Potion Craft is an alchemist simulator where you, as the player, physically interact with tools and ingredients to brew potions. What is a better way to spend your free time than indulging in some alchemy? Cora discusses Potion Craft, which was gifted to Impact as a review copy, and how it was a pleasant surprise.
Before delving into Niceplay Games’ new alchemist simulator Potion Craft, I did some mooching around the official Steam store page, watching the numerous marketing trailers and peeking at the in-game screenshots. My first impression was, well… meh.
It looked okay, I guess. The medieval manuscript styled graphics were the most appealing thing to me but not enough to attract me from marketing alone. The trailers were quite basic and explained the game to you rather than rope you in with a compelling backstory as most mobile simulator/RPG games would. Where was the tragic death of a family member that left their home to you in their will? A broken-down relationship that leads you to want to pursue a new career that conveniently becomes the game? You know, like those typical adverts that pop up on Instagram for games like Merge Mansion.
All I knew from the Steam store content is that Potion Craft lets me own a potion shop and make potions. No story aspect, no surprise elements in the game, just pure simulation. And that is pretty much what the game is… but I loved it. I lost track of two hours by just mixing potions and helping customers poison their neighbours’ livestock. It was thrilling.
what I really enjoyed about this game was how relaxing it was.
At first, I still possessed the residual feelings of ‘meh’. The simulator starts from the moment you suddenly own an alchemist shop. I didn’t know whether it was breaking, entering, and just claiming ownership or if the place was abandoned or why I even had ownership of this place. But I did. From there, I started making potions and running a shop – selling to customers every day, picking ingredients in the garden, and aggressively mashing them in a pestle and mortar.
It sounds pretty basic and boring from that description, right? But, what I really enjoyed about this game was how relaxing it was, alongside the mechanics. It gave me Animal Crossing vibes where you can just go about your day, completing tasks without any looming deadlines or stress.
Regarding the mechanics of Potion Craft, you have access to five different rooms, each accessible via arrow buttons or WASD. The rooms include the laboratory, the bedroom, the garden, the shop, and the basement. Now, I haven’t played long enough to fully consume the power of the basement, but I will definitely get there. The laboratory is by far my favourite since it is the primary location for the simulator, where the potions are brewed.
I was enveloped by the thrill of throwing in random ingredients and experimenting to my heart’s content
And I don’t mean brewed as in you click a few buttons and it’s done – I mean you get to manually stir the cauldron, you get to move the mouse up and down as if you are actually mashing ingredients and pumping a fan. It’s brilliant. You can tell the developers have really put the time and effort into making the simulation feel as real as it can on a PC.
Then, to top it all off, you can experiment with creating potions as much as you want. I forgot about running a store as I was enveloped by the thrill of throwing in random ingredients and experimenting to my heart’s content.
Alongside the equipment for potion crafting, a map is displayed in which you can keep track of your crafting progress and see how different ingredients change the potion as you add it. The map is like one out of an RPG. It displays recipe/intelligence points, mysterious concoctions that are only revealed when you stop close enough to it, and skulls for when you are close to destroying your creation. The map is a wonderful aid in your crafting journey.
And it is not just the map that can help you. There is a recipe book, a quest journal and a few other currently inaccessible elements that will be in the finished version of the game.
Potion Craft is a game I thought I wouldn’t like but instead became addicted to. If I didn’t have to work, I’d still be playing it.
Yet, I do believe it still has a way to go in its development. How to progress in the game was not entirely clear to me at first. Perhaps having more defined quests with sub-tasks could resolve this, or clearly defining the different shortcuts to access the recipe book, talent points, manual could help. I felt that customers were always wanting the same potions, never requesting unknown ones or asking for different strengths. There is an option to haggle prices with customers, which I struggled to work out how to do it right and ended up losing money. However, this may just be because I’m not good at haggling.
Regardless of these nit bits, I would recommend Potion Craft to anyone that enjoys simulators or more stress-free games like Animal Crossing, even in the unfinished state it is now.
My overall verdict: 4/5
In-article video courtesy of @tinyBuildGAMES via @youtube.com. No changes were made to this video.
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