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Weapon Shop de Omasse Review


See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 03/21/2014 at 03:00 PM by Travis Hawks

Crush my brain with an anvil.
RECOMMENDATION:

Clank two spoons together instead.

It’s hard to believe that a quaint game concept where you play the part of an apprentice arms dealer in an RPG could lead me to a dark place, but it happened. Weapon Shop de Omasse, with its cute exterior, forces you to spend time between intended-to-be-comical character interactions pounding away at the most laborious, repetitive, and malformed rhythm game ever created.

Whether the focus of the game’s design was the humor, the rhythms, or the quirky setting, every single piece fails to entertain, engage, or to even make any damn sense.Things start rough from the opening tutorial where there is quite a bit more talking than truly necessary, but this isn’t unusual for a tutorial in a modern game – they can be pretty mouthy. I stayed positive all through my lessons since there were moments that made me smirk too, like the laugh tracks and audience reactions to different characters. But then the teaching was over and I had to start running the shop for real.

Although it took a while to get started actually making weapons since the conga line of stereotype characters began pouring through the front door immediately, once the first orders were in, I set about pounding on hot billets of metal to form weapons – countless weapons. Each piece of the arsenal you create has a distinct song to tap along with to make a sword, dagger, club, spear, and so on. They start off fairly easily in those first rounds, and nailing the timing is no big deal. It’s even fairly simple to keep the “perfect heat” on your metal work the entire time. It’s when you get to the second and third sets of weapons that the problems with the weapon-making start to become obvious.

It turns out that the songs you pounded along with during your level one sessions are the same songs you will hear on level two, level three, and all the way to the end of the game – nearly ten hours worth. Yes, you tap out slightly different rhythms, but the backing tracks all remain identical. It also doesn’t help that every one of these backing tracks is irritating in its own unique way. Not a single one of them is an enjoyable tune, but then add some metal hammering atop and it all sounds like an amateur Stomp show put on by a Mothers’ Day Out class.

Hey, at least with all of that practice you can get good at making the weapons, right? Well, hold on there, fella! Just because you master the rhythm game doesn’t mean your weapons will actually turn out better. The entire mechanics of the system appear to be completely FUBAR. I have nailed every beat, kept perfect heat, and gotten huge chains only to be told my weapon was rated “Dull.” I’ve had the same sort of performance, had most categories come back as “Lame” and the end result was a “Masterpiece” weapon. Baffled by this constantly confusing rating of my weapons, I performed many experiments and it was clear that the results are largely random. I would just watch note after note go by, let my material cool down until warnings aplenty flew across the screen, tap randomly after several missed bars, and the end result was often a pretty good product. Continuing the confusion, the few times I created a “Masterpiece” weapon, I was completely baffled as to why since it was never one of my better attempts.

But you know what, none of that matters because the quality of your weapons doesn’t seem to make a difference anyway. All of these hilarious (read: not hilarious) characters coming into your shop have requests for what they need. So you hand them the best you can give them and almost every time it works out. There seems to be almost no reward for making a high-quality weapon, which is good since there doesn’t seem to be a sure fire way to do that anyway.

In fact, there’s no reward for playing the game at all, really. After realizing the rhythm game was a failure, I started assuming that the script would be the focus of the whole affair since the key creative on the development team is a Japanese comedian. There are certainly a lot of words in the script, and it takes a lot of time, but in all of that text, there is very little that is funny.

Once you stop mildly chuckling at the overzealous Frenchman, the King James English-speaking samurai, and the anime wanna-be hero, there are no real jokes. You just endure these guys coming back to your store repeatedly and trotting out their recycled bits. When these characters are not in your shop, you follow their adventures on a Twitter-esque “Grindcast,” which gives you bursts of the characters’ descriptions of what’s happening on their current quest. You basically have no choice but to read this tedious scroll at several points because you’ve made and polished all the weapons you could possibly ever need.

Silly, optimistic me kept hoping the writing would turn around, and I figured that the characters’ defeat of The Evil Lord that had been chatted about the entire game would provide a satisfying ending. Boy, was I let down more than I even thought possible. The ending to the game is nonsense and is the least satisfying conclusion to a completed game since I last saw an 8-bit “CONGRATURATIONS” scroll across a CRT. The game found a way to make it all even worse by encouraging me to keep going after the initial ending to earn a special treat, which I was also suckered into and regret wholeheartedly.

My curiosity at the clever concept behind Weapon Shop de Omasse kept me going through my initial couple of hours and as reality slowly set in, I became frustrated, and eventually hostile. After completing the game, I’m left wondering what the creators’ actual intentions were.  If they wanted to make a fun rhythm game, they made something dysfunctional. If they wanted to make a humor-filled narrative, they failed. If they wanted to make me angry and regret every second I spent with their game, they succeeded beyond all imagination.  Weapon Shop de Omasse is a malformed attempt at cleverness that assumes its audience can’t discern good writing and has nothing better to do than tap away with a stylus and pretend that any of it matters.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Cary Woodham

03/21/2014 at 06:49 PM

I really liked this game, myself, but then, I like a lot of games nobody else does.  Anyway, I reviewed this game, too.  Here's my review:

http://www.gamerdad.com/blog/2014/03/17/weapon-shop-de-omasse-3ds/

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/23/2014 at 05:49 PM

Maybe I'll just stick to Recettear.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

03/23/2014 at 06:27 PM

I have that sitting on my Steam library and playing Weapon Shop has made me all the more interested.

Ranger1

03/25/2014 at 07:54 PM

Thanks for taking one for the team, Travis. And just because your description of the songs reminded me of something:

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

03/25/2014 at 10:09 PM

The music does sound like that in some ways, but this video has some passion and emotion in it too. Also, it's humorous.

Reviews have been mixed on this game, but largely not great. I need to read some more, but I have yet to read anyone complain about the fact that the core rhythm game doesn't work.

KnightDriver

07/15/2014 at 02:37 AM

I've been playing it in very short bursts and so it doesn't annoy me to have to play that rhythm over and over. I actually didn't notice there was an actual tune to it. It just sounded like rhythmic clangings to me. I am noticing that sometimes what I thought was a good performance didn't result in a much better weapon. I was wondering if you have to hit the weapon in certain spots. I know they tell you not to hit the same spot more than once, but I keep wondering if I'm supposed to hit areas around the shape of the weapon or on the weapon itself to get the best results. Sounds like it doesn't matter at all though. 

I like the concept of the game so much though, and the text is pretty funny to me. Trying to match the right weapon with the NPC is fun. I lost one weapon because it wasn't the right one for the job once.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

07/15/2014 at 09:28 PM

I did a lot of experiments to try and figure out how to do better, and for that matter how to do worse. Nothing ever worked. The text was somewhat humorous... but then just lasted to damn long. There was a lot of hammering jokes into the ground. But, it's humor, and not everybody thinks the same things are funny.

I hope you like it, because I don't want you to suffer.

KnightDriver

07/16/2014 at 03:35 PM

Well, my only issue now is that it was overpriced at $7. There are better games on iOS for $1.

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