We can’t all be the hero of light.
The Final Fantasy series would have us believe that we just need a few friends, maybe one guy as a gil-stealing thief with a sword that's preferably twice our size and full of magic stones, and an airship. Now where the hell am I going to get an airship? Those things don’t grow on trees, at least not like my sword’s magic stones. There’s a point in every role-playing game where I want to throw my hands up, move home, and open my very own item shop instead.
Enter Weapon Shop de Omasse. There have been few other games that explore what it would mean to be a hero around town, the savior of wallets bursting with credits rather than the savior of the entire freakin’ universe. Jeez, universe, how about you back off while I’m recovering from amnesia? Stop trying to thrust the fate of the entire world on me when I want nothing more than a register and a stockpile of carefully-priced weapons. Despite the simple life’s appeal, I couldn’t help but feel like hiring a helping hand so I could still get some adventuring in.
Weapon Shop de Omasse is the final entry in Level-5’s Guild 01 series with each game slowly making its way stateside via the Nintendo 3DS' eShop. Guild 01 isn’t so much a series as it is a collection of concepts developed just enough to give us a few interesting new games to play. While Aero Porter puzzled gamers with sorting luggage at an airport and Liberation Maiden gave us control over a mecha-piloting president, Crimson Shroud and Weapon Shope de Omasse both take interesting looks at role-playing games, with Weapon Shop focusing on rhythm-based weapon-crafting for the adventuring heroes out to save the universe.
Players will be introduced to the father-son duo running Omasse’s weapon shop before learning the weapon-crafting ropes that rely heavily on the 3DS touchscreen. Players tap the screen to a beat to successfully forge hot metal into a new weapon, but it’s not as simple as tapping anywhere on the touchscreen. While keeping the beat, the metal must be shaped into different types of weapons including axes, spears, and swords while maintaining the material temperature with fire and water.
If it sounds confusing, it’s because in practice it kind of is. Seeing the gameplay in action connects a lot of dots, so I can’t fault Weapon Shop for trying something totally new and unique in spite of mounting confusion. For a rhythm game, it’s as inventive as Elite Beat Agents, though not nearly as joyous and exuberant about would-be mundanity. The father and son shop duo make for plenty of entertaining and winking dialogue, but repeating actions over and over again gets stale fast.
Every weapon made gets stats assigned based on the quality of work. Screw up a katana and its critical hit rate will drop or it’ll be missing a desired special effect, but no matter the result, it usually comes close to the specs the customer desires. Once the happy customer leaves, Weapon Shop gives status updates from the adventure and if the journey is completed, the shop will finally receive payment. If the adventurer should fall, the weapon will be destroyed and our blacksmiths will never see a cent for their hard work.
Risk versus reward doesn’t really come into the equation. Either do the job right or forge a metal cup to collect change around town. While the writing is genuinely funny, especially for RPG fans who’ll get all the inside jokes and absurdities, the overall experience feels repetitive and not all that rewarding. Weapon Shop de Omasse light-heartedly pokes fun at role-playing games, but more often than not I felt inspired to go live the grand adventures my customers set out on.
Anyone with only a passing interest in epic hundred-hour tales of good and evil should stay away. With the game costing only $7.99 as a digital download, those steeped in the Japanese role-playing games will love mixing a massive adventure and Weapon Shop during long gaming sessions.
Code provided by publisher. Exclusive to Nintendo 3DS.