up having to reboot. Second time trying to install resulted in a missing .exe file. set in windowed mode with no option to go into full screen mode.

Next, and this caused me a load of frustration, there’s no mouse control. In fact the game doesn’t register the mouse on any level. The usual keys for movement (up/down/left/right) all worked, but the other obvious keys didn’t. For example when you finally moved to the option you wanted hitting enter or the space bar did nothing. It was only through pressing each key on the keyboard one by one did I find the right keys.

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What was really frustrating was that there was a hidden manual which explains everything. In my installation It was in a folder called ‘man’ of all things. Once you find it however the manual is pretty well laid out, and does explain pretty much everything.

The manual even goes on to explain how to change the keys and various setting (including getting to full screen), as well as other system performance options.

However, personally, I think it would have been better if the installer for the game added a shortcut for the game to the desktop (cause it doesn’t, you have to do it manually), as well as shortcut to the manual. It would make users lives a lot less frustrating.

On a side note, Steam do do this. If you buy the game from Steam they give you a shortcut to both the game and config tool, which makes life a lot easier. However, all said and done this game is better played with a game pad (which is how I play it). Lot easier and you aren’t fafing around with your keyboard.

Right, onto the game itself *ahem*

This game flipping rocks!!!

Right now I’ve got that out my system back onto my review hehe. I started playing it a day or so ago and all my manga reading has come to an abrupt halt and it’s all this games fault. I’ve been playing it in five to six hour sessions, the longest being a eighteen hour session that left me a little wired from all the coffee hehe.

The game itself is simple in every way, graphics, playability, and story, yet it’s also highly addictive and a lot of fun to boot.

The story, which admittedly is so flimsy if you hold it up you’d see right through it, revolves around Recette. She’s a young girl who is pretty much a scatter brain. She’s lived her life without a care in the world until now, when her dad takes out a huge whopping big loan and then skips (Hayate no Gotaku style!!). Unfortunately Recette has to repay the debt.

Enter Tear, the debt collecting fairy. She gives  Recette a choice, either lose her house to pay off the debt, or open an item shop and make weekly payments on it. This is where we enter the game and take over as Recette, we basically have to run the store, find the items to sell and find the customers to sell to.

The game is split into two parts, the main part of the game is the item shop, where you sell pretty much everything and anything.

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Initially your shop is pretty small but as you earn merchant levels you can expand the store, and even get vending machines to sell things.

You set out items on the counters, then click the stool by the till to open the shop. Customers come in and offer to buy things, at which point you commence haggling. You want to sell your items for more than what you paid for them, but you don’t want to drive the customer away by putting your prices to high.

If you get the prices right straight away you get a bonus, so getting it right is in your best interest. It is worth noting that initially it’s better not to haggle at all, and just sell everything at the base price. Sure you wont get much profit (except on items found in the dungeons), but you will rack up merchant ranks.

Your merchant rank dictates what you can buy, and what perks you can get from the guild hall. Higher ranks allow you to access fusion, which means you can make higher quality items which sell for more, thus increasing your profit margin.

The game itself is split into four periods of time, so it does have elements of time management. For example going to a dungeon uses up two periods of time and you can only go in the first or second period.

A lot of the store related stuff is dealt with inside the store, and everything else is dealt with on the town map:

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You can access anywhere In the town and only lose one period of time, so visiting as many of the places as you can is a wise move. However also watch out for any of the name that are flashing, since these areas have a cut scene, which from time to time are funny as hell.

The market is self explanatory, you buy your food stuffs, treasures, books, shop fixtures and jewellery from there. The town square is same as any other town square hehe. Merchant Guild is where you buy upgrades to your shops size, as well as weapons, clothing, armour, hats and helms. It’s also the place you go to for fusion. Fusion is where you mix an item you buy from either the Guild or Market (or find in a dungeon) and fuse it with ingredients you find while dungeon crawling. The resulting item can be worth a lot of money, or it can be worth nothing, the end result is random. Depending on your merchant level, you get access to different levels of fusion, as well as learning new creations and ingredients.

The Guild Hall is also a good place to stop for in game help, it has a series of FAQ’s that explain a lot of what goes on. Tear is also a place to go for help, if in doubt talk to tear (when your in the store), she can tell you a lot, including going over past tutorials again, but more on her in a bit.

The Pub is only accessible in the last two periods of the day, and some of the characters have to be encountered there before you can hire them, again watch for the flashing name. It’s also worth going there just to hear the comments that Tear makes on alcohol hehe I found them to be hilarious. The Chapel, has no use, or none I’ve seen yet, beyond a few comedy cut scenes. The Adventure’s Hall is where you go to hire an Adventurer, and to visit the various dungeons.

Dungeon crawling is the second part of the game, since on it’s own the item shop aspect would get dull pretty fast I think. So you basically hire an Adventurer for a fee, which raises depending on their level, and then follow them through the dungeon. For the crawl itself you swap focus, rather than playing as Recette you play as which ever hero you hired. Recette and Tear follow along picking up all the loot carefully hidden by magic. Since you’re limited with what you can carry you also have to judge which items are worth carrying and which aren’t worth it, which can be a pain in the arse at times.

