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Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale on Game and Player

Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

Joseph G. Powell  //  September 20, 2010

Let's see more of these rare, Japanese gems.


ave you ever been playing an RPG and wondered how item shops get all that inventory and all the money to buy the stuff you no longer need? The mystery has been solved thanks to Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale. It was developed by a small Japanese company called EasyGameStation and translated to English by Carpe Fulger LLC.

Recettear is the story of a young girl named Recette who gets put in charge of running an item shop out of her home after her father mysteriously disappears and leaves the family with a large debt. A fairy collections agent named Tear helps her along the way with useful hints and tips.

Recettear's shop-running simulation portion of the game is a fun and unique experience.
When you start the game you don't have any inventory so you have to head over to the Merchant's Guild to buy some things. After acquiring a few items you head back to the shop to set it all up. The shop-running simulation portion of the game is a fun and unique experience. Shoppers of all ages come in to browse your wares. Placement of items is sometimes vital to making big sales or drawing in customers. Items placed in the window, which are your showcase items, tend to gain more attention from passers-by and sell easier. After making several sales your merchant level increases unlocking additional features such as advance ordering, d├ęcor changes, shelf placement, item fusion, and vending machines.

The simulation portion of the game only accounts for half of its content. The other half is a rogue-like dungeon-crawler. During your business hours you meet several unique characters. Some of these characters will form friendships with you and give you their Adventurer's Guild member card. Once you have possession of a card, you can hire the person at the Adventurer's Guild to explore a dungeon. More dungeons unlock as you progress through the game and meet certain conditions. Throughout the dungeons you find various items that can either be sold or used in fusion recipes. Every fifth level you might encounter a boss or find a special treasure (sometimes both) but you also have the option to go deeper if there are more levels or return to town.

Shop-simulation only accounts for half of the game's content. The other half is a rogue-like dungeon-crawler.
Each week you have to make a payment toward your debt. The payments get larger each week during the main story's five-week cycle. Failure to make a payment pushes you back to the first week with a small amount of money to you name, but you do get to keep all the inventory you own and your merchant level. It seems like a harsh punishment, though it is possible to finish the game without missing a payment the first time; and it gets easier with each loop if you stock up on items.

After completing the main story you unlock additional modes of play: New Game+, which is the normal game again but all items and levels are carried over; Endless mode, where you can run the shop and explore without worrying about debt repayments; Survival (Normal), which continues the game past the fifth week and keeps increasing the debt but imports data from NG+; and Survival (Hell), which is like Survival (Normal) but starts you off at Level 1 with no items. If you fail to make a payment in either survival mode it's Game Over.

Aside from the general game mechanics, some of the scripted events with NPCs become repetitious and annoying, but you have the option to skip them. Recettear really shines in its addictive simulation and exploration, and with all the extra game modes it has a very high replay value — especially for the low cost of the game. Because this is the developer's first project and it's only a very small group, Carpe Fulger LLC is counting on this game's success to help fund additional projects for their company. I wholly support them and hope they'll be localizing more of these rare gems from Japan soon. Capitalism, ho!

Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale





Carpe Fulger LLC

NA Release

September 10, 2010


Play Mode

ESRB Rating

In Favor

  • Addictive, creative simulation
  • Fun action/RPG dungeons
  • High replay value


  • Repetitious scripted events

G&P Rating

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