Shop Titans (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 06.06.2020

Review for Shop Titans on PC

While a good game will always be able to transcend its format, it would be foolish to ignore the blatant discrepancy in quality between the average mobile title and the rest of the medium. Home console gaming is already full of anti-consumer tactics, but the problem is all the more rampant on the mobile half of the industry. Free releases are often hotbeds to predatory micro-transactions, making use of simple and mindless gameplay loops akin to chowing down on junk food in order to rope in consumers. Shop Titans has made the leap from the mobile market to PC, and while it posits itself as a free release, aggressive micro-transactions and a wearisome gameplay loop paint a much different picture.

Shopkeeping simulators aren't a novel concept at this point, but most mobile titles don't go for novelty. Aesthetically similar to virtually all of its contemporaries, Shop Titans is about as basic and to the point as mobile games go. There's minimal avatar customisation, simple enough controls, where the player only needs a mouse, and the gameplay loop is tied directly to timers, invoking a "just another minute" mentality where the mere possibility of progress keeps audiences locked in.

Players stock their stores through Crafting, a task as simple as clicking an item to craft and waiting for its timer end. New items are most commonly unlocked via Blueprints, which are earned by naturally playing, completing quests, or paying real money - but more on that later. Selling is as simple as accepting a customer's money, but items actually need to be in stock. Customers can be told to wait, but there's no guarantee they'll stick around if there's no stock. Considering how few crafting slots players initially have access to, this can make profiting off big orders a fair bit of trouble.

While the player avatar mans the store, heroes can be recruited to set forth on quests and collect loot. As to be expected of the genre, quests are non-interactive, and locked to a timer. Heroes engage in battles, which can actually be viewed, but there's little engagement beyond sending the party on their way. Gameplay never really evolves past this point, with the player simply clicking their way to profit. If they help Kabam profit, that is.

Screenshot for Shop Titans on PC

Micro-transactions are not uncommon practice anymore, but Shop Titans is especially predatory. Just about everything in-game costs real money. Anyone looking for a free, and clear play-through, look elsewhere. Perhaps it's theoretically possible to get and do everything without spending a cent, but the fact of the matter is that the gameplay loop is designed to be as uncomfortable as humanly possible for peasants who don't want to give Kabam money.

Want more crafting slots? Either grind like crazy (something fairly difficult to do without crafting slots), or pay real for more slots. Heroes will bring back treasure from their quests, but chests often need to be opened with gems (real currency). These items tend to be far better than the ones heroes find for free, making progress harder than it needs to be for anyone who isn't paying real money. Beyond spending money to ease the grind, anyone who wants access to the full game will need to spend quite a bit of money as well. Two crafters are locked behind paywalls, and they total $50. To say nothing of the items locked behind real money.

Kabam's shameless game design speaks for itself, but the cherry on top is the monthly subscription. For a certain sum per month, players can waste their money for access to a better gameplay loop. Presumably. And really, it is a waste because there is no endgame, no goal. There is absolutely nothing to build to. Shop Titans is utterly devoid of substance, hoping that audiences will be tricked by some vague promise of content to spend real money. Developers like Kabam hold both the medium and the industry back. The PC port is little more than an opportunity to Kabam to prey on a new customer base.

Screenshot for Shop Titans on PC

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Considering how mindless and tailor-fit for mobile audiences the substanceless gameplay loop of Shop Titans is, one has to wonder why Kabam saw fit to pursue a PC release. Of course, the "why" is made painfully clear the moment players hit their first wall. Progression is very blatantly designed around micro-transactions. Anyone who doesn't want to spend a dime will need to contend with a very long grind. Even then, the game actively withholds items and content from players who don't want to spend real money. Worse yet is the monthly subscription service, which Kabam fully expects anyone who wants to play Shop Titans in earnest to purchase. Already aggressively mediocre experience by design, jumping from mobile to PC has done Kabam's shopkeeping "simulator" no favours. Shop Titans is worse than video game junk food; it's slop.

Also known as

Shop Titans

Developer

Kabam Games

Publisher

Kabam Games

Genre

Other

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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