Hey gang, Valkor here. And I have to say that the gang over at Level 5 makes some of the most interesting and unique games I've played in a long while; Ni No Kuni, The Starship Damrey, and Attack of the Friday Monsters are some of the most charming and enjoyable titles I’ve played in quite a while, especially when you’re looking for something to just mellow with and yet still be engaging. The next title the crew has churned out, Weapon Shop de Omasse, has its charms but is rather repetitive. And yet, I had a nice time with it.
In Weapon Shop, you play as Yuhan, a blacksmith apprentice who helps run a shop that builds and rents weapons to a wide variety of characters that happen to need their services. It’s a different twist on your typical RPGs as you play the guy who sells the weapons as opposed to you buying from them for your own journey. When customers enter your shop, they’ll have specific needs that need to be fulfilled. When you're ready, you head to the forge; forging weapons uses rhythmic gameplay (i.e. Guitar Hero) as you tap your stylus around a heated slab of metal to the beat of a tune, matching the hammer strokes of your master until your weapon takes shape. The beats start out simple enough but as you progress, the tempo picks up and soon you’ll have to double/triple tap your way through a tune. Thankfully the numbers are short so you can get right back to making new weapons in no time. Succeed and you’ll make a fine weapon that will most assuredly please your customer. Fail and they will either fail in their quest and/or lose the weapon altogether. Either success or failure, in the end it will be how your shop will be graded – the better you do in crafting weapons that succeed, the more customers will visit and the higher you'll rank. And as I learned through play, some weapons are easier to craft than others; I actually started over because I was making weapons willy-nilly, when in fact I should have been playing more focused minded. And in doing so I went from making weapons that were “not bad” to “good/great/master”.
Weapon Shop plays out like a crazy sitcom complete with an audience track (for laughs, cheers, ooos and aaaahhs). So anytime a new character enters the shop, the crowd reacts. The game is text heavy not just with the dialogue but also keeping track of your weapons the characters use through what's called “Grindcast” (kind of like an in-game Twitter complete with characters using hashtags). You’ll be able to track a customer’s adventure through Grindcast; learning from how they pass/fail their quest will help you mold better weapons later on. And there are many “character” types that visit the shop including a huge tranny, a samurai and a wannabe hero – they’re completely off the wall. You can also speed through Grindcast if you want to quickly get to the end of the journey and that’s only if you’re gonna focus on the messages rather than forging weapons. Also Yuhan isn’t alone as his master Oyaji is there to back him up, give tips on what weapons need to be created and to refill certain stock when necessary.
Back to the weapons; it’s not just creating the weapons; first up you can also boost their stats by polishing them. And just before you start forging your weapons you can add materials to the mix that will give your weapons special attributes such as paralyzing or poisoning the enemy. I’ve made a few weapons but have never seen them in action during Grindcast moments (more about that later). Materials can either be purchased or you’ll receive them in addition to your payments from adventurers.
Weapon Shop De Omasse reminds me of Attack of the Friday Monsters in that it might not be for everyone; there isn’t any action, it require tons of reading, and the rhythm aspect of the game isn’t anything like Guitar Hero. I’m all about being different and I occasionally like to wander off the beaten path, so I was all in when it came time to dive into this one.
I’ll admit, it took me a hot minute (i.e. a couple of days) to completely wrap my head around this game; it wasn’t until I started over that I finally got where the game was going and I really started to enjoy it. What I mainly liked about Weapon Shop was the corny dialogue – and from a guy who's a fan of the cheesiest of films, this was right up my alley. Some of the things these characters say are just too silly and then there’s the hashtags in Grindcast (nice touches).The dialogue between Yuhan and Oyaji along with the colorful cast of characters can be dry at times, but I chuckled more than once and nearly lost it when Mr. Grape (the huge Tranny with the ass-out costume) arrived. Grandma Snow and or mindlessness was adorable, even the Samurai scored some points with me and I truly began to connect with these characters over time. In turn I began caring whether or not the weapon I created was good enough, so I became more focused on my taps, getting the perfect heat and when to turn the slap over. I didn't care much at first and a lot of the typical NPCs would fail or lose a weapon in my initial run, but not so much during my second go at the game. Now the rhythm aspect of the game… it can be fun and the few tunes that are there are quite catchy, very bouncy and reminds me of an older 70s/80s style anime tunes. Overall, I enjoyed the idea behind Weapon Shop de Omasse and I hope Level 5 is working on a much broader sequel – yes I would like to see another title;
And that’s the sad part about Weapon Shop – it gets repetitive very quickly; each weapon you craft comes with a particular tune, but it’s almost always the same tune (I think there is a total of three or four tunes in game); once you’ve, mastered the ditty you can easily master matching the notes. Also the animation of Yuhan as he wanders the shop before you make a selection is just too silly for words because he doesn’t do much of anything. Now that might be nitpicking I know, but I think he should have been given a variety of things to do such as sweep, maybe straighten up a bit, dust, anything other than just plod around the shop aimlessly. Finally there’s Grindcast; uless you don't do anything, you won’t get much of an opportunity to read what’s going on especially when you’re spending more time creating weapons (which require some focus) or polishing them (which requires less focus). Either way your attention is more towards the bottom of the screen than the top so you miss out on a lot of the action.
Mr. Grape. HA! That ass out tho… it’s brief but visible.
Weapon Shop de Omasse is available now through the Nintendo eShop. And if you’re looking for something different that’s charming, fun and entertaining albeit repetitive, you should seriously consider giving this one a try. I never would have thought I’d enjoy a game about creating weapons for RPG characters, but I had fun with this title and if you can handle change then you might enjoy it as well. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give Weapon Shop de Omasse a 3.5. And I hope Level 5 continues stepping away from tradition and to keep making this fun and unique titles.