You shouldn’t overlook Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale. The indie JRPG by Carpe Fulgur came out of nowhere and stormed our hard drive right before it stole our hearts. It’s not often that we see such an excellent JRPG on the PC that’s not an MMO or a console port and we just can’t recommend it enough.
The game finds you playing the role of Recette, a young girl with an irresponsible father who abandoned her to pursue a career as an adventurer. The problem is that Recette’s father left her mired in debt. Enter the loan-shark/fairy Tear, who helps Recette transform her home into an item shop to help pay off her loan.
Recettear starts off simple. You’ll purchase items at a discount from the Merchant’s Guild and marketplace – and then display them in your shop window to lure customers. Then the haggling begins as you attempt to maximize profits on each sale. But don't be fooled by Recettear's straightforward appearance. It quickly blossoms into a surprisingly complex and challenging simulator, requiring careful planning as you develop your quaint store into a bustling super center.
Above: Recettear puts a neat twist on the usual JRPG format, placing you behind the counter of an up-and-coming shop
Each week, you’ll need to earn enough money to make a payment to Tear. The amount of these payments increases dramatically each week, making time your most valuable commodity. And that's where Recettear really takes off. How you choose to manage your time each day will determine if you'll be able to pay off Tear for another week as you chip away at the huge debt owed by your father.
Above: As you level up your Merchant Level, you’ll be able to purchase expansions, new decorations, and even vending machines to lure in more customers
It may seem like a good idea to just buy low and haggle with customers to sell items for as much as you can. But there are always other elements to consider in Recettear. You'll want to turn a profit on every sale, but haggling too much can drive customers away, leaving them with the impression that you're a stingy shopkeeper. But offer a deal that's just the right price or haggle back-and-forth just the right amount, and the word will spread around town that you always sell items for a fair price. Selling low to adventurer friends is also something you'll want to consider, as it will wind up with them being better equipped the next time you hire them to dungeon dive for you.
Above: It's easy to pay off Tear's weekly debts at first. But as she becomes more demanding, you'll find yourself scrambling and scheming to come up with the cash you'll need