Weapon Shop de Omasse is just one surprise after another. There’s so many layers to its creativity that it brings to mind a less predictable onion.
Sure, I read the Japanese impressions. I wasn’t going into it blind, but its English localization really did wonders for it. In saying so, it should be made clear that the rhythm-action game you may have been sold on isn’t all Weapon Shop de Omasse has to offer.
This certainly works to its benefit though, as the musical sections of the game aren’t as strong as one would like. With a cold, hard, slab of metal before you, players are tasked to tap around it, cutting loose the fat to form the weapon. The notes are demoed by the weapon shop’s blacksmith, with you repeating them quickly afterwards. As the genre expects, timing is important; the better your performance, the better the weapon’s statistics are. The heat of the weapon during this procedure has to be monitored as well, adding a little wrinkle to the mix. Other than that, the musical sections are pretty simple. The music performs similarly, there’s not much variety, and what is there is only heard for a minute or so as you refine the metal.
While unimpressive on its on, it shares the stage with other stronger elements. After all, this is a weapon shop, there’s more to it than just forging.
Yuhan, the apprentice of the shop’s blacksmith, runs business a little stranger than most. Unlike Ravio’s little Hyrule House of Gouging, cash isn’t required upfront. The customers that walk through your doors pay after their adventure, meaning their performance depends on your inventory. From heroes of legend to lowly NPCs, every walk of life comes to Yuhan for weapons and advice. Each client has his own preferences, and it’s up to you to decide what would suit them best; be it from your inventory or made to order. Should the hero succeed, your weapon will return stronger than before. Should the warrior fall, the blame is placed on your work, and no money is earned. Adding to the complexity is customers don’t adhere to any sort of schedule. They show up at random, even interrupting you as you browse a materials catalogue. This means that the incredible sword you just lent out may have been better suited for the foretold hero that just walked in. A careful balance must be struck of renting your best weapons, but also creating new ones in their place.
Despite the routine, it’s hard to not be distracted by the game’s makeshift Twitter program, Grindcast. As you carry on your duties, on-screen notices pop up of your customer’s quest. These are absolutely hilarious, and oddly enough the game’s strongest element. Weapon Shop de Omasse manages to poke fun at the RPG genre, all without falling into the trap so many “funny” games fall into; making use of the same systems it mocks. By not being a standard example of an RPG itself, it skirts around issues like random encounters and status ailments, allowing itself the ability to mine for humour in those areas. It’s handled superbly, allowing personalities with little screentime to perform and expand outside of your little shop. For as subdued as the Grindcast is, the game’s more cinematic moments play much louder. Like a bad sitcom, these scenes employ canned laughter and jeers to great effect, highlighted by the crowd going wild for the blacksmith’s appearances.
While existing outside the release of the previous Guild compilations (as it was skipped over during that first bout), Weapon Shop de Omasse is very much at home with titles like Crimson Shroud and Attack of the Friday Monsters!, as it takes the conventions of a genre only to bend them to its own particular needs. While it may not be the rhythm action title we expected, it makes up for it with creative item management and a stellar localization.
Huzzah for the shop keep!