RPGs have featured countless shops over the years but few games showcase what it's like to actually run one. From menial tasks to managerial decisions, Shoppe Keep will keep you busy optimizing your little store so let's make some precious gold.
When I first started playing Shoppe Keep, I didn't get it. In fact, it took me a long time to even figure out how to start playing. However, once it all clicked; I started having a great time running my very own RPG shop. You'll do everything from sweeping the floor to murdering thieves and restocking items to growing your own produce. When you first begin playing, you'll offer a small selection of items to a limited variety of customers but as you progress and complete quests, you'll unlock a wider array of goods as well as more diverse clientele. You'll have to constantly stay busy because if any aspect goes neglected then your shop will be a less desirable location. For example, you don't want rats running around or shelves collapsing, do you? From finding fun items in the trash like pet rocks and the ring from The Lord of the Rings to dealing with barbarians; the gameplay is simply addictive and gets more rewarding as you progress.
As you can already see via the screenshots, Shoppe Keep's visuals certainly aren't the best. Although there's charm in the retro 3D style, the graphics simply don't feel finished. For example, you seem to run through doors as opposed to opening them and customers tend to glitch out by stuttering as they walk around. There's also plenty of screen tearing and other visual oddities. If you can overcome these graphical limitations then the gameplay is enjoyable but it would be even more fun if the visuals featured a memorable style. On the plus side, you get to extend your middle finger whenever you wish which is always funny... right?
The amount of unlockables in Shoppe Keep is impressive to say the least. Even though the entire game takes place within the same small environment, being rewarded with a constant stream of additional content helps keep the game feeling fresh throughout. From basics like making your customers want to pay more and having shipments arrive faster to more advanced features like creating robot helpers and gardening; there's certainly a lot to do. You start by just selling items to warriors but later on, you can stock items that'll appeal to mages, rogues, and druids, too. Once your store gets popular, barbarians may invade just to rain on your parade but you can always fight them off or even offer them some delicious meats. There's so much to see and do that you'll happily play for hours at a time.
Finally, Shoppe Keep's gameplay takes a lot to get used to. As I already touched upon, it took me a long time to figure out how to play it. This is due to two primary reasons: the lack of an interactive tutorial and the poor adaptation from PC. The instructions are merely composed of text and the controls are very finicky and clumsy. It'll make you wish you could play with a mouse instead of a controller.
Another aspect of the gameplay that takes away from the fun is that things can get overwhelming quite fast. Once your shop begins offering a decent amount of goods, ensuring that everything is restocked is difficult enough on its own but then you have multiple people stealing stuff at the same time, increasingly filthy floors, collapsing shelves, and barbarians coming to end your life. Whenever this amount of chaos occurred, I felt like quitting because it's just too much to deal with, especially with the unintuitive controls.
Shoppe Keep is a fun and addictive simulation experience. Its poor adaptation to console and subpar visuals may hold it back from being fully immersive but what's here is still enjoyable enough to warrant a download for those curious about its premise.
- + Addictive store management gameplay that gets more rewarding as you play
- + Great variety of unlockables
- + You can give the middle finger
- - Steep initial learning curve / clumsy controls take a lot of getting used to
- - Gameplay can get overwhelming
- - Visuals are poor quality and glitchy