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Both games are great and different. I don't get topics like these that put two great games versus each other.
Maybe he has both already and wants to know which one is likely to be more entertaining? Also, you don't ALWAYS have to compare games in the same exact genre... It's not like he asked "Pac Man or Minesweeper, which one is the better Fighting game?"
Both have dungeon crawling aspects to them and both have loot gathering aspects to them...while they're not the same genre exactly, it's at least somewhat close...it's just that the primary focus is different.
Recettear is better (to me) precisely because you're not just doing dungeon after dungeon. You have to balance dungeon crawling with managing and upgrading your shop and getting your customers to where they're able to spend more money...If it was nothing but randomly generated dungeons and using adventurers to fight, it'd be right where torchlight 1 & 2 is for me: Fun for a while but ultimately a mindless grind.