Thursday, 12 April 2018

Shoppe Keep (Xbox One) - Review

Shoppe Keep is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £10.39.

When I saw Shoppe Keep appear in the Xbox One Store I was pretty damn excited - I love a good management game! I have whiled away many, many hours on games that have allowed me to manage hospitals, restaurants, malls, game dev studios, vets, hair salons, supermarkets, you get the idea. I guess I like being in control more than I realised.

Shoppe Keep is unlike any management game I have played before. My time as a manager of all the types listed above was spent in a more passive position I guess. You know, a view from above, a few neat little screens that allow me to micro manage every aspect of my budding business. Shoppe Keep literally puts you on the shop floor. You embody the shop keeper and oh wow it's harder than it looks. You will have to physically restock your shelves (until you can afford to buy a bot for it anyway) with times that you've had to wait to be delivered. It's a difficult balancing act that I have to admit I hadn't envisioned.

Worse still you have to deal with the people who decide they just don't want to pay for your beautifully crafted sword or cuirass. Some will rather childishly knock the item off the shelf and leave, but others will turn to crime. They'll swipe it and run, leaving you to either take the loss on the chin, or chase them down and kill them. There's no in-between. If you do choose to kill them don't forget to take the item back from their cold, dead body. I thought it would do it automatically upon their death but it doesn't, meaning that the first few times I was robbed I literally chased them down for revenge and left the item for the homeless. Bit pointless of me!

All of this would be much easier to deal with if the controls were easier to handle though. Shoppe Keep was originally released into Early Access on Steam quite a while ago and it shows. The controls are unintuitive at best and actually obstructive at worst. There is no active tutorial -  just a few screens of text to search through to learn even the most basic parts of the game like building your shelves, or unsheathing your weapons. It is less than ideal, this game would have really benefitted from including a small beginner store that showed you the basics of the day-to-day running.

I've had a lot of fun with Shoppe Keep but it really annoys me that after a number of hours it is still the control system that I struggle against the most.

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