|Title||Weapon Shop de Omasse|
|Release Date||February 20th, 2014|
|Age Rating||ESRB: T|
|Official Website (http://level5ia NULL.com/blackbox/us/weapon-shop-de-omasse/)|
Where do I begin?
No seriously, where do I even begin? I thought I was done reviewing the Guild01 games early last year. I even wrapped it up pretty nicely, too, saying how Liberation Maiden, Crimson Shroud, and — to a lesser extent — Aero Porter raised the bar for smaller titles. That was it. We were left looking forward to Guild02 with Keiji Inafune and others.
BUT I WANTED THIS GAME SO MUCH!
Guys, when Weapon Shop de Omasse was announced on the February 13th Nintendo Direct, I was giddy. Out of all the Guild01 games, this was by far the most unique. We’ve had games before where we shot at enemies from a giant mech. We’ve had puzzle games that aggravate some and entertain others. We’ve had RPGs that were inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, right down to the dice rolls.
I can’t think of one game I’ve played that had us in a supporting role.
In Weapon Shop de Omasse, you don’t play as the hero. Instead, you play as an apprentice to a blacksmith. Your job is to create weapons for potential heroes and even NPCs looking to go on an adventure. These are pretty much melee weapons that range from swords, daggers, spears, katanas, clubs, and more. Sounds pretty simple right?
Well, there is a catch. You don’t sell the weapons; you rent them. The shop doesn’t get paid until the adventurer comes back successfully with the weapon in hand. If they are defeated, the weapon is lost, you don’t get any money or resources, and your reputation suffers.
So how do you make the weapons? Well, you tap the screen in order to shape the metal the correct way, similar to removing the rocks from fossils in Fossil Fighters. And pretty similar to how you can see what fossil it is with the X-Ray, Weapon Shop de Omasse will give you an outline of what you’ll be forging before the heated metal is dropped on your workstation.
However, unlike Fossil Fighters, forging the metal properly is based on getting the right rhythm to the music given to you. In addition, the heat of the metal changes throughout the process, from high heat to perfect heat to cool. The best time to hit is during perfect heat, even if that means missing the first few series of hits (you won’t be penalized for it).
Now, the metal is presented to you at maximum heat, but you can adjust before the first strike to get perfect heat at the right time. However, if it gets too cool, you’re done, no matter what. But there is good news: you can add heat to the sword while you’re still in the process of forging. The amount of time and coals you can do that with a single weapon is limited but I never had an issue of running out of either. But be careful: it’s important to keep your combo going, so don’t sit in the coals for too long at one time.
After forging, you can then polish the weapons for additional power. This is important as you can actually level up your weapons through polishing. It doesn’t happen often, nor is it necessary to do so to reach the endgame, but it helps, especially if you’re a completionist looking to complete all the NPC quests.
As you progress through the game, your master will allow you to work on higher level weapons as well as add certain attributes to the metal, such as additional power to an attack type or an elemental attack that is effective against certain monsters. Going through the game, the elemental attributes seem to only be for the NPC quests. Out of all the gameplay mechanics, I think that would be the only negative.
Other than the elemental stuff, everything else works wonderfully. The mechanics were well developed and worked well. I had a lot of fun forging new weapons.
And the characters you develop these weapons for are a lot of fun, too. The potential heroes have far-ranging personalities and quirks that include twins that were part of a circus act, a down-on-his-luck samurai, a pirate scorned by her lover, a quick-witted and long-winded knight, and a giant drag queen (I couldn’t make that up if I tried).
Each character also has their own story that they explain to you when they ask for a weapon. There’s even a couple of stories that intersect, which I found to be interesting. I wish the rest of them intersected at some point as well but that’s a really minor issue.
And it’s not just the dialog you get in the store that lets you know about their troubles. While a character is out in the world, you can listen in to their adventures through something called the Grindcast. Through this, you can hear all the goings-on of a character’s adventure, from battles that they have to arguing with the people that hired them to simply pumping themselves up for a fight. It’s all a blast to listen to.
Design was very colorful and looked great. The characters were all pretty cartoony, keeping with the overall upbeat quirkiness of the game. And keeping to their generic nature, the NPCs were all one design (a little bland but artistic in its own way). And while your shop starts out rather empty, it will eventually be filled with decorative collectables as you complete certain achievements. The only thing I’ll say negatively about the design is this: 3D is useless in this game. Turn it off.
While I did enjoy the game, there were a couple of issues that I had with the game, besides that whole elemental stuff. First and foremost is the music. Now, what they have is nice and fun to listen to. But there are only 4 or 5 songs to forge to. After a while, it starts to wear on you, which isn’t a good thing for the most important aspect of the game.
The second thing deals with presentation. The way that everything is presented inside the store is like a sitcom, complete with an audience laughing, booing, and whatnot during the dialog scenes inside the store. That part was great and created something unique for a setting that’s taken for granted.
However, after going through about 10 hours of heroes going on quests, the game takes a drastically dark turn at the end. I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that it goes against what was presented to you from the very beginning and feels like going dark just for the sake of going dark. Definitely a twist from the upbeat and quirky nature that was presented throughout the game.
I think that presented better, it could’ve worked. For instance, Crimson Shroud, another Guild01 game, had a rather dark turn at the very end of the game. However, it worked within the context of the game and the story that was presented before it was revealed. If Yoshiyuki Hirai and his team wanted to make this twist work, they needed a better set-up.
Overall, Weapon Shop de Omasse is a welcome addition to the eShop and a great way to end the Guild01 series of games (Whoa, déjà vu). The gameplay is fantastic. The story is hilarious, even with that one part that came out of nowhere. The music could’ve been more but worked fine. The design was delightful. It was just a blast.
This game was bought by the reviewer. Weapon Shop de Omasse is available in North America for $7.99 USD and in Europe for €7.99 and £7.19.