Posted: March 30
Have you wondered what it would be like to run a shop as an anime girl in a Japanese RPG? If so, then Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is what you’ve so desired. And it IS an indie game, which again shows that, as usual, the AAA games industry can’t be counted on to touch the part of us which wants to play as a pretty little girl.
One of this game’s taglines is “Capitalism, ho!” Recette, the protagonist and girl, says it with a big smile, and her eyes closed. Or maybe that’s how I remember her. With her open, maroon vest, green tie, belt buckle, and those two, large, red beads, maintaining strands of her caramel-colored hair in a tail beside her head. Plus that mortified facial expression of hers, whenever she hears opinions disparaging her business. She is so young.
The game, though. There’s more to it than those tan sleeves, over arms which she keeps parallel to her sides, with her palms wide open, giving the appearance of an angel. There is, indeed, more to the game. For example: does she live alone? Sort of. She lives with a fairy. Her mother seems to have passed away. And as for her dad, he seems to have abandoned her, and with lots of debt. You must be the godlike father she evidently never had. You must take possession of her body and ensure she pays off her dad’s debt so as to avoid being dispossessed of everything except, perhaps, her clothes.
Alas, that form of losing leads to one of the game’s weak points. For if you do lose (if you can’t pay your in-game debtors), you start from the “beginning,” with many of the advantages you’ve accrued in your defunct playthrough. This has you suffer what was already an uninspired dungeon crawler even more, as you’re sort of playing it all over again. It is by this and other means that you get to see little Recette running around, pit pat pit pat. By these you get to see her buy valuable items at low prices and sell them at high prices. You get to watch her go to sleep and awake, and reveal her innermost thoughts to her fairy friend. And it is all well-written, well-drawn, and….