Today’s Greenlight spotlight focuses on Shop Keep, a tycoon-style game by Strange Fire that puts you in the shoes of a shop keep in a fantasy adventure environment. While this is not a completely new idea, see Recettear, it definitely takes that concept and puts a nice personal spin on it. Shop Keep differs most noticeably in the fact that the game is completely in 3D, and while the graphics are by no means mind-blowing, they get the job done.
Shop Keep will feature both a free mode, which allows you to go crazy and build the shop of your dreams, as well as a scenario mode, which will provide basic objectives that you must meet as well as make you pay taxes every five minutes in order to keep your shop open for business. I definitely feel like in a game such as this I would much prefer to play the free mode, as I always do when it comes to tycoon games. There’s just something about starting with absolutely nothing and building your way up that the scenarios never could match for me.
Each customer in Shop Keep has their own personality, needs, and amounts that they are willing to part with. Some are mages, some warriors, and some rogues, and each have their own unique items that they will be shopping for, thus it is important that you keep your shop’s stock balanced in order to accommodate the maximum number of customers and generate the highest amount of income. There is also outside word-of-mouth that generates interest in your shop, so keeping the customers happy is crucial to running a successful business, much like in the real world.
In terms of shop creation, each player will start with an empty floor, which they can then fill with a few starting display areas, counters, and other important items and place them to their liking. This allows for full customization of your shop, as well as strategic options for optimizing the display area of your shop. It is definitely possible for your shop to run out of items, so it is important to keep up with demand for items or risk losing customers and having some negative publicity buzzing throughout the city. A tip from the developers says that it is better to close your shop early if you run out of stock than to allow customers to shop in an empty store, so be sure to keep this in mind. Keeping your shelves stocked revolves around ordering product. This definitely takes a bit of skill as it revolves around having a good knowledge of what type of products are selling as well as understanding supply and demand. Once you get your items, you will have to rely on your placement skills to ensure that you can get as many products on the shelves as possible. Finally, you are able to set the prices individually for items. This means that if you are expecting a rush of wealthy customers on a particular day, you can raise the prices of items to increase your profit.
Honestly, I feel that the Greenlight page’s write-up doesn’t do the game justice, as it seems to leave out some of the features of the game. For example, I saw that there are traps that you can place in your shop in one of the trailers, which showed off a thief zapper trap that killed a thief when he tried to exit the store with stolen goods. While I didn’t see this mentioned in the write-up, this is definitely a cool feature as it almost gives the game a tower-defense feel, which will really add a nice bit of flavor to the already interesting gameplay.
All in all, Shop Keep sounds like a blast to play, and I could really see myself spending many hours creating and optimizing my shop. While I never got into Recettear because of the anime theme and the JRPG mechanics, I think Shop Keep will do well to keep my interest. One thing I would definitely like to see improved is the graphics of the game. As I said earlier, the art style gets the job done, but that’s about it. Other than that though, I can’t really find much else to complain about with the game. The feature list seems very solid, and I look forward to seeing more of the game as the development progresses. Shop Keep looks like a bundle of fun, and if you like what you see, you can find it on Greenlight, where I definitely recommend leaving a vote and some constructive feedback.