Capitalism ho!

How does one describe Recettear? Is it an RPG? A merchant sim? A hentai, even? Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale takes place in a fantasy world, but the dungeon crawling and monster slaying is left to adventurers you hire. The real draw of the game is it’s Animal Crossing-like appeal wherein you have to pay off your mortgage; the difference is you have to pay it in increments every in-game week, and if you don’t pay up you go on a cardboard box adventure and become homeless.

Currently, as this is being written, I have 13 hours logged into the game, it’s not a lot but it’s more then enough to summarize the game-play and tell you my feelings on it’s strange approach to the world of JRPGS.

You play the role of an adorable, moe female protagonist named Recette, who, until the beginning of the game was very blissfully ignorant and dependent on her father. One day a representative of the bank comes to your house to inform you that your mortgage is due, but being poor Recette, you have no money and your father is currently out adventuring! So, what to do but convert your house into a shop and start working to pay off your father’s debt until he comes back.

The story isn’t exactly cliché, but it certainly is not original either. The story doesn’t stop it from being an amazing game however, and there is nothing quite like it anywhere. After paying off your debt to the bank, the game and plot continue for some time, and while I do wish more time could be spent in your quaint, relaxing shop, leaving and going dungeon crawling or town exploring can be literally a breath of fresh air. Though there is endless and challenge modes available after completing the game, the real draw is owning your shop, becoming self reliant, and just relaxing as customers browse your items.

As stated before, the dungeon crawling isn’t how you progress in the game, but it is important. As Recette, you will never fight goblins or giant spiders, but, you can hire adventurers that you meet through various circumstances to do the dungeon exploring for you. Utilizing a unique system of fighting, you take control over the adventurer you hire for a menial fee, and you guide Recette and her companion Tear (the representative of the bank,) through various floors of dungeons with a fighting style similar to Torchlight and the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. Collecting items and fighting your way through four floors of the dungeon will place you in the final stage of that dungeon crawl, wherein you will either fight a themed boss, find a treasure chest, or duel with another character or villain.

For me, Recettear was all about the experience and joy the game can bring to you. It is probably one of the most happy, casual games of last year, but it can be played however you want. Whether you like merchant level grinding, dungeon exploring, boss-fighting, character development, or just about anything else, you can find it in this game.

I’d give it 8/10 onigiri.