Review – Homework Salesman (Part Two)

in Games

Game: Homework Salesman by Diedrupo and Ronove

Summary: Homework Salesman is an extremely well-designed “life simulator” that can entertain players for hours upon hours.

What is your name? What is your quest?

What is your name? What is your quest?

 

This is the second installment of a two-part review for Homework Salesman. In the first part, we got into the basic scenario of the game and the masterful day-to-day system that anchors it. However, there are plenty of other little details to explore. The game’s “life simulator” design gives players a lot of responsibilities to manage. Describing them here risks making the game sound like a lot of work, but one thing the recent history of games in general has shown is that plenty of players don’t mind taking on the commitments of a simulated existence.

As she adventures around the land, heroine Reniat Leminghouse and whichever companions she has with her at the moment have to be careful about how many trinkets and goodies they acquire. At the start, you’re limited to what Reniat can carry on her person and in one storage container. It sounds like a lot, but after a few days of gathering herbs and monster drops, that fills up quickly. There are ways to increase your storage capacity, but they don’t come cheap. Your weapons and armor also take up space and these have to be watched closely. Each of them has a meter representing its durability and each time it’s used to strike an enemy or protect a character, it suffers some slight damage. If it gets too beat up, you need to repair it back in town.

One day out in the plains and I'm a walking arboretum!

One day out in the plains and I’m a walking arboretum!

You can also create new weapons and plenty of other items. Homework Salesman using a simple crafting system that will feel familiar to those who have played a lot of RPG Maker games. It’s easy to learn and dedicated crafters can produce not just weapons or armor, but food, clothes, potions, even miscellaneous items like furniture. There are also enchantments that can be placed on items to make them extra useful.

As you can see, there are a lot of different systems and mechanics in this game, and I haven’t even gone into the detailed friendship systems, the different professions Reniat can master, the effect each day’s weather has on overworld adventuring, the way the battle skills can level up, etc. RPG Maker conventional wisdom says not to overload your game with mechanics or it will become unwieldy and hard for the player to keep track of. This game is a pretty effective argument against that, with a long list of different mechanics that all tie into the goal of evoking someone’s daily life.

How do I know you're not creating a secret registry of adventurers?!

How do I know you’re not creating a secret registry of adventurers?!

Most of the game’s visuals were provided by Ronove of Star Stealing Prince fame. Aside from a few familiar sunflowers, not much of that game’s moody storybook atmosphere has migrated over. Instead, everything looks bright, colorful and lighthearted to match the breezy tone of the game. All the important characters have faces that are full of personality and different emotions (particularly Reniat). The interface also has a few cute little surprises as you navigate it.

I’ve gone on about this game for two articles and over 1,000 words now, and there’s still more I could talk about. If this sort of open-ended adventure is your cup of tea, this game delivers the goods. In particular, I’d recommend users newer to the program check it out. It gives you an impressive demonstration of what RPG Maker is capable of.

So what’s everyone think? What’s your favorite part of the daily routine in Homework Salesman? Any suggestions for balancing a lot of systems? What should we review next? Sound off in the comments.

1 comment… add one

  • Wernard November 27, 2014, 12:04 pm

    A bit late, but I just want to add that there are a lot of small things there that make one smile.

    Like a pie-making contest that Reniat can be one of the judges of (actually she just wandered in and likes pie), a contest between two housewifes and … Zathy. And yes, you can totally make Zathy win the contest.

    Or the woman that mistakes Reniat for a wandering hobo … and her argumentation is actually pretty sound.

    And other small things, like the fact that the one who gives official quests to kill however many puny monsters is Reniat’s father, who is a former adventurer himself and should know well how tedious those quests can be. Or attempts to recruit Eagen on very rainy days, with Reniat pretty much shanghaiing him when he doesn’t want to go.

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