Weapon Shop de Omasse is a very unique game. To some folks, that isn't going to be a good thing. I wasn't sure how I felt about it for the first 30 or 45 minutes, but the game grew on me after a while. It ended up being a good kind of "unique" for me. It's another of Level 5's games, so you know it's going to be creative if nothing else. I can safely say that I've never played another game quite like it.
So you play as an apprentice blacksmith working in his master's shop to fill weapon orders on a rental system. Apparently demand for weapons has soared SO MUCH amidst fears of the Evil Lord's return that the raw materials for weapons have dried up, making supply unable to keep up. The way around this is to use what materials blacksmiths can afford to make weapons to rent rather than to sell. Weapon Shop de Omasse is a unique blend of tycoon sim, rhythm game, and RPG. You decide what weapons to make across different types (sword, axe, spear, dagger, etc) and what stats to make weapons for (slash, pierce, or blunt). Different customers will prefer different types of weapons and fight enemies weak to different damage types, so you have to take that into consideration. You also lose the weapon and receive no money if the customer fails his or her quest, so you have to be selective with regards to who you rent weapons to and who you deny. This is where the tycoon sim aspect comes into play.
When you're actually making the weapons is the rhythm game aspect. When you forge a weapon, you get a hunk of superheated metal that you have pound into shape by tapping the touch screen in time with the rhythm of the background music (don't worry, they give you markers like any rhythm game). The longer your streak is, the better your weapon's stats are. This is my one grip with the game - there are certain places on the weapon that striking will give you diminished points (but still count as a hit for your streak) as well as certain places that you're not supposed to hit and count as a miss even if you're in time. The problem is that I couldn't figure out how to tell where you're supposed to hit and where you're not. I'm sure there is a way to tell, and the game probably even told me in the tutorial after I had gotten bored reading it, but I couldn't figure it out.
Now for the RPG element, both your customers and your weapons level up. Each time a customer completes a quest, he or she levels up, and every time a quest is completed with a particular weapon, that weapon gains experience points. When you polish your weapons, these points are added to its stats. You can also polish each weapon once after forging before it's used in a quest, and I made a point to do that when I had time, but the stat increase is marginal when it hasn't been used in a quest. That's where a bit of risk vs reward comes into play; do you send a particularly strong weapon with a customer on a quest or not? If you do, your customer will have a better chance of completing the quest, netting you money, materials, and more experience for your weapon; if the customer fails that quest, though, you lose your awesome strong weapon forever with nothing in return. Decisions, decisions.
There are two types of customers that you'll encounter. You've got your main customers, and each of them have distinct personalities - a pair of acrobatic twins, an adorable old grandmother who was a kick ass warrior in her youth, a stereotypical warrior guy, an overzealous Frenchman, a samurai, a lady pirate, and a drag queen with way too much ass showing (he used male pronouns, so he wasn't transgender). You also have your NPCs, and that's actually what they're called - NPC E, NPC R, NPC A, etc. They're very aware of their status as NPC in a fourth wall shattering sort of way; if you give on a really strong weapon, he'll say "Wow, you sure you don't want to save this one for a real character?" and after completing a quest, some will say "I'll be back later! I'm going to go walk in circles saying the same thing over and over again." It's funny, but it doesn't break the 4th wall so much that it's irritating.
Weapon Shop de Omasse is a longer game than you would expect, but it's charming. Within the first hour, you'll probably know whether or not it's a game that you'll like. I, personally, loved it, and I definitely recommend it, especially if you want a more laid back management game. It's not a fast paced action game, but it is a clever game that shows you the OTHER side of role playing games.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm Mr. Deck
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach history at a high school in central North Carolina; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.