Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
trails in the sky

Carpe Fulgur - the tiny translation/localisation team that brought the West Recettear, Chantelise and Fortune Summoners - is doing just fine, as reported on the company's blog. They may have been outwardly fairly quiet since the release of Fortune Summoners, but they've been beavering away at their biggest localisation job yet: XSEED's Trails in the Sky. To clarify: they're doing the second chapter of the celebrated JRPG series, with the first heading to Western PCs sometime this Winter, without their involvement.

Other tasty TitS-bits from the post include the fact that Recettear has sold a whopping 300,000 copies to date, which along with the "successful" Chantelise and Fortune Summoners means that "Carpe Fulgur has never been healthier" - something that should ease the minds of fans worried that the team may have fallen off the map.

As for the just revealed Trails in the Sky: SC, Carpe Fulgur's Andrew Dice is of the opinion that it is "not just our largest localization to date, but is without hyperbole one of the largest projects in the history of the industry." Blimey. Carpe Fulgur are handling the localisation of Trails SC , while FC "was done some years ago and nearly drove poor Jessica Chavez of XSEED mad in the attempt". That's coming to PC this Winter, while Carpe Fulgur's herculean effort is arriving next year. There's also a third chapter awaiting translation - but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

My JRPG knowledge has seriously lapsed since the late 90s, but I've heard good things about Trails in the Sky. As with the Ys games, Trails will be heading to Steam. Read Andrew Dice's blog post for more info, or stick around for a ridiculously brief announcement trailer.

(Ta, PCGamesN.)

Oct 18, 2010
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale

Don’t you just hate trying to vanquish evil on a budget? Dragon bearing down on the town? Entire world facing apocalypse? Don’t expect so much as a discount. Shopkeepers? Bastards.

Well, perhaps not. Recettear puts you on the other side of the counter, where saving the world doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a roof over your head afterwards. You play Recette, a young girl whose adventurer father has saddled her with a debt so large, his loan shark won’t even tell her how much she owes. To save her house, she converts it into an item shop, where you have to buy low, sell high, and occasionally head into dungeons with a mercenary hero to stock up on supplies, all while struggling to make the impossible weekly payments.

That’s the theory. Really, that’s not quite what Recettear is about. Your main resource isn’t money, it’s experience, to the point that if you follow the tutorial’s advice to haggle a few extra coins per purchase, you’ll fail almost immediately.

Instead, you’re better off making only slight profits but plentiful sales, This earns you a combo-bonus to your merchant XP that unlocks far more valuable abilities and store upgrades, as well as making your customers like you enough to spend big when you get your hands on the good stuff. In short, you quickly learn to sell everything at 104/5% and buy at around 70%, with only occasional exceptions.
Small change
Much of the game also relies heavily on luck – or at least unexplained triggers. You can’t rely on getting the right item-crafting ingredients in the dungeons, or on certain important characters turning up during the story. If the lady thief Charme never comes a-shopping, for instance, you won’t get access to the crucial third dungeon. Equally, nothing good comes if con artist Euria pays a visit.

In traditional Japanese RPG style, there’ll be FAQs available online that explain the ins-and-outs, but avoid these: they’re killers of fun. Recettear is adorable, which makes just piecing together the rules a fun experience. If you do fail, (and you will, at least once), you’re booted back to the start of the game, but retain your character’s level and stocks, along with a fully kitted-out hero. After the (short) campaign come extended play modes with more content, but the story mode is the real hook.

The odd thing is that while every element of Recettear is dirt-simple and easy to pick holes in, the game as a whole is incredibly likeable. It’s funny, well translated, and while you do spend most of it doing the exact same simple things, doing so quickly becomes a frothy, capitalistic bubblewrap. It won’t make you long for Hawke, Shepard and your other favourite RPG heroes to put down their swords and laser rifles in favour of BOGOF deals and pricing guns, but it’s a fun weekend job.

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