You’ve Never Played A Game Like Weapon Shop de Omasse

By Ethan . February 20, 2014 . 5:10am

Weapon Shop de Omasse is one part rhythm game, one part Japanese sitcom, one part brutal RPG parody, one part economic store simulator, and two parts Twitter.  Keeping up?  Good.  The game is also one of the smartest commentaries on videogames I’ve come across, leveraging the technology of the present to talk about  the past (as well as some commentary on the present slipped in there).  It’s an absolutely fascinating sample case for the differences between Japanese and Western humor and how to localize a work so dependent on cultural touchstones and expectations.

 

In short, you’ve never played a game like Weapon Shop de Omasse.

 

Okay, here’s the skinny.  You are the boy working the front counter at the weapon shop in the town of Omasse.  You are responsible for ordering materials, interacting with customers, polishing weapons, and assisting the master smith in actual forging.  Various colorful NPCs will come in and ask you to forge them a weapon for a particular quest or another, and it falls upon you to make something that suits their weapon proficiencies, the weaknesses of the monsters they will face, and their current level.

 

But the initial transaction is not the end of your involvement.  See, this is a weapon rental shop.  You issue weapons to your customers and only get paid upon a successful return.  If the quester succeeds, they bring back a leveled up weapon, a rental fee, and whatever useful loot they may have stumbled across.  If they fail, though, then they bring back no loot, no cash, and no weapon.  So you need to be careful allocating your best weapons—a poor decision could mean you lose a precious blade forever!

 

No, I don’t think this is a particularly clever business model either.

 

In order to better understand your customer’s needs and better serve them, all weapons you rent out record a Twitter feed of sorts, detailing the wielder’s exploits and send it back to you.  So yes, you’re basically a company spying on the doings of your customers.  You can’t check their browser history like Facebook… but you keep up with pretty much everything else.  It’s a surprisingly modern notion of privacy in a fantasy RPG setting.

 

So, what does the player actually do?  You forge weapons to meet orders, polish weapons for marginal stat increases, order materials to ensure you can make whatever is needed, and do an awful lot of reading.  The Twitter of this universe is called the “Grindcast” and the top screen keeps you a live Grindcast feed even as you attend to the mundane shopkeeping.

 

The Grindcast is the heart and soul of the game.  Though generic NPCs do come through to rent weapons (I’m not being dismissive, they’re actually named NPC A, NPC 2, etc.) there’s a core cast of developed characters who return again and again to your shop.  My personal favorite is the fearsome pirate captain, but there isn’t really a bad one in the bunch.  Each of them gets up to ill-advised antics and makes terrible mistakes, but there’s a core of character development to each of them that makes following their progress from quest to quest compelling.  It really surprised me how invested I became in, essentially, just watching other people’s RPG adventures play out.

 

A lot of the reason for that is that these adventures are funny!  I have at various points issued weapons to help characters search for a senile grandpa who wandered off, defend a secret hideout made of cardboard, and “negotiate” a meeting between leaders of competing cosmetic brands.  It really shows that this game came from a comedian.

 

It’s also really interesting on a conceptual level that a game supposedly set in a traditional RPG from years ago presents its satire via a Twitter feed.   This is a game about videogames’ past viewed through the context of the present.  It also reverses that duality, occasionally using the clichés of old RPGs to say something about today.  It never gets too heavy, but there’s some meat on this bone for anyone who chooses to dwell on it for longer than it takes to rush to the end.

 

Ultimately, Weapon Shop de Omasse is a tough game to sell.  I absolutely adore the game, but will other people like it too?  I feel like there’s only a super specific audience that will appreciate it.  Do you:  Own a Nintendo 3DS?  Have a familiarity with classic RPG conventions and frustrations?  Think you could be satisfied reading about adventures rather than going on them yourself?  Deal well with multi-tasking?  You kind of need to answer “yes” to all of those to get the most out of this release.

 

But if you did say yes four times last paragraph?  Then you simply cannot miss Weapon Shop de Omasse. The game will be available via the eShop for Nintendo 3DS later today, in both North America and Europe for $7.99 / €7.99 / ₤7.19.

 

Food for thought:

 

1. I didn’t get into the localization in the main body of the article, but this is easily the best written script out of Level 5’s Western branch yet.  The extra time it took to get this localized was clearly well spent.  They didn’t change the distinctively Japanese laugh track or sound effects though, so it maintains a unique sort of Japanese sit com feeling throughout.

