At first glance this game seems a quirky little shop management game. I first saw it when Sips played it and, while it didn’t make me rush to buy it, it looked interesting enough. Fast forward to a few versions later, it’s out of early access and shouldn’t be.
I’ll cover the good bits before I cover all of the bad:
It’s easy for passing the time. Think Viscera Cleanup Detail in that it’s not hard but takes time and requires about 50% attention. That’s how I’ve been playing it; having it on while watching something. This becomes especially easy once you manage to automate the security and restocking of your shop, but it got to a point when it was boring. Oh wait. Good stuff first.
It can be funny. In places. Some comments, products and NPC names can get a chuckle the first time, but with such a massive overturn of customers and items, they get repetitive VERY fast. I played under 40 days and I was already tired of them.
The cartoony graphics are okay.
So with the good bits done, I can talk about the bad stuff:
This game is awful. As in the gameplay is dull, repetitive and poorly-done. Your job each given day is to restock, protect against thieves, pick up dropped items and fight off barbarians. The actual restocking, security and item picking-up can all be done by helper bots, leaving you with just ordering new items and fighting barbarians… Except both are done to be as awkward and unwieldy as possible.
Barbarians first. After you unlock a certain skill that massively increases the number of customers, it also causes daily barbarian attacks. And I mean once or twice a day, scattering your customers and making you wait for them to approach. You have to let them approach because otherwise you have to walk all over the map cleaning up the dead bodies which reduce customer interest in the shop.
Your magic is the best way to fight them – one blast and they’re a skeleton – but it takes too long to recharge to use all the time. Nope, you’ll have to use your sword sometimes, lazily swinging at the air in front of you…and hitting any of your own displays that happen to be within a few feet. They’re then either damaged or destroyed, coincidentally exactly what the barbarians would have done. If you want this to be a game where you don’t have to pay attention all the time just in case your shop is attacked, DON’T buy that skill.
As for restocking, the UI is awful. Like truly terrible. It’s very awkward with different buttons used to close it depending on what you’re doing exactly; it’s hard to explain exactly, but I’ve previously been stuck looking in a chest because I accidentally opened up another menu while there and it wouldn’t let me close either. It’s also incredibly easy to misclick and break your automation such as when you’re spamming mouse clicks to move items around. Each item has to be individually moved between inventories by clicking it once. Considering there’s an achievement for buying 20,000 items, that’s some idea of how much you might need to click in this game. There sorely needs to be a button to move all items of one type into the adjacent inventory; lucky this game is still in early access, eh?
But it’s not. It’s a fully-released game. I’ve seen this a couple of times when a game ‘releases’ out of early access and it’s just as buggy and unfinished as before. I don’t know why they do this, but it means I don’t need to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’ll fix the bug.
I’m gonna mention the clicking thing again because of how large a portion of the game it is. With a fully-automated shop, I’d still have to buy in items to keep my bots stocked. Say I need 20 health potions because they sell well; I have to open the buy menu, click Health Potion 20 times, receive the order, go to my stock bot, open the bot’s inventory and click 20 more times to transfer the stuff. And if I click 21 times, it’ll reassign my bot to pick-up duty or something. Now imagine doing that with about 150 items PER DAY.
And that brings me to the repairing. Your displays deteriorate over time and with customer use, so you need to go around with a hammer and repair them with a few clicks. Each. On a daily basis. I had about 50 displays spread out over my shop and it’d take about 10 minutes to go around and fix them all after a single day’s shopping. It’s busywork without the sense of achievement you get from VCD because it’s like cleaning a sewage outlet pipe; there’s always more sh*t to deal with.
Last thing I’ll complain about (ignoring the vestigial crafting portion of the game) is the reason I finally quit; achievements. I am an avid achievement farmer so I saw this game as a boring, but easily-100%able game. I was wrong. It’s impossible to 100%. And I don’t mean having to play 365 days when 40 was a colossal chore. I mean that 2 of the achievements are unachievable by new players.
One is described as ‘You helped make Shoppe Keep a reality’, so I’d guess it’s some kind of early backer/kickstarter deal. Nice that they wanted to thank the people who made it possible, but that’s not how to do it.
The other is worse… You have to be a developer to get it. As in a developer of Shoppe Keep. They gave themselves their own private achievement. Wow.
I mean I hate the ones that are ‘play this game against someone with this achievement’ because they give them to the devs and let it radiate outwards like a plague of triumph, but this…this is torture.
When I found out this was what those two achievements are for, I decided not to waste any more of my time with it. If they patch those two ‘achievements’ out, I might come back and 100% it to add to my Perfect Games list, but it’ll be a resentful 100% born of perfectionism and not any love for this poorly-made, unfinished and inefficient game. Go play Viscera Cleanup and Recettear instead. They’re much better games and would give the same general feel.