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REVIEW | This “Weapon Shop” Gets The Rhythm Right

By
Posted on February 24, 2014 AT 01:05pm

Weapon Shop de Omasse is not your ordinary video game. Created by Japanese comedian Yoshiyuki Hirai the 3DS rhythm-based title takes the world of your average RPG and places it in the confides of a small village blacksmith workplace. Yet despite its lone setting the world of Weapon Shop de Omasse is vast and large, thanks in part to the variety of characters that will soon become your regular customers.

In the game your character Yuhan is tasked to create weapons under the watch of blacksmith Oyaji for the various patrons that enter your shop, ranging from you average NPC to the colorful pirates, samurai, Chinese acrobats, and transvestites(!) that come back as returning customers. Once you find out what you need it’s off to work, as you use your stylus to bang the weapons into shape to the rhythm of the song. On many occasions you can also add special items such as poison spells and lightning attacks to the weapons for whomever wields it. The more your blacksmith level ups, the more powerful weapons you can create for your customers’ quests.

The gameplay is very straightforward. As you create your weapon there will be points in the song when you have to strike down on the hot materials at the exact moment. The longer it takes, the cooler the minerals will get, which can fortunately be reheated on the coals nearby. Once the weapon is made you’ll need to cool it, where you’ll see how it turns out. The better your rhythm, the stronger the weapon. However if you don’t create a weapon that’s as strong as you need it to be, you can always give it a good polish for some extra XP.

How you make money depends on how your customers fare on their quests, as their payment comes via a rental fee. If they are successful, not only do you get your fee, but some of the items they find on their quests; if they find themselves defeated then you’ll have lost the weapon you created and the chance to get paid. It may sound a tad unfair, but fortunately you can easily make money in Weapon Shop de Omasse for more supplies.

It’s fairly simple to figure out a song’s pattern in the game early on, but as you go on to create higher-ranked weaponry the beats will become faster-paced, and may wind up throwing you a curve ball later on. What’s also tough to figure out is when a strike will either be soft, hard, or ineffective. I’ve found myself playing the guessing game for the most part when it comes to hitting the right marks on the hot minerals, spinning and flipping the future weapon in order to make sure it comes out very strong.

The downside about weapon-making is that the song choices are limited, which can lead to some unfortunate repetition. If they threw in a couple dozen more songs you can mend your swords and clubs to, then it wouldn’t be that big of an issue. Sadly you’ll probably be stuck hearing the same song three times in a row, especially when you need to craft specific weapons for your customers’ quests.

Weapon Shop de Omasse‘s biggest strength comes in the form of its narrative, which is filmed in front of a live studio audience. No, seriously, characters come in to roars of applause, people laugh when gags happen, and boo when things go astray for Yuhan and Oyaji. It’s a silly trait that keeps the lively story even livelier.

You’ll meet some pretty interesting characters, from the female pirate Captain Malibu and the hero wannabe Friedel Schlintz to Mr. Grape Kiss, a gay transvestite whose fashion statements are as out there as his club skills (the weapon, not the place). Sometimes the occasional NPC will stop in to rent a weapon to impress a lady, with each of these characters looking almost exactly like the last one. (I was gonna make a Nurse Joy/Officer Jenny reference, but some other reviewer beat me to the punch!) The real showstopper is Jean, a French swordsman who seemed to have jumped out of a Leiji Matsumoto anime. Once you make their weapons you can follow their quests via the Grindcast, a Twitter-like menu that has your customers laying out hashtags and ferocious beat-downs like they’re on clearance.

Of course, there is the minor plotline about the Evil Lord returning from the grave to lay waste to the entire world, but that’s not really important at the moment. The game’s script is pretty hilarious, although I am certain some of the jokes have changed during translation due to Japanese humor sometimes being, well, very Japanese. I won’t spoil the jokes, but let’s just say you’ll be spending plenty of time laughing at the Grindcast once you’ve made all the weapons.

PROS:

  • Consistently funny
  • Nice assortment of characters, weaponry
  • Making weapons is a lot of fun…

CONS:

  • …but the songs get repetitive
  • Game has some dry spells
  • Some un-PC humor may upset prudes

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The last game in Level-5′s Guild01 series has finally arrived in America, and not a moment too soon. Weapon Shop de Omasse is a unique take on the RPG world that’s filled with character and huge laughs. While it may have its flaws Weapon Shop de Omasse is silly fun that will leave you with a smile when you need it most.

FINAL GRADE: 7.8 (out of ten)

Review code provided by Matt Frary of Maverick PR

Evan Bourgault is an accomplished music, anime, and video game critic. His passion for discovering new bands, developers, and Japanese pop culture began in his college radio days and continues on today. Evan joined the ElectricSistaHood team in 2008, where he is a contributing editor and host of one of the network's weekly podcasts. Follow Evan on Twitter at twitter.com/King_Baby_Duck


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