Genre:   Adventure, Interactive Narrative Game

Developer:   Verse Publications

Publisher:    Mastertronic

Released:  October 2014

PC Requirements:  

  • OS: Win XP / Win 7 / Win 8

  • Processor: 2.0 GHz Dual Core Processor

  • Memory: 2 GB RAM

  • Graphics: Integrated Graphics (512MB VRAM and above)

  • DirectX: Version 9.0c

  • Hard Drive: 100 MB available space

  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible.




by flotsam


The Shopkeeper

Verse Publications

I just finished one game where you play the same day over and over and now here is another, if not the same day then the same interaction. Itís an odd little outing, that will take little of your time or your money.

A pony tailed man walks into a shop, looking for a present for his mother in law. He asks about an item, or doesnít, and gets a story. Another character interaction and a few dialogue choices later, and you will not likely have an appropriate gift so will leave the shop.

Then you enter and start again.

There are very few screens and very few dialogue choices. There appear to be a fair few potential presents in the shop, and some additional objects in an office, and you can look into the flower shop in the street. As far as I can tell, itís the order in which you do things, or donít do things, that pushes the ďgameĒ along.

I used the ď ď deliberately just then. Itís a recurring narrative rather than a game.

I said ďas far as I can tellĒ deliberately also, as I am not entirely sure that is all there is to it.

It is vague, deliberately so, and initially appealing because of that. The visual style also appealed to me, so finding myself in the shop and wondering what I was doing and supposed to be doing and what was the objective and how was I supposed to get there got me interested. It just didnít last very long.

I donít usually care about the Steam achievements, but here they provided a goal that kept me at it longer than I might otherwise. My first achievement was ďthe annoyed endingĒ which indicated (a) I had actually gotten a sort of ending and (b) there were others. I subsequently got ďthe uncaring endingĒ, and was minded to press on. I eventually triggered something called Shop Dream which I suspect was the right ending as it was the only thing that led to additional screens and then the credits rolled, although I was eventually back in the shop. That was my sixth achievement and came after about 40 minutes. According to Steam there are still two achievements to unlock.

The other thing that kept me going was the potential of a narrative payoff, but it never got there. I kept thinking that if I stuck at it, it would go somewhere, but it didnít really go anywhere other than the additional screens. As a storyline it teased, primarily because of that vagueness and some interesting writing. But it ultimately left me feeling like the uncaring ending.

The stilted and rather unemotional voice acting didnít help. It kept everything fairly flat, and the conversations devoid of any anything apart from the words themselves.

The Shopkeeper ultimately fails to deliver very much, but I didnít dislike it. I wonít go back, but for $2.99 I donít regret going.

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB



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