Recettear: Crafting

I’m finding this game has a bit of a pull to it. I’ve kind of established that it’s a sort of rival in my mind to Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble, the other unconventional indie RPG with an underage female noncombatant protagonist that I’ve started playing recently, but of the two, this is the one that I feel the greater urge to play. I think the reasons are mainly superficial: it’s got brighter colors and happier music, and it’s got progress bars all over the place. Sometimes you just want to watch a progress bar fill up, you know?

I’ve raised Recette (the player character) to merchant level 5, which is the point where the crafting system opens up, allowing you to combine several items into something that commands a much higher price. Crafting is simply a matter of selecting a recipe from a pre-set list. In a nice bit of UI design, the recipes you can complete with stuff in hand are highlighted, while the ones containing ingredients you’ve never even seen are grayed out. Some of the ingredients are things you can buy, others are monster-leavings that you need to pick up in dungeons. And that’s where it gets a little interesting. Dungeon-delving always takes a full day, which is time not spent selling stuff, and your carrying capacity in the dungeons is limited. So for maximal efficiency, you have to pick up only the stuff that you don’t have a lot of already. But some of the time, monster leavings are unidentified, shown only as a question mark on the screen. However, your chances of identifying a thing increase with your merchant level. This is a crucial touch for making the feedback between merchanting and adventuring go both ways. I’ve found myself thinking “I really ought to go adventuring again to pick up more stuff, but I’m almost to the next merchant level, and it’ll go a lot better if I wait”.

Add to this the tactical consideration that making a trip to the wholesalers to pick up new supply is counted as taking time, but stopping by the wholesalers on the way back from the dungeons doesn’t take any time at all. Laying in a large enough stock to keep you going until your next dungeon trip can be worth it, but not if it means buying fewer big-ticket items that you can turn over for a big profit quickly. So, yeah, I’m starting to see the market side of this game as more significant, even if it is still the dungeoneering that’s taking up the majority of my time. Possibly it’s just stealthier about its less-conventional aspects than I expected, designed from the assumption that it needs to provide an ordinary RPG experience at first and easing in the details of the marketplace slowly so as to not scare people off.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jota on 27 Dec 2010

    The game isn’t really clear on certain aspects of how time passes. I believe that if you go into a dungeon first thing in the morning, and then come straight back to the shop afterward (without stopping anywhere in town on the way out or on the way back), you actually will have time to put in a shift at the shop.

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