Have you ever wanted to run and work in your very own medieval crafting store? A place where you can supply local villagers with various wares, daring knights with ceramic pots and so on? Well, now you can thanks to developer and publisher Big Village Games Limited and their new game, Merek’s Market.
“We’ve all been that adventurer throwing down bags of gold to buy swords and shields, but what about the poor souls rushing around behind the shop counter? Strange customers? Yes. Over the top crafting challenges? You bet. A shop cat? Absolutely! Take ownership of Merek’s Market as you haggle, barter and craft your way through a comical single player campaign or team up with friends to supply the whole town.”
You play as the titular Merek and have to please the customers that enter your shop by crafting the items that they request. The customers come in, tell you what they want and you go off and craft it for them. Example: someone comes in and asks for a chair. You grab a piece of wood and a cowhide and make a chair on the crafting table, to then deliver it to the awaiting customer before they leave. Different resources make different items and combining not just individual resources, but also fully made items can make new and different wares for your customers before time runs out and they leave.
Forgotten what resources make what items? Don’t worry as there’s a handy ‘recipe book’ that keeps all of your items and just how to make them. But you will waste valuable time stopping to read up on what items needed what resources. Need to make a staff? Just take a piece of wood to your workstation and away you go. But other items will need other and more resources. As you progress through the game, more recipes and resources become available to make more elaborate items. Every tenth level sees you having to take part in a ‘boss build’. These are massively large items that require much more work, all while you still try to manage the normal running of your shop at the same time. When you do finish one of these boss builds, your shop is upgraded. More workstations, more resources and so on. This really is basically Team 17’s Overcooked, but set in a medieval shop.
Occasionally, a customer will come in and instead of having to build an item for them, they will want one of your already made items, This begins a little mini-game where you haggle with the customer for the best price. Demand too high a price for your wares and the customer will get upset and even leave. Give a too low price and the customer will leave very happy, but you’ll be out of pocket. There’s also a 4-player couch co-op mode for some multiplayer mayhem where you all have to work together to keep the local villagers happy.
I have to be honest and finish the review by saying how I don’t much like these types of games. I tried to get into the aforementioned Overcooked, but it just didn’t do anything for me. I’m much of a fan of being rushed to play games, so titles that use time constraints as a gameplay mechanic are just an instant turn off for me. Still, I always try to be objective when I do my reviews and I always look at the cost of the game too. Merek’s Market is being sold for around £15 and despite this really not being my bag at all, I do think that’s a very fair price for what you get.
If you do enjoy these time and resource management, run around a shop-type games, you might really enjoy this one. There’s a good amount of content here, plenty of items to craft for your customers. The haggling mini-game helps to breaks up the continual crafting and the ‘boss builds’ can actually be quite entertaining and amusing. Speaking of which, Merek’s Market had a fantastic sense of humour and I admit to getting a few laughs out of it several times. It may not be my type of game, but it is a solid game nevertheless and worth a play if you’re into the likes of Overcooked.