Gameplay in Recettear is fundamentally broken down into two sections: the item store section and the dungeon section.
ITEM STORE SECTION
You start out each day in your store. This is the main focus of what you're trying to accomplish in the game: make the store as successful as possible (and pay off the loan so Terme Finance doesn't come a-knockin' to steal your house). Aside from just opening the store and selling things, there's a couple of things you can do while wandering about the store.
It probably occurred to you that "hey, I need to put my stuff on display if anyone's going to buy it!" To do that, just walk up to a counter and press the action button (which defaults to z or button 1 on your gamepad). You'll be able to choose what item from your inventory to place in a particular spot.
Placing items isn't the only thing to do in the store, though: Tear, stoic as she may be, can provide you with a lot of useful advice. To talk to her, just wander up to her, and press the action button when you see the little "Tear" speech bubble above Recette's head.
In particular, Tear can tell you what kind of atmosphere your store has. This affects the sort of clientele you get, and how much money you might make. The atmosphere is affected by the items you have on display and what your store looks like (more on that below), so keep a close eye on it, especially if business drops a bit!
You can open the shop by standing next to the chair behind the main counter, hitting the action button, and selecting the appropriate option. Once the store's open, customers will come in and try to buy things from you (or sell things to you, which is a nice way to get some deals).
When someone decides to buy something, you'll have a chance to haggle some over the actual price. Each item has a base price, and you can go over or under that depending on how adventurous you feel (or if you want to cut a friend a sweet deal, maybe).
If your customer takes the deal you offer, you're one step closer to not being foreclosed on, congratulations. You'll also get a little bit of experience, and you can get extra for selling multiple items on the first offer, offering what the customer thinks is a perfect price, and whatnot. Remember that a customer can turn you down for two reasons: they think the offer is bad in general, or they don't have enough money. If it's the former, then sticking to your guns can help, but if they tell you they don't have enough cash, it might be time to drop your price by a lot.
There will be times when a customer comes up to buy... something, but they won't know what they want. In that case, you'll need to take the non-specific idea they ask for and match it to something in your inventory, then try to sell it to them. Sometimes what they ask for will be easy to figure out, and sometimes... well, the customer IS always right, in the end, right?
Putting stuff on display and selling it isn't the only factor in running the shop, though. To attract the kind of clientele you want, you need to decorate your store properly. This can be done at the main counter once you gain some merchant levels - you can alter your walls, flooring and tables with whatever alternatives you have in your inventory.
Once you select what to change, you can flip through each applicable item in your inventory to see what it looks like before you make a choice. Go for a targeted look or just what you think looks nice - it's up to you!
Make enough money and you'll even get the option to expand the store and get more sales-space. Do well, and big things await you. Big things.
There are two ways to go about getting stock for your store: one way is to play the markets in town, buy low, and sell dear. It's a good, stable way to make money and the Merchant's Guild will always be able to keep certain items in stock.
The other way is to grab an adventurer friend, travel to one of the dungeons near town, and bash some heads in and carry back as many goodies as your grubby hands can carry. We kind of suspect you'll be taking this option a lot.
When you travel to the Adventurer's Guild, you'll see a list of all of the adventurers you can hire. You can only hire someone after getting to know them and receiving their guild card, remember!
Once you've figured out who you want to take, you can decide if you want to bring along any items. If you bring along superior equipment for your adventurer, they'll equip it for the duration and then return it at the end. Alternately you can bring along restorative items like food. Remember, though, every item you bring along uses up room that could be given over to loot you could bring home!
After choosing what to bring along, you can pick which dungeon to go to and what floor to start on (assuming you used a Door of Return when you left the dungoen last). You'll start out with access to only the Hall of Trials in the city - more dungeons are unlocked as you progress through the game.
Pick a dungeon, and then it's time to get to business. You can get specific details on the abilities of your chosen adventurer through the pause menu. Once you're familiar with him (or her), it's time to crack some skulls and get some loot!
Throughout the dungeons, you'll find treasure chests scattered about in addition to all the dangerous critters that wander the halls/walkways/branches/what have you. (Who placed them there? Good question!) While monsters have a chance to drop items, chests are usually a much better way to get what you need (although certain monsters drop certain items that can be helpful!)
You have to be careful when fiddling with chests, though. Oftentimes they'll surrender items peacefully, as seen here...
... but other times they'll contain traps, like this one that ices the floor of the entire dungeon temporarily! Be ready for anything when opening a chest.
Of course, you can trigger traps when simply turning a corner as well. Be careful when proceeding forward into an area you haven't yet explored, or rocks will fall and YOU could die. (Note, though, that the traps will hurt the beasts just as badly as they'll hurt you...)
Every five floors or so, you'll encounter a particularly nasty monster. It'll be time for a big fight, and possibly a big reward... assuming the beast in question doesn't use you like a dishrag. Each "boss" monster has a particular strategy to it - watch it carefully and figure out the key to victory!
AROUND THE CITY
There is one other concept of note. Running a shop isn't just all work and peril in dank holes - there's people in this here city, and it can be a good idea to get to know them! Whenever you leave the store, areas where you can find someone to interact with will be flashing.
The people you meet can help (and occasionally hinder) you; get to know some of them well enough and they may even decide to go dungeon-diving with you, or help you figure out how to get to a new dungeon, or any number of results! While making sure that Terme doesn't foreclose on your house is important, don't neglect your social life - it can pay off down the road.
That said, being sociaable does consume time that could be spent working to make sure that fairy with you doesn't have to take your house... so spend your time wisely.
At the end of each week, after all, Tear comes calling with a bill to pay... if you can pay it, it's all fanfare and trumpets. If you can't...
Well, we hope you find boxes comfortable, at any rate.
Starting from today, your fate is in your hands. You have five weeks to earn all the money you need to repay the debt, in some way, either through adventure, through market manipulation, or sheer grit and luck. It's up to you to choose how you'll go about saving your home.
Good luck, Recette Lemongrass. You'll need it.
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