Posted: May 26
If you’re the sort who enjoys whimsical and innovative games featuring various RPG elements, Recettear is for you… Unless you dislike anime and/or gaming, in which case: what are you even doing here? Recettear is a commerce simulator, rich in story, and inventive in its own entertaining way. While the story itself is short, it is highly addictive and extremely entertaining. Just remember to maintain your stock and prices when you find yourself on a questing spree.
Recettear is a charming tale revolving around a little girl, and a fairy loan shark. Recette Lemongrass is confronted by hardship when her father mysteriously vanishes, leaving her accountable for settling his debt. With the help of a fairy named Tear, Recette takes the necessary steps to pay back her father’s loan by turning her house into an item shop. She quickly learns that a lot of work goes into maintaining a shop: From interior design, to questing, to restocking, and to haggling prices. Recette must pay off a certain amount of the debt each week in order to keep everything that she knows and loves.
There is a lot of ground to cover in this category, as Recettear is an extremely well-developed game. As stated previously, this gem has introduced both RPG elements and commerce simulation in an innovative style.
Let’s start with the RPG elements. As a store owner, it is Recette’s responsibility to keep her shelves stocked for her customers. As a result, she has the option to accompany a dungeon crawling adventurer once a day, in order to acquire items and ingredients. While the dungeons can become a bit tedious, they are extremely worthwhile - and profitable. It should be noted that these particular ventures take more time than actually managing the shop. Did I mention that these dungeons are randomly generated? Guilty pleasure. After a dungeon crawl, don’t forget to check in with the Merchants Guild to fuse some new items. Recipes for these fusions are unlocked by your Merchant Level.
There is a time management system in place, so Recette will only be able to do a certain number of things per day.
Back to managing the shop, though. Eventually, Recette will learn to take orders in advance, and the player will need to ensure that the items are available when the customer returns. The haggling system in this game is worth mentioning, as Recette will be able to barter with her clientele. Much like the real world, if the price is set too high, the buyer will lose interest. Don’t fret too much over lost orders though, there are always more fish in the sea. Apart from purchasing random doohickeys from her customers, Recette will also be given the option to utilize vending machines for quick sales with set prices. It should also be noted that different aesthetic customizations made to the store will attract different pools of people.
Another really cool feature in this game is the shifting economy. While this won’t occur instantaneously in your first playthrough, you will eventually be alerted to certain goods becoming more valuable. When this happens, Recette can stock her shop with the rare goods (for instance candy), and sell it for ridiculous amounts of profit.
While the game might seem overwhelming at first, rest assured it is easy enough to learn, and quickly (if not instantly) becomes enjoyable.
My favourite feature of this game is its diverse set of characters. Too often in games, we’re subjected to multiple characters of the same flavour. Not in Recettear. Each character is unique, offering different lovable quirks.
The controls are pretty smooth, and there’s not a lot to complain about. The only problem I found was almost exclusively during dungeon runs. Sometimes the camera angle will deny you visibility, but it seems like such a small problem in the grand scheme of things. This game does offer controller support, which I recommend taking advantage of.
One thing that really stood out to me was the artwork in this game. Sure, it might seem a bit outdated if put in a side-by-side comparison to a few new releases, but overall the aesthetics are equally as cute as the game. I seriously doubt that the visual aesthetics of this game would be distracting to anyone who enjoys a retro feel.
I might be one of the strange ones, but I found the music to be oddly addicting. The OST is the perfect fit to emphasise the extremely pleasant atmosphere of Recettear. Unfortunately, for some, there really is no option for widescreen.
In my opinion, the replay value for this game is extremely high. Once the game has been cleared once, the player will be faced with three choices: New Game +, Endless Mode, and Survival Mode. Just be mindful not to play it if you have other commitments, this game is so hard to put down. Good luck finishing out your Item Encyclopedia!