Shoppe Keep had its full release a few months ago, having bobbed around early-access for around a year and gathering a fair following of fans. So for those people who didn’t pick up the game during its development, is it worth it now? I’ll be up front and say that I enjoyed my time with Shoppe Keep, however it still feels rather rough around the edges.
You learn how to play the game from multiple pages of a written tutorial, which can be quite full on for someone who are somewhat new to the shop simulation genre. Shoppe Keep does however have a steady progression curve, in what is available to the player from the start. You buy potions, run out to any passing person and sell them for a small profit. Repeat this process until filthy rich.
Realistically though the game takes a little while to get into a smooth rhythm of progress, if you make the wrong purchase at the start or didn’t read the tutorial in enough detail it takes time to buy what you want. I do have to admit that I cocked up a little bit at the start in two ways; the first being I bought a table that can hold medium items but I couldn’t afford any and the second was I was buying potions and selling them for the price I bought them for. Making zero profit because I didn’t know how to increase the price.
The game is played on a day by day basis, you have some time to build new item stands and set up your shop before starting each day. Once you start the day however, there is no way of changing the layout of your shop which is something of a minor complaint. The focus is always on trying to make a profit, managing your stock and developing skills. It took me until around day 7 to really find my stride, when I had a steady flow of customers throughout the day and enough to keep myself busy. Before that I would have to leave the shop to run around chasing customers to empty my pockets of potions.
I began enjoying Shoppe Keep a lot more once I had all those customers and I could happily watch my gold count rise and rise. There is a lot of content on offer here, which is delightfully unlocked one part at the time to slowly build up the complexity of the game. The additions vary from having your own helper bot, champion management and alchemy. Most of which streamline the way you hand customers or how you discover rarer items.
Players need to discover their own balance between managing stock and watching over their shop. I found myself being constantly aware of the maintenance that I would have to carry out, such as sweeping the floors, repairing shelves and tending to my garden. The cruel nature of the thieves in the game does cause them to strike when you least expect it, grabbing some of your expensive swords and sprinting for the hills.
Catching a thief is quite satisfying, but you soon discover that their bodies don’t disappear at all. There is actually a talent inside the skill tree that allows you to move bodies as opposed to have them scattered around your shop floor. I can imagine it being rather disturbing to go shield shopping and to find the shop keeper has a small pile of seven skeletons just causally in one corner.
Now onto some of my personal pet peeves with this game, I found myself often confused by the layout of the menus. Years of gaming has led me to assume that things like resume would always be at the top, but Shoppe Keep has a weird order which honestly felt a little jarring. When the game isn’t paused however, the menus function perfectly fine it was just something that I noticed and couldn’t help but notice. It would also be a little convenient to have a slightly larger starting amount of gold, because as mentioned with my cock-up set me back and honestly slowed the game by a few days. Obviously had I just read through the tutorial it could’ve been avoided but it can be quite daunting to be hit with a wall of words at the start of a new game.
Looking at my steam page now, I’ve clocked in something around three hours into Shoppe Keep and there seems to be so much more content to explore. Some points on the skill tree are incredibly expensive, so it does give some drive to keep completing tasks to finally unlock champions or wizard gear which is a what does lead to some slightly addictive gameplay.
Back to my earlier point of Shoppe Keep being rough around the edges, if you look at some of the Steam negative reviews a lot of players feel that the game doesn’t feel like a released title just yet and honestly I can’t help but agree. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Shoppe Keep, it’s been a blast but there is some much-needed polish around aspects of the game. What I will say is that for the current £7 price point, you would definitely find you money’s worth inside Shoppe Keep. It does seem that there hasn’t been an update for the game in quite the while, so buyers will need to accept the game in its current state. Overall, Shoppe Keep is no doubt going to turn into a serious addiction (in a good way) for a good few people!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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