RECETTEAR〜アイテム屋さんのはじめ方〜

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For those that are not familiar with RECETTEAR〜アイテム屋さんのはじめ方〜 (Recettear: How to start an Item Shop), it is a fantasy business RPG, produced and published by dojin-soft outfit EasyGameStation.

It is really rather good – read on for an appraisal and plenty of screenshots.

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Without introducing any spoilers, the basic plot is that the protagonist, Recette, is left with a mountain of debt after her father abandons her to become an adventurer, and dispatch debt recovery fairy Tear is sent in to seize her assets. However, rather than take the meagre house, she has Recette start an item shop, of the sort familiar to anyone who has ever played a fantasy RPG, so as to pay off the debt in full.

Through this charming tale of entrepreneurship through adversity, the player can make various friends and rivals, expand your shop, and of course loot dungeons and craft items for sale.

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Recette’s main business rival, though she is also her greatest customer as she will pay way over the odds.

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This cheeky little fairy drives a very hard bargain. Some customers will be more or less prone to haggling down prices; those who tire of this can always install vending machines at the cost of lower margins.

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This shyster interrupts selling combos with her outrageous offers.

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The gameplay in the dungeons is quite simple, and not too taxing. Recette’s debt can be cleared without ever setting foot in them, but without them there is no chance to progress through the character events and gain access to new adventurers.

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The adventurers met also become customers, so it is helpful to unlock them; they will also equip items they buy from the shop, although getting them to buy useful items is rather hit and miss. Fortunately, Recette can also lend them gear at the cost of reducing the space available for loot brought out from the depths.

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The customer demographic the shop attracts can be altered by changing the décor, although it seems that appealing to the masses is usually the best way to go. Eerie purple unfortunately does not yield enough big spending sorcerous customers to make up for the loss of little girls and housewives. Fancy and gorgeous is the way to go, but also the most garish.

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After the main story is finished, the player can play on indefinitely to make even more money and explore the backgrounds of the various side characters through events and dungeons.

Most of the balance issues present in the prepatch version seem to have been solved with the patch, so the master strategy should no longer be geared towards filling your shop with stew dispensing vending machines; this is a relief. The patch also expanded the game a fair amount. The developers certainly deserve credit for continued efforts to support the game, often the bête noire of even professional PC game developers.

The only improvement which would really be welcome is fully voiced character dialogue, however this is not really a reasonable expectation of an independent developer producing such a reasonably priced game; the production values, particularly art style and dialogue, are faultless for a doujin game. With plenty of events and game modes, it is long lasting too.


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