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Shoppe Keep (Xbox)

Developed by Strange Fire, Shoppe Keep was initially released on PC (Steam) back in 2016 and is currently available for £6.99. It is available on PS4 for £9.99 and now also, Xbox One for £10.39 (currently on sale for £9.35).

Shoppe Keep is a simulation game in which you play as a shopkeeper. Build up your store from scratch by purchasing items to sell as well as shelving and tables to sell your stock on. Try to turn a profit without turning your customers away and reap the rewards.

I’ll be honest, Shoppe Keep is underwhelming when it comes to graphical design, everything looks quite simple and unpolished. Your shop, once you start expanding the walls, has wonky edges which are beyond irritating when you’re like me and love straight edges and things looking symmetrical. You can create your own shopkeeper but there is little choice of customisations, so you end up looking quite bland. Thankfully, the game is in first-person, so you don’t have to look at yourself unless you stand in front of the mirror.

I quite like the background music, it is very charming, understated and better than complete silence. You can change the music once you have unlocked the gramophone in the perks which allow you to do so. The sound effects are well implemented, from the sounds of sweeping to placing items on the shelves, and the occasional panic-stricken shout of customers alerting you to the fact that the barbarians have arrived. 

The controls are quite frankly, unoptimized for a console. The first thing I noticed was that the sensitivity was far too high, thankfully there is the option of decreasing that. Unfortunately, there is no invert option, so that may put some people off. There is no playable tutorial, instead, there are sections of large blocks of text for you to read through. The font is so small though, that I’d rather try and figure it all out for myself than force myself to squint at the TV. For the most part, everything is fairly straightforward.

There are so many facets to this game for you to work with. As time passes you'll notice that the seasons change, which will impact which potions your customers will desire. The most important thing you’ll need to master is ordering your stock. The order form is horrendous, the writing is unclear and scrolling through the vast number of items is painfully slow. 

Once your stock has been delivered, you’ll need to inflate the price that you want to sell each item for in order to get a profit. Take care not to overdo it or your customers won’t be interested and will end up stealing from you! You know when someone has attempted to shoplift because they will suddenly make a run for it. You have a sword and an electric spell equipped for you to take care of these thieves (or you could let them go…) but remember to clean up the bodies because your store appeal will plummet rapidly. It is possible to accidentally kill innocent people, so take care when flailing your sword around as you'll lose Kpoints (there is a perk which will protect innocents from your spells).

As well as cleaning up the dead bodies, you’ll need to sweep the floors and repair the furniture holding all of your goods as these also contribute to your store’s appeal. As you sell items and complete quests (you can have one active at a time) and level up, you will earn ‘Kpoints’. These can be used to unlock perks which will improve and introduce many aspects to your business such as different classed customer items to sell (warriors, rogues, mages, druids), a thief zapper, an entry fee, more tolerance to increased prices, a champion who will go on quests for you, farming and barbarians, just to name a few.

The champion and the barbarian attacks are my favourite things about Shoppe Keep. There is one perk in particular which helped me the most, which is the automated bot. As long as you keep it well stocked, you can assign it tasks such as theft control or restocking the store. It will practically do everything for you. Once you have gotten into a routine with making money, restocking and preventing thefts, it is nice to have something different to contend with. Every so often (once you have unlocked the perk allowing it to happen) a group of barbarians will attack your store and try to break everything inside, so you need to kill them before that happens.

Your champion can be of any class and you need to equip them appropriately, pack them with plenty of health potions and send them off on quests. Successful quests will mean that your champion will return with awesome loot which you can either sell or equip on your champion, making them even stronger.  

Aside from the other issues I have mentioned, I think the biggest problem Shoppe Keep will face is the fact that the developers have now abandoned the game on Steam and moved on to create the sequel, Shoppe Keep 2. This is before fixing some of the bugs and issues which were already pointed out whilst Shoppe Keep was in early access. My concern for the console version is that any issues which may arise may go unnoticed because, in their own words, the developers' focus is now fully on the sequel. 

From a personal standpoint, I love this game. Yes, I wish it had been ported better with suitable controls for a console, but I got used to it. If I had to give it a score, it would be 7/10. I really hope that by some miracle the developers will come back to Shoppe Keep and rectify the outstanding problems but I think that is unlikely.

Shoppe Keep has 26 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A lengthy achievement list which consists of mainly progression-based achievements which will unlock after a fairly substantial amount of playtime (90+ hours for “Full Circle”). Realistically, is there enough content to the game to warrant that kind of achievement? I’m not so sure. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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