Carpe Fulgur LLC
Recettear is one of those games you would look at and think "How is that going to sell for $20?" Recettear is also one of those games you'll definitely want to play a demo of. Thankfully, the developer thinks like us. I played the demo and was impressed by how smooth it runs, how funny it can be, and how fun running a weapon shop can be.
Recettear's story is a funny one, but it's not exactly important to read. Basically, you play as Recette, a girl trying to run her Father's old shop. A fairy/pixie named Tear helps you along the way and acts as a financial advisor and overall tutorial for the entire course of the game. Yes, I know what you're thinking: "The fairy helps you throughout the game? Sounds like Ocarina of Time!" Yeah, it's kind of like that.
In this game, there's a focus on paying off your Father's debts. You miss a payment, game over. This was a shocker for me, because I thought I was doing well under the payment was due. You really need to watch that due date and save money for it. This brings a sense of time management to the game, whether you like it or not. This is, however, overshadowed by a very lighthearted cast of characters and soundtrack. You'll hardly notice you're playing a tycoon game!
To make money, you sell various items in your shop. You can get items from a variety of places, but the best way is to traverse the dungeons, looking for loot. You do this by visiting the Adventurers' Guild and hiring an adventurer. This adds a sense of realism, making sense not to have a little girl fighting everything. Instead, Recette and Tear follow this adventurer through dungeons as spectators, and only the adventurer can be harmed.
You play as the adventurer during these dungeon runs, but the controls are extremely simple (and there is gamepad support), so you should be able to jump right into the first dungeon. You basically move and attack, mostly killing slime and mushroom creatures. It sounds easy, but it's not. You will have to be careful with your health (the red meter) and your energy (the blue meter). Your health depletes whenever you get hit or take poison damage, and if you lose all your health, you lose all your items (except one) and exit the dungeon. Your energy depletes when you use your special attack. Your special attack is rarely needed but helps a lot against bosses, so you'll want to save it for special occasions.
Boss battles are very creative. The first boss is fairly easy, though. You fight a bouncing slime monster. Each time you hit it, it loses more slime, but they become smaller slime creatures. You have to hit the boss and follow that with killing the creatures it spawns. If the boss falls onto another slime, it regains its size and its health. It's a very easy battle, but it's also a neat concept to see in a dungeon-crawling game.
Overall, Recettear reminds me of classic PS1 RPGs, and it does a great job of supporting controllers, too! The graphics seem a little dated, but they're bearable and have that anime charm. The game also slightly resembles Graal or Link to the Past when you run through a dungeon, hacking away at enemies. It differs from a Zelda game in the sense that there aren't as many buttons involved, and that's the biggest flaw of Recettear. You can't throw bombs, light a candle or even block projectiles. You can only move or attack, making the dungeons a bit of a bore.
This game is based on a Japanese comic or manga, and it is nice to see such a game getting attention in America. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a tycoon/hack-and-slash hybrid with anime characters. It definitely fills a void. Try the demo. If you like it and can afford it, support the developers and buy the game! It's not every day that you see developers releasing their games DRM-free!
Note: This game was made for Windows only, but you can get the non-Steam version to work perfectly on an Intel Mac via Crossover Software Installer.
Another thing to look for when browsing PC games is the system requirements. There are really 4 things you need to worry about: RAM or memory, processor, video card, and finally, the hard drive space. Memory can be upgraded fairly easily, and it shouldn't cost much. We recommend having at least 1GB memory, 2GB if possible. Your processor needs to be fairly modern, and a Pentium 4 probably won't cut it. We recommend a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo or better. Your video card should support DirectX 9 (or higher) and have a minimum of 256mb memory attached to it. We recommend 512mb or greater. Hard drive space is subjective, but we recommend having a fairly large amount of space. You could settle for as little as 40gb and be able to play most games, but we recommend having 80gb or more space to make sure you have room for multiple games at once. Most PC games don't run straight from their disc. They usually require an install process, and most modern games require around 8gb of free space to install.
PCs are the ultimate game console, because they can be upgraded, and they will never go out of style. PCs can also play most old game systems through emulators, so if you lose your Playstation, you can just play your games on your PC. You can also play classic arcade titles and have infinite coins!
A lot of people complain about having to use a mouse and keyboard to play PC games. This isn't a requirement, fortunately, and we have what we call gamepads or joypads. Yes, we can use game controllers! We can even use Xbox controllers! That said, it's not as plug-and-play as a game console, and some games simply will not work with your joypad. Fortunately, Steam tells you if games support controllers, and if your favorite game doesn't support them, you can map the controllers to keyboard and mouse controls.
Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.