I’ve been getting a bit looser when it comes to installing or uninstalling games on my Android-based cell phone. By that I mean not everything is going to get a reaction out of me, such as a meaty blog post on Grinding Down, negative or positive. Some games I continue to log in to daily and tap on, and some I give a try for a wee bit, but find they don’t really hook me, which is a shame for things like Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Dragalia Lost, and, most recently, The Sims Mobile. However, one of the newer ones I’ve downloaded in preparation to stave off boredom during chemotherapy treatments–well, new to me–is called Merchant, and I’m digging it a whole bunch, pixels and all.
Well, the whole point to Merchant from Retora Games is to become the greatest merchant the world has ever known. You’ll end up hiring heroes, crafting items like weapons and armor, and defeating various D&D-inspired monsters, save for bushes that don’t fight back, in order to improve your heroes and grow your economy. However, as a burgeoning shop-owner, you’ll need to manage your resources properly and make tactical decisions to rise to the top. This means you can only craft so many things before running out of inventory space or gold and must begin selling your wares to traveling wanna-be heroes. It’s a solid mix of there always being something to do and something to plan for down the road.
I remember being fascinated with the idea of Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale when it came out way back in late 2007 despite still never having played it. In that one, you are Recette, a shop-owner, and have to decide how you’ll get your stock–either through playing the markets in town or going out into the wild with an adventuring friend and thrashing beasts until they give up the goodies. You also had to figure out how much to sell things for, what the shop should look like, and how to best go about getting the money needed to pay off the loan. Merchant is kind of like this, except you are always behind the counter, making things happen from the safety of your store-front.
Merchant is pretty chill, as will as plain ol’ pretty. I mean, I like pixel art, and this is some good stuff. You can unlock different skins for your shop and shop-keeper, but the game never pushes micro-transactions; instead, it looks like it would rather prefer you buy DLC and get more for the game in one big gulp. The music is actually nice, but I often play games on my phone with sounds off, so I don’t hear too much of it.
The game is also available for free on Steam, but I think having in on your phone to check in on now and again is more than perfect. Like, I’ve been doing this the entire time I’ve been writing this post–send a hero out to fight a monster, type some words, collect rewards, rinse and repeat. Sure, it’s another game of timers, but this one feels much more rewarding than many other idle games out there. I say, give it a shot; if not, you can always close up shop and spend your nights getting drunk in the local tavern, dreaming of a different life.