Over the course of the last two years, Level-5's Guild series has drip-fed some of the 3DS' more surprising experiences on to the European eShop. Crimson Shroud - the return of RPG maestro Yasumi Matsuno after the Tactics Ogre director had spent nearly a decade operating on the margins - is one of the handheld's very best, as is Kaz Ayabe's Attack of the Friday Monsters, a delightfully delicate take on a childhood gripped by fertile imagination.
Weapon Shop de Omasse, which featured in the first of two Guild compilations released in Japan nearly two years back, is the last of the seven short games to make it over, for reasons which aren't particularly hard to fathom. Its star name - Yoshiyuki Hirai, an Osaka-born comic who makes up one half of the duo America Zarigani - doesn't travel well outside of Japan, and its dense stream of nerdish humour only does so after what one can assume was a monumental translation effort. A shame, then, that so much has been lost in the process - and that, beyond the jokes, there's very little left of substance.
The concept's solid enough - a kind of Open All Hours set within a knowingly generic RPG world. You're a father-and-son pair confined to the counter of a weapon shop; your many customers are adventurers, heroes and the occasional ambitious NPC who are out to conquer the land, its many quests and its many monsters. It's a sly inverse of the RPG norm that has worked well for other games - EasyGameStation's Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale and Square Enix's own Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King are two smart, accomplished examples - yet Weapon Shop de Omasse lacks their wit and, more importantly, their depth.