Let me learn you about this game I found…
Now I fiddle around in Kongregate every now and then and there was a game way back called Swords and Potions. It was a shop management game where you just crafted and sold stuff. Progression was nice, the music was fantastic but you were limited by things like limited day cycles per hour, restricted crafting timers and insane salaries towards the end. Plus people could rob you and steal all your stuff! They eventually made a sequel to the game, Swords and Potions 2 but again, crafting timers weren’t very flexible and to really maximize profits you had to put in so much furniture you couldn’t even see the NPCs anymore. It was a nice try but it really didn’t grab me as much as the first game. Suffice to say, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to it. Fast forward a bit and this wonderful game called Shop Heroes came into existence (well for me anyways). In my opinion, this is the true Swords and Potions sequel.
Shop Heroes was made by Cloudcade in 2015 and can be played on Android/iOS and PC. As you can probably guess by now, it’s a shop simulation game where you craft and sell items to customers but there’s so much more to it than that and I love the game for it.
When you first start off, your shop is tiny, you’re alone with maybe enough gold for two workers and a crafting station. Invest a bit of time into the game and you can expand the shop allowing you to gain more furniture slots so you can place more resource bins, crafting stations and racks which boost your energy. Now I’m sure a lot of you dry heaved at the idea of energy but I assure you it’s not what you think. Every successful sale gives you a base of +1 energy. This can be increased by buying racks of that category. For example, you can buy a rack of hats that’ll increase the energy you gain for selling hats. Simple right? This energy can then be used to persuade the customer to buy something else. Let’s say you don’t have the item they want. Instead of turning them away, you can convince them with energy to want to purchase another item. It’s a great way to sell off items you want to get rid of as your inventory is limited in space (but can be expanded with furniture items). Another way to use energy is to surcharge customers or give them discounts, but no one really gives discounts. That’s not the type of game this is; they’ll return after a bit. If you have enough racks, you can place a surcharge on every item you sell to earn yourself just that little bit of extra cash without any consequences. It’s great, it’s fantastic, sometimes they get a little angry with you but like I said, they’ll always come back.
You gain experience by selling items and once you level up a bit, you have the option to create or join a city. The city is where you build and upgrade facilities that’ll boost attributes for half an hour per payment. Your town is crucial to being able to play the game as progression is cripplingly slow without upgrading it as you unlock more customers plus increase the rate of resource production here. Unfortunately, this game isn’t the easiest to play by yourself. If you chose the option to create your own city and no one has joined you, you’ll find yourself having to spend all your money trying to upgrade buildings with little to no return return. It’s simply not efficient to start your own unless you know a handful of people who are willing to join you. Town upgrades are really expensive so it’s definitely worth it to spend a few days hopping cities to find an active one.
Another main screen is the Inn. Here you can send your customers on quests to gain items for you. They are no longer mere customers but are now valiant heroes! There’s also the innkeeper who will sell you unique crafting recipes for blue fragments that you get via dailies. The quests are crazy important because as you progress, nearly every item you want to craft will require some form of quest resource and lots of them. You heroes are given a power score based on what equipment they have and you can swap them out as you see fit. Harder quests will require a higher power score from each hero so do your best to keep their gear fresh and up to date as it can break after each quest.
On the left hand side of the screen, there is an icon with a scale on it. That is the holy grail of the game. I’ve spent more than 100 hours on the game without knowing about it’s power but now that I’ve seen the light, I am enlightened. Clicking that icon brings up the marketplace where you can sell and buy items from other players in the game. This is particularly helpful if you need more money to upgrade buildings or furniture in your shop as you can sell nearly everything (depending on if there’s a demand for it or not), including your quest resources. I’ve spent so long living in the slums, selling items for a mere 2 thousand gold to my customers when I could’ve been selling my resources that only take an hour to get for 100k a pop.
Overall, there’s a lot to do in this game. You can build things, upgrade things, craft all day long provided you have a high enough gathering rate per hour for resources, up price all your items and force your customers to buy the really expensive ones or send them on life threatening quests to fuel your shop’s supplies. There are dailies and city wide raids that you and your friends can participate in plus a few events that can make your gaming experience just that little bit easier. There’s a PvP arena as well if you’re interested in seeing how your heroes compare to others. At the end of the day, I always find myself logging back in to check on the shop. This game is truly amazing and addicting and you can play it as casual or as hardcore as you like since you can play for as long as your resource rates allow you to.
I won’t give this a perfect score because of how harsh the game is to players who haven’t found an active city yet and because the premium gems have the ability to make the game incredibly easy. You can get a small number of these gems just by playing but players with real money that they’re willing to spend will have a great advantage over those who don’t. That being said, if there’s a game you want to low key play with it in the background (as I do), then please give this a try! Maybe even join my town if there’s any room!