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Like the rest of the game the graphics are simple, but easy on the eye, not to mention that the chibi characters just look so damned cute!! The monsters are pretty much nothing special graphically, from the blobs in the pic above, to knights in armour, to tentacle monsters, mushrooms, eye-ball’s with death rays, and giant mice. This is why I prefer the game pad for this game, it’s easier to move around and fight than it is on a keyboard.

There are a number of characters that you can hire, some are hidden others only appear after certain events happen. Louie is you first hero, and you get him right away, he’s used as the introduction character, you help him get his guild accreditation, he teaches you about the dungeons. He’s your a-typical fighter, with shield and sword, hit things till they die.

Every five levels you get the option to carry on or portal back to town. Make sure you choose wisely, since if your hero looks like he’s going to die (cause no one really dies in this game) Recette and Tear rescue him and run away. But they have to leave all the loot they’ve picked up so far behind. This also includes any items you equipped on them, which can be quite costly. You can bring one item back initially, but this does seem to grow as well. Not sure if this merchant level or character level based though.

Back to the store with all your swag and put it up for sale, and wait for someone to come buy it. The negotiation is done on a simple interface:

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Basically you’ve got the item, and it’s base price (in this case a cake with a base price of 3500pix), you want to sell it for a profit by increasing the radial numbers. Rather simple really, up and own moves the price up and down, left and right changes the row. It tells you how much your current percentage of base price is.

You have to be careful however as the market tends to fluctuate. Over the course of the game prices for various things go up and down, so you have to account for that as well. I’ve sold some stuff for as much as 180% when it’s prices were up. The best thing is to buy a load when they’re low, and sell when they’re high, but be careful, selling stuff when their prices are low can cost you a fortune.

All said and done this game is highly addictive, though I do wonder where the 30+ hours to finish the story comes from, since I did it in near 12. However after completing the main story several new options open up for you. Firstly is the endless mode, which is pretty much that. You carry on playing and the game doesn’t stop. New dungeons and characters open up and you just keep going, though thankfully there’s no more debt hanging over you.

Survival Mode really should be called Nightmare Mode, since that’s what it’ll end up as lol. Basically it’s the Endless Mode with one other added feature, your weekly debt remains and it grows exponentially. How long can you last before the debt kills you off hehe.

New Game+ means you start all over again, but with the items and merchant level you have from any of the save games.

The only thing I hate about starting a new game is you have to go through all the tutorials again. Would be nice if it remembered you’d already done it, but oh well.

Over all though, I love this game and think it’s worth every penny I paid for it, which wasn’t all that much. There is a demo of the game, which you can download through Steam, or directly from the Carpe Fulgur website. You can buy it from Steam, Impulse Driven, or Gamers Gate.

The game itself is DRM free, and doesn’t install anything in the registry. this means you can actually run the game from a USB Pen Drive. this I was one of the goals that Carpe Fulgur set themselves, an open non-invasive installation. Which considering the rampant piracy made me wonder, but I do like their take on it so I’ll just quote them :

taken from the Recettear website:

Does Recettear feature any form of copy protection?

Recettear does not feature copy protection (or "DRM") of any kind. Neither Carpe Fulgur nor EasyGameStation believe in compromising the user’s privacy and freedom to use their computers as they wish.

Once you purchase the Recettear client, you are free to do with it as you wish (though don’t torrent it, thanks) – you may copy it to any location on your hard drive, you may make as many backup copies as you wish, you may even run it from an external hard drive or a USB thumb drive if you so wish (and your thumb drive has the capacity). Recettear is install-agnostic and makes no hooks in your system registry. It has no DRM and no "restrictions" on where and when it can be installed.

But doesn’t that mean I can just pirate your game?
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But aren’t you afraid of getting pirated into oblivion?

Well, we’ll say this: Recettear would be pirated regardless of whether we used copy protection or not. We’re adults and we understand that our work will be stolen by someone who doesn’t want to pay for it; that’s how the Internet works in this day and age. Any prospective pirates who enjoy our work, however, must realize that we can only continue to produce localizations for games – and possibly help foster new projects on our own – if we make enough money to make a living at it.

If you like the game even a little bit, please purchase it. We respect our customers enough to not put any invasive DRM programs into Recettear – we hope the respect will be repaid in kind.

The localization of the game has been done really well IMO, the comedy aspects were handled really well, one of my favourite lines comes early on: “Louie passes bad check at the cafe and goes on the lam”.  Louie of course being the hapless hero we hired initially, who is always cash strapped and looking for his next meal.

As for how true this is to the original, I’ve no idea, but it is pretty funny, so I don’t really begrudge them altering any text. Especially since we don’t really get to see much text. They also leave the original japanese voices in, which I do like. Though apparently some people find them annoying. given that the voice over’s are very infrequent in this game I don’ really see how. What I did find annoying though was the music, it was okay at first but after a few hours it got on my nerves.

Definitely a game worth buying though IMO, it’s cheap, it’s fun, cute and will keep you going for hours!!

Sadly I had hoped to include a Q&A with the three guys from Carpe Fulgur, but they never responded to my emails. All I can say though is keep up the great work guys!! Bring us more of these awesome games please!!

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