Thursday, February 10, 2011

2010 Games of the Year #2 - Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

From the moment I saw the title of this game on Steam, I was intrigued. One of my favorite aspects of World of Warcraft is the buying and selling that goes on in the auction house, so a game that transfers focus onto that aspect is definitely going to draw my attention. But even with my interest piqued, I didn't expect to love the game as much as I have.

You take on the role of a child who has to turn her home into an item shop in order to pay down her now-missing father's extraordinary debt. The game does a good job of walking you through the beginning, and opening up options over time rather than overwhelming you early on. But you also stand virtually zero chance of actually beating the game the first time through. It's got a similar feature to Dead Rising, where you can start your game over, keeping your merchant level and purchased goods. And most people should be able to generate enough money to pay off the debt by their second playthrough.

Yes, buying and selling products is a big part of the game, and yes, I do enjoy it. But luckily, that's only half of the game. The other half is a dungeon-crawler, with several different warriors to choose from. You pay a hero and send him/her off into a dungeon to fetch treasures that you can sell at your store. The different champions have surprisingly different abilities and play styles, and you learn to appreciate each of them in their own way. You gain one companion early on, but as you progress through the dungeons and meet more people around town, you gain several more warriors to choose from.

The strongest evidence in support of Recettear being near the top of my list is simply that I've poured a ton of time into it. Between the two games I've played (at home and at work), I've put in over 40 hours of game time, and I don't foresee it dropping off any time soon. That's partly because my gaming options at work are limited, but also because the game is simply a lot of fun.

And I've still got so much left to do! There's at least one more warrior to unlock, tons of new gear to discover, and I'm less than halfway to the maximum merchant level. I expect to be playing Recettear plenty in 2011 as well.


Chip said...

I get no credit for introducing the game to you? Maybe I didn't, I don't remember, but I feel like I did.

Joe Mattingly said...

You didn't, but you were the one who told me Steam had a demo of it. So, well done with that. :)

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