Weapon Shop De Omasse Review

Shopkeeper’s Charm Can Only Get You So Far
by Kimberley Wallace on Feb 24, 2014 at 08:55 AM
Reviewed on 3DS
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Level-5
Rating Teen

Weapons can make or break any adventure. When playing an RPG, we always make sure we have the right equipment, whether it's buying a higher-powered sword at a new shop or making our own tweaks and upgrades with customization. Weapons get us through the majority of our quests, but they're rarely what the journey is about. Weapon Shop De Omasse shifts the focus onto making these invaluable implements, leaving the adventures as an afterthought. Even when heroes win, it's the weapons that get the praise.

Weapon Shop De Omasse tasks you with running your own weapon rental shop. The premise is simple: study the quests the heroes are embarking on and rent them weapons to improve their chances for success. When a hero has a quest, it lists what level of weapon can be wielded and what types of weapons and elements the enemies are weak against, like fire or pierce attacks. Your goal is to improve your heroes' chances to come back victorious. If a hero doesn't succeed, the weapon is lost and you can't rent it out again. This sounds like an interesting dynamic, but Weapon Shop De Omasse doesn't keep you on your toes. I only lost a single weapon, and it was because it was staged for the tutorial. Sometimes I didn't even improve my chances as much as possible, but still succeeded. The challenge of running a shop never shines through, and each mission is too forgiving. Without chaos or difficult choices, my wits went untested. Since there's only one difficulty mode, it doesn't give you any way to rev up the challenge, either.

What little challenge Weapon Shop De Omasse contains is in the actual weapon creation. You select the weapon type, add any materials for boosts like poison or extra pierce power, and then create it via a rhythm minigame. Your success depends on tapping the metal in sync with the beats to shape the weapon. It has some depth to it, as your success at certain stages in the melody determines the weapon's slash, pierce, and blunt power. You also can't just tap the same part of the material repeatedly, or you miss. For the best results, you work your way from the outside, tapping as many different points as possible.

The problem with creating weapons via rhythm minigames is that it gets boring, especially since each weapon type carries the same tunes. Everything becomes too predictable, and it's unfulfilling. In a game where your main job is to create weapons, making the experience so monotonous and unexciting takes its toll. The actual creation is shallow; weapons aren't complex to make, you can't customize them beyond color choice, and even the option to add materials doesn't provide enough depth. In forging, you merely select materials to add that you either pick up from adventurers or buy yourself for bonuses. If they were harder to obtain, altered weapons drastically, or had a hook - like allowing you to create better bonuses by mixing materials together - it would be a different story.

As you create weapons and polish them, scrolling text documents the different heroes' adventures. This gives insight into how your weapon is faring, but the real draw is the humorous commentary. Weapon Shop De Omasse doesn't take itself seriously, and that's where it earns its charm. The whole time, it makes fun of itself and other video games. NPCs rent weapons and say stuff like, "Are you sure you don't want to save this weapon for a real character?" Or they announce that they're the "stereotypical adventurer that are a dime a dozen now."

Main adventurers also come into the shop, and these characters have story arcs that play out through various quests, and they are even more entertaining than the NPCs. They're all pretty eccentric, like an innocent-looking granny who can pack a punch and overconfident acrobatic sisters who are just picking up a weapon for the first time. Still, these diversions aren't enough to overcome the boredom, especially since they're treated as background noise. Their journeys play out as you're doing shop work, so you're more zoned in on that, especially during the rhythm minigame. 

As more people rent out the same weapon, the weapon levels up. You also acquire stronger materials as the game goes on. That is, until the very end when you're creating the weapon to take down the Evil Lord. This was one of my biggest annoyances, as it goes against what the game has told you from the start: Always make sure your weapon matches the quest level. You never receive materials to create a level eight weapon to match the Evil Lord quest. This creates confusion, since the game keeps going on until you decide to provide a weapon. I actually waited a bit wondering if the materials were coming and I just had to fulfill some NPC quests or create all the weapons possible. Essentially, you're supposed to send a character in with a level seven weapon.

I liked the quirkiness of Weapon Shop De Omasse, but I was never truly captivated by it. The best simulation games get you in a groove and provide a great sense of progression, making them hard to put down. That just isn't what Weapon Shop De Omasse offers, being too simplistic for its own good. Level-5 is known for putting a great deal of customization and depth into its games, but here it's missing and I was wishing for more control over the weapon creation process. Weapon Shop De Omasse offers a diversion and loses its momentum quickly; if only it had something more substantial to save it from being another humdrum shop simulation.

Craft weapons to rent out to eccentric customers in a newly opened shop
Nothing to write home about, but they’re acceptable
Overused, grating tracks wear out their welcome fast
The premise and basic controls are easy to grasp. The rhythm minigames aren’t for everyone, but the game is extremely forgiving
Weapon Shop De Omasse is simple to a fault. It doesn’t have enough depth or excitement to make running a shop fun

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