As we reported previously, Shop Titans is a new game with a unique concept that turns the traditional RPG formula on its head. Instead of becoming a hero and saving the world like you usually do in these types of game, you’ll become a shopkeeper whose task is to provide equipment to other heroes. You’ll get your own store, which you try to stock up with everything an adventurer is going to need, from massive swords and magic starves to armor and wizard’s robes.

Unfortunately, while the idea sounds incredibly cool and creative on paper, it is dragged down by a plethora of freemium mechanics. At the end of the day, unless you’re willing to chuck in some cash, you’ll probably be left unsatisfied.

Shop Titans trailer

Things start out pretty decently. You’ll create and customize your own shopkeeper by picking a gender, choose the hair and skin color that you like, and pick your preferred clothes. Afterwards, you’re greeted by a tutorial that introduces you to the basic mechanics of the game such as placing shelves, putting up decoration, ordering stuff to stock, and finally, selling them to make profit.

Soon enough you’ll find yourself selling items as fast as you can obtain them, and that’s when the second challenge of the game presents itself: You have to research new items. The way this works is that you have to make a certain number of an item, and once you successfully do that, you’ll unlock a new item – or at least a better version of the one you’ve been making.

An RPG where you become the shopkeeper instead of the hero

You don’t actually have to craft the items with your own hands – other merchants in town will take care of that for you. All you need to do is providing them with the needed money. You can also choose to invest in their own personal stores to earn various bonuses and perks. It’s worth doing so too, as this improves the crafting times by a large margin, which in turn means you have more things to sell.

Aside from trying to earn as much money as possible, you can hire heroes to form a part of your own and explore the world. Again, this is something you’ll want to do because the benefits are huge: Throughout your adventures, you can find rare items that can be used to make some extremely powerful (and therefore expensive) gear.

Shop Titans Review
Expand your shop, and form your own party to do quests

You don’t have to pay your heroes regularly, but you do need to keep them well-equipped with the stuff you have, for free of course. This shouldn’t be a problem, though, as you’ll always have tons of surplus. Moreover, most quests are extremely easy, so you have nothing to worry about.

The experience is ruined by freemium mechanics

Unfortunately, all of that is not enough to save Shop Titans. We loved the idea and really tried to like it, but everything just feels painfully dull and slow that it ultimately feels like a real chore.

At first, your profits increase at such a horrendous pace that purchasing any upgrade or making any investment require you to put in some extremely careful thought. It’s the same for any kind of expansion you want to make for your store, as everything costs either gems (the game’s premium currency) or an unreasonably large amount of gold.

Shop Titan F3bf
Everything costs either gems or an unreasonably large amount of gold.

We just can’t shake the feeling that all of that is intentionally put there to make players spend money. Honestly, this game would have been great if it had been a premium game with actual strategy instead of paywalls.

That said, the idea behind the game is cool, and you’ll probably still be able to get a kick out of it if you have some cash to spare. If you don’t, though, there is not a lot for you here.