The premise of Kingdom’s Item Shop follows just about every Japanese simulation game ever. You have inherited an item shop to follow in the footsteps of your father and given the task of building it up from a pokey little hole, into the most famous in the land.
From my experience, Kingdom’s Item Shop’s gameplay is split up into three different areas. The first is managing the shop space. Placing items on tables and replenishing them once they sell out, upgrading and expanding the shop and listening to customer requests. Like the game as a whole, it’s rather simplistic and customisation is rather minimal on your part. There’s not really much to do here aside from collect the coins that are hilariously thrown at you when an item is bought. A nice bonus and as a reward for selling items that might not be worth so much as others is that every item has a selling goal. If you sell a certain amount of an item you will receive a perk for it such as more health or attack points for your fighters. It’s definitely worth selling a bit of everything.
One great aspect of the shop is that you don’t need to be present in order to sell things. You can be out on a quest, busy synthesising, or even have your 3DS closed and your shop will still continue to go through the stock you’ve laid out. Whenever you return or open up your console you’ll be greeted by an ungodly pile of coins.
The next step of gameplay is when you take on quests in order to gather materials and ingredients for you to sell or synthesise. This is the most active part of the game as it’s all played out in real time. Being an item shop owner, you’re no good for a melee against the many monsters in the kingdom’s locals and so you can hire warriors to fight on your behalf while you stand behind the front lines collecting all the materials dropped.
Even though you’re scurrying around picking everything up before they disappear, you do have a little more say in the battle than you would think. You can set your fighters to either attack or defence mode. You need to keep an eye out on the on-going fray if you want your fighters to survive through the handful of fights per area. When the monster sends out an attack, you should switch to defence mode before it hits. This is especially important on the end boss fight of each stage.
I genuinely like the brevity of it. If you go on a quest, you’re finished within a couple of minutes with a tonne of materials to boot. You don’t get bogged down and it doesn’t feel like a chore. You do need to go back a few times to grind a few extra materials, but it’s so quick to get them it’s not a problem.
The amount of fighters and areas to go increase rather quickly from starting the game as it’s dependent on achieving certain goals in your shop, cash wise and reputation. The best way to make money is through the third and final part of the gameplay: Synthesising.
Around your kingdom are various establishments; a restaurant, a blacksmith’s and other RPG stereotypes. Each store has an owner who will allow you to synthesise new materials from the ones you already own. You have three options. The first is synthesising using recipes you already know, you can also freestyle by choosing random ingredients if you think it has the potential to make something new, or you can discover new recipes by following clues from the shop owners as to which ingredients are needed.
Kingdom’s Item Shop does what Circle do best at publishing; simple yet addictive and oddly compelling gameplay. What’s done well in these games is the feeling of progression. It always feels like you’re achieving something or unlocking something else to do. You’re never stuck in the same routine for too long, despite its slightly grind-y nature. You’re constantly being updated by your assistant how always has something new to say about the game.
I actually love the style of the game. The sprites of characters and enemies look lovely even if they are repeated heavily. The areas are nice and distinct and all in all, I think it’s presented well above what you might expect. As with any Circle localisation, there are a handful of quirky translation points, but nothing too distracting. The music is also nice and fitting too.
Due to it’s simplistic nature, it’s not the longest game in the world, but it will keep you occupied and satisfied for a good few hours. Which considering the low price point, is a really nice deal. It’s definitely a game I’d be happy to recommend to those who want an interesting RPG style simulation game that’s perfect in small bursts.
- Perfect in small bursts
- Good feeling of progression
- Simplistic gameplay but has some surprising depth
- Not much to do hanging around the shop
Game provided by Circle Entertainment