You’ll meet new adventurers and if you manage to befriend one, you can hire them to go dungeon diving. The adventurers you hire get to earn experience points while you get to keep all the free loot. Dungeon diving is a great way to increase your store’s inventory with free items, but it also takes up time that could have been spent keeping your store open for customers.
It's also one of the most annoying parts of the game. Dying is way too easy for adventurers until you level them up – and since you lose most of the loot you find when you die, you'll find yourself hitting the reset option way too often. Fortunately, once you level up one of your adventurers, dungeon diving becomes much more enjoyable. There's also a fun Boss Rush mode that opens up once you've cleared all the levels of an area, and the loot you find can help you restock your store shelves cheaply.
Above: It's always good to have a wide selection in your store's inventory. Not everyone needs expensive broadswords. Some customers just want something to eat for dinner
It's regrettable that Recettear is so short. But the extra New Game Plus and Survival Modes help remedy the game's brevity. Start a New Game Plus and you'll get to keep your Merchant Level, all your inventory of items, the character level of all the adventurer friends you've made. Starting with a high Merchant Level and seasoned adventurers means you'll be able to take full advantage of the game's Fusion system, which we barely touched during our first playthrough. This will allow you to craft lots of unique and high-quality items from ingredients found while dungeon diving. The Survival Mode pits you against a never ending wave of increasing debt payments with the goal being to see how long you can keep paying off Tear.
Above: Dungeon diving is a pain at first, but the battle system really opens up during your second playthrough
The extra modes sound tacked on. And they are. But that's okay, because the core gameplay of Recettear is so much fun that it's easy to continue obsessing over your profit margins and status of your store during multiple playthroughs as you continue to further expand your shop while improving the quality of your wares.
Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale is deceptively simple. Don't be fooled by its cute-sy look and playful trappings. This RPG is hard as hell and incredibly addictive. Plus, with the extra post-game modes, it manages to deliver an excellent amount of value for your gaming buck.
Sep 16, 2010