 

2. Replay value on this game approaches zero.  Such is the nature of most comedy.  Jokes wear out their welcome quickly.  Considering the price to buy a work of comedy at your local video store, and considering the quantity and quality of jokes available here, this game should be considered a bargain.

 

3. The way the voice actor reads the title is absolutely adorable.  It sounds like Weeeapon.  Shopday.  Omassay.  It’s a wonderful first impression for the game to make, not unlike meeting someone for the first time and getting a nice firm handshake.  Doesn’t hurt that the intro movie is pretty great too.


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  • powerlessbump

    I’m enjoying the rise of this meta type of genre. Identifying NPC game please!

    • Audie Bakerson

      I’m just a minor character. I don’t even rate having a name. I’m
      just here to balance out the numbers.

  • http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/21421.html?type=4 Kashell

    Interesting concept and a great review.

  • Anewme…Again

    Actually, yes i did play a game like this before.
    I played a flash game before that had a gameplay really similar to this.

  • Atwa

    Recettear – Shota Edition ?

  • Virevolte

    I’ll buy it as soon as possible. =)

  • Namuro

    The game that almost didn’t make it over out of the four, ended up sounding like the most interesting, and in-depth one. How about that?

    I’m really glad they decided to bring it over! I’m gonna go download it now!

  • new_tradition

    Can you comment on game length? I know that’s not really a set in stone variable, but…

    Like, could you kill an afternoon on this? Or did you feel like you needed to take a few breaks?

    Or what about pacing? Could you finish one “segment”, leave the game alone for a week, and get back into it without being confused at what you were doing?

    • Ethan_Twain

      I think you COULD finish the game in an afternoon if you were determined to marathon it, but the game is best served by breaking it up a little more. It’s not a terribly long experience, maybe five or six hours depending on whether the player uses a lot of the fast forward assigned to the L button.

      One interesting thing is that overall length to completion is kind of set in stone. There’s a meter in the top right constantly filling until the inevitable “return of the dark lord”. When that’s full then it’s game over and I sure hope you got your heroes through their various plotlines and level ups in time for them to be ready.

    • Fox

      It’s designed for playing in spurts of 10-20 minutes. It maybe has 10 hours of content if you don’t know what you’re doing, less if you do.

  • Invisbin

    Everyone I pitched this to thought it was retarded. Boy do I miss the days where people were willing to try anything :(

    My 3ds battery is stopping me from getting this :(

  • Shippoyasha

    Sounds like a manager mode of a Sports game where you set up the heroes for success or failure depending on how well you prepare them.

  • Chim_era

    Okay it’s finally here :D

  • Audie Bakerson

    “local video store”

    A what?

  • katamari damacy

    I wish it was on sale out the gate like the rest of the Guild01 games until the 23rd. That way a niche title would be considered by more people.

  • s07195

    It’s not on JP eshop, is it?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      It is.

      • s07195

        Oh well, I’ll get some more Nintendo credits then. :S

  • JW

    For persons that like crafting and making money, also acumuling things
    and doing what they like to acummulate is a deal game very not
    expensive, you can do many things that i have whished of a game that
    create things and sell or rental, also you can rotate your weapons and
    see they, very funny, not the jokes, the whole thing, up the weapons,
    crafting, also sharpening them, is funny and nice to people like myself,
    i keep imagining even if i don’t wanna
    i being a blacksmitch
    that want to make an legendary sword, also, like my reading is very fast
    and nice but not by sequence my grammar, i can pick up the texts that
    at least appear by entire very well, i cant stop thinking in epic games
    and storys of books and movies, what the blaksmitch of these games have
    done, and the dwarfhs, elfs, and all another races that make or buff
    things, is a very game afther all,and i can enjoy it,in the end, keep
    saying that is fast of play, but, i almost pass entire 2 hours andmore a
    half in the first time i played it without even noticing, is almost
    like when i read my first book of an epic story of rpg, i have passed
    all nigth without sleep, is really almost it that i did when buyed and
    played weapon shop omasse, only don’t became addicted because i have
    many epic games, but, of course, nothing in this style, in end, it
    become more or less what i had expected, more to more than less. I liked
    it.Very funny and nice game, a desapointment if another peoples don’t
    give a chance and try and the creators desist of improving this style of
    game, of course they have to do many improvements, but, witch franchise
    of even epic games don’t have? Is the beggining in this tipe of game,
    sincerely? I would like to play another game like these if it appear in
    sale, also an refined game and extended, of course. See yah people, i’m a
    compulsive writhing person, sorry for that. ^^

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