Weapon Shop de Omasse for Nintendo 3DS
Well, this has been a rather divisive little game hasn’t it? I’ve seen some people absolutely slate it, but others seemed to really like it. I’m probably somewhere in the middle; it’s not really a good game by any sense, but it has a charm which is hard to deny. In fact, this is the kind of game for which the term ‘guilty pleasure’ was invented.
Weapon Shop de Omasse takes place inside a fictional JRPG, in which you play as Yuhan, an apprentice blacksmith who helps run a weapon rental shop for the heroes of this world. The Evil Lord is returning, so Yuhan forges a series of greater and greater weapons for a series of heroes to ensure that they are well equipped for the inevitable confrontation at the end.
Published in Japan as part of the Guild 01 series, Weapon Shop de Omasse was actually created and written by a group of comedians. The humour is very…erm, Japanese, but the localisation team has done an absolutely fantastic job, and I found myself chuckling away more than once. There are a range of weird and wacky characters Yuhan rents weapons to, from a giant drag queen to a ridiculous French knight. A lot of the laughs come from the ‘Grindcast’, which is basically Twitter, which plays along the screen as you forge and maintain your stock of weapons. The localisation team really nailed the Twitter style, complete with hashtags and pop culture references, all tied up in the JRPG setting. Ok, not everything translates, and the story itself isn’t particularly interesting, but it’s still an amusing little conceit executed well.
Sadly, the actual gameplay is abysmal. Weapon Shop de Omasse is mainly a rhythm game, but not a very good one. The weapons are forged by tapping the lump of metal to the rhythm of a song, but it all seems very arbitrary, and the quality of the weapon at the end often seems to have nothing to do with the quality of your performance of the song. The item management element isn’t much better, with the potentially interesting mechanic of deciding which weapon best suits each client being done for you with the overly simplistic ‘affinity’ check. It can get very monotonous, and reminds me slightly of those early DS games which were built only around dodgy touch screen mechanics. I’m looking at you Project Rub.
Probably the worst sin is that there aren’t enough tunes, and lots of them aren’t very good. There was only really one of them that I felt was really enjoyable, which just isn’t enough in a game built around music! There are some nice elements in the presentation though, such as a sit-com style studio audience that laugh, applaud and groan along with the action.
I’m perhaps inclined to be a bit kinder to Weapon Shop de Omasse than a lot of people, and I think that this is partially because of the way I played it. I never played more than 10 minutes in one sitting, which helped starve off the tedium. It’s completely understandable that a professional game critic working under deadlines would experience this game a very different way. If you want something light, amusing and mindless to fill the odd spare moment, Weapon Shop de Omasse might be worth a look, but don’t go in expecting anything special.