A huge fan of resource progression in any game I simply had to jump into Shoppe Keep to see what all the economic fuss was about and figure out for myself why developers Strange Fire felt it necessary to upgrade this title to Shoppe Keep 2. After diving in to both I can see why Excalibur Publishing support them in doing so!
Before we even start, in case you are thinking the word shop is being spelled wrong it pays to note that “shoppe” is an original way of spelling shop suggesting such an establishment has old-fashioned charm or quaintness. Armed with this knowledge you won’t be surprised at the somewhat crude yet whimsical character customization that leaves no fig leaf to the imagination. Then the world opens up and viola you are shoppe keeping!
The music is rustically captivating, architecture and townsfolk strolling are dressed to match our shoppe theme. I should note here that yes I tried to whack townsfolk with my pricing gun without any success while doing a lap of the town as I took in the “for sale” signs among locked doors, then a furniture vendor before stopping where I started at my store. I was intrigued!
Shoppe Keep 2 is a management game where your task is to acquire the materials and means to sell goods that then allow you to make gold to pay taxes, unlock vendors – rinse, repeat! The difference between this version and the original is that you may play with three more people at once.
You’ll find everything you need to know inside your personalized store. I actually enjoyed the customization that came with this more than I did the character! There are more accurate feminine touches to be creative with making our emblem choices exciting. Within your personalized store you’ll also meet the first quest giver.
SHOPPE KEEP 2 MULTIPLAYER
Shoppe Keep 2 (SK2) is exactly how you might imagine it at this point. You don’t come armed with too many expectations but it’s now – this soon – that you are reminded that this game is definitely in Early Access. Playing solo I didn’t notice these things but rallying fellow writers and friends to enjoy the multi-player experience with me we did notice chat bugs where one of us had our chat freeze but could still hear notifications and my stamina loss seemed to be inaccurate when with them also. Other finer details that don’t seem to be multi-player based is that you don’t notice important features that help a lot like the quest button at the bottom of your screen or the fact that you can deliver goods to doors because it doesn’t stand out you can even use them if you have already run from place to place like I did when I first arrived.
Some really cool things to note is that when you choose multi-player you also get two options: to play via the internet or via LAN which would be great for families. None of us encountered lag or lost connection so the servers for SK2 are great and when you play as a team of four when someone completes a quest it completes for all!
I definitely enjoyed playing with 3 others more than I enjoyed playing solo!
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Once you navigate the UI a bit more quests to tend to roll out in a manner that’s relaxing for lack of a better word though often throughout the whole game you keep wanting the the UI to be more intuitive as you stumble upon your sprint movement and water bottles by accident more than a well observed execution. Much to my cake addict delight the bakery is the first store we become familiar with and if I could give any advice without giving away too much so you can enjoy discovering Shoppe Keep 2 for yourself – sell lots, sell every chance you get and be confident in your pricing! Not too confident though as customers who are not pleased kick your pedestal you have your goods on so you’ll need to maintain them! Brats I know! Make sure you don’t sell your broom also like I did the first time around because you’ll need to sweep away litter often so everyone who visits you enjoys their shopping experience.
It also pays (no pun intended) to garner some patience when selling items, pricing and placing goods can be fiddly. I never did catch a thief, every time someone stole something I was outside the town killing spiders or wolves. There are trees to chop, mines to mine and yes like any good games there is also fishing! I had a stick ready though to hit them with if I did catch someone trying to steal the items I was trying to sell.
Be sure to figure out how to arm yourself before you leave the towns gates. The map helps you see where everything is in case you need something specific but the world itself is fairly small. Yes I ran the whole map the first time I left the town, there is no such thing as a sheer cliff or falling which might be a good thing for easily distracted folks like myself so you can traverse everywhere and large parts are empty which made me curious if they would remain so in the future.
The sky, water and ambiance in Shoppe Keep 2 is very stunning. The day night cycles adding even more charm and realism. What is the most fun though is the crafting. There is some depth to it making up for the easiness of kiting mobs to kill with your over powered bow. No I didn’t get around to fishing because I am one of those hopeless cases who gets lost in fishing very easily so I thought I better not to deliver these words in timely fashion but I look forward to finding out if any of you did and if you found it worthwhile!
EARLY ACCESS SUMMARY
Shoppe Keep 2 is a great game for parents wanting to find a relaxed environment for their children to play within, or to play with them. I found the toughest “content” is not content at all but hopefully fixes, additions or redesigns before launch. SK2 is very easy to play and may be too easy for many. Currently there is not enough content for a long term adventure but short term shopping goals, this is a keeper.
Good Luck Strange Fire and Excalibur Publishing on your Early Access Steam journey!