Monday, February 17, 2014

Forging ahead: Weapon Shop De Omasse is coming to the 3DS eShop

Way back in 2012, Level-5 - of Professor Layton fame - put together an intriguing raft of games called the Guild01 collection.

This nimble quartet of games featured some of Japan's top game design talent, with Level-5 stepping in to shoulder the publishing duties. Suda51's top-down space shooter Liberation Maiden came out first, followed by Yoot Saito's luggage handling sim Aero Porter, and then Yasumi Matsuno's old school, dice-chucking RPG Crimson Shroud.

Japan saw a fourth game as part of the Guild01 collection - Weapon Shop de Omasse - an offbeat comedy which cast players in the role of a weapon store owner in a generic RPG community.

Omasse never made its way overseas with the rest of the Guild01 games thanks to the steep cost involved in localizing its text (seriously, how could it be more intensive than Crimson Shroud?) and its "questionable" audience size - but that's going to change this week and the 3DS gamespace will be more awesome for it.

In Omasse, you take control of a father/son blacksmithing team whose livelihood depends on forging weapons for dungeon-crawling adventurers.

If you forge the right weapon for the right adventurer well, they'll return and pay you for your hard work.  If you choose the wrong weapon or forge it poorly, however, it'll either not work or snap and leave you with an angry, potentially beaten-up adventurer with no gold to pay you with.

Comparisons to the indie item store management sim Recettear are entirely fair out of the gate considering the inversion of the usual PC/NPC roles, but Omasse goes a bit further to involve players and make them feel like they're contributing to their shop's success.

Mostly because it requires players to actually forge the virtual weapons via an innovative rhythm game mechanic.

At the outset, you're faced with a glowing chunk of metal on an anvil and have to tap out the correct pattern of hammer strokes in time with the music. Each piece can also be rotated, doused (cooled), fired, or flipped over at will too, giving you a lot of control over the forging process.

...and a lot of chances to screw things up.  Happily, however, Omasse is a light-hearted game written by comedian Yoshiyuki Hirai - so it'll be entertaining no matter what the outcome.

Like the other Guild01 games, Omasse will only set you back $7.99 when it hits the eShop this week (February 20).  It's coming to Europe on the same date, so you can finally enjoy this missing Guild01 gem regardless of which side of the Atlantic you're currently on.