PREVIEW: Shoppe Keep 2

May
04

PREVIEW: Shoppe Keep 2

Shoppe Keep 2 is a fun management and RPG hybrid set in a light-hearted fantasy age that blends together different mechanics and a variety of gameplay content effectively. It may have a long way to go before being complete, but it is already damned fun.

Steam: Early Access
Type: Single-player, Multi-Player
Genre: RPG, Management
Developer: Strange Fire
Publisher: Excalibur Games
Release date: 3 May, 2018

Overview

Shoppe Keep 2 is an hybrid between a management game and a first-person RPG. In this game, you will have to manage your very own customizable shop, evaluate market trends to see what is most in demand, pay taxes to the town, and even clean the floors. Additionally, there are quests and events to undertake in order to unlock more articles to sell, upgrades, and new areas where you can hunt, gather resources, fight monsters. and most importantly make huge profits, because that’s what Shoppe Keep 2 is ultimately about.

Gameplay Analysis

General Gameplay 
In Shoppe Keep 2 the gameplay is divided between three things: managing the shop, quests, and exploration/combat.

You will start from scratch with limited funds and an empty Shoppe to customize your layout and fill with articles to sell. You can order merchandise and utility items such as displays for articles from a convenient menu, and everything gets sent in to the nearby management building where you can pick it up, place down the displays, and then place them onto the articles you want to sell. Deciding the right price is fundamental for making a profit. You can decide if you want to sell to richer customers, but at a slower pace, or sell in bulk with conveniently priced merchandise, counting more on quantity than quality to make a profit. In any case, once you get more and more money, the shop expands as you will be able to afford more displays and items to sell at one time.

At the beginning, the variety of items will be very limited. However, soon after completing a few quests, town vendors such as Cooks and Blacksmiths will have a better variety of items to sell you in bulk, so you can resell them to customers at a much higher price. To unlock most of the new items there are quests to complete.  These usually involve crafting a certain number of items at a specific vendor using the materials he sells or the others you gather once you can get out of the city.  You can also do this by finding certain things in the world, or hunting down monsters. Vendors can be improved from the management building using the town’s collected tax money, and as you are in charge of deciding the tax rates, the more taxes you apply to yourself over sales, the more funds the town will have to improve other vendors, granting you access to new items, quests and recipes.

You can’t just leave the shop open and go around doing stuff, as customers unhappy with your prices or articles will kick the vending stalls (and not buy anything!) damaging them. They need to be actively repaired or they will be destroyed. Also, thieves are lurking, especially at nighttime, so you always need to carry a weapon to kill them if they steal something.  If you need to do quests and explore, close the shop using the sign outside. There is also a skill system that will reward you with points for combat, movement, management, and business.  Each of these disciplines will increase by doing the certain actions such as selling, fighting, running, among other things . This will unlock useful passive skills to help you in your adventure.

Exploring the world can lead to secret quests, items, and materials to gather for crafting at lower prices than buying them from vendors. Also, as you progress in the game, other locations will be unlocked for new and exciting business opportunities.

Overall, Shoppe Keep 2 offers a fun and engaging gameplay that will please RPG fans and management enthusiasts alike. Of course, it needs a lot of polish and more content, but for now it’s already pretty good.

Combat System 
Combat is either ranged or melee, everything you can sell such as armor, weapons, and accessories you can also equip on your character, so there is also a light equipped RPG component to this game that is a nice twist from the main management theme. Enemies are quite dangerous and without armor you will be dead in a few hits, so ranged combat is the best option at the beginning. Later when better gear is available, you can go melee with no problems.  It is, for now, a rather simplistic form of combat, but a good addition anyway.

Content 
For now, the amount of content is rather decent.  There are already multiple vendors and a lot of articles to trade and sell, but the game is far from being complete in mechanics depth and overall polish. Can it provide players with a fun time and be entertaining as of now without too many early access shenanigans? Yes, it can.

Balancing 
N/A

Challenge 
If you manage money well and watch out a bit while in combat, you won’t have many troubles in this game. I’d rate the challenge as Mild for now.

Technical Analysis

Graphics 
The cartoonish art style is pretty good with a fantasy theme, and is done with adequate detail.  Although pleasant, it is rather far from some of the standards of today, yet it does the job and overall is decent enough.

Sound 
Sound effects and music are average in quality and variety, nothing particularly impressive.

Performance/Stability
Nothing to report.

AI 
The Enemy AI in combat is a basic follow and attack type. Thieves (which are also enemies) will instead run away after stealing, but not attack you.

Quality of Life 
The crafting UIs, shop UIs and overall menus are decent and do the job, however, more slots for usable active tools would be appreciated as switching from the inventory every time to select a bow, then an axe to chop wood, then pick to get minerals, and then a bow again because ‘oh look a monster’, is annoying. It needs to have multiple hotkeys to equip tools/weapons instantly without all this hassle every time. Apart from this, I found no other issues.

Bugs / Issues 
N/A (Early Access)

Verdict

Shoppe Keep 2 expands the mechanics already seen in its predecessor, making it better and bigger in almost every aspect. It is a very promising hybrid genre game that is already fun, even if it has a long way to go before being complete. This game is recommended to all RPG fans who want a different experience with management elements included.

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