After having spent eight hours in the Potion Permit demo, I decided that it would probably be a great entry for my Steam Next Fest June 2022 “Highlights” post… but I have way too much to say about it, so I decided to give it its own standalone post, as mentioned already in my Recap post. Given how fleshed out and polished the demo already is and how much time you can spend on it, this post will be more akin to a review, hence why it’s “Indietail” despite being about a demo. As you may be able to tell, I loved the demo and I’ll most likely grab this game on release since it is right up my alley. Thus, today, I’ll tell you why exactly you should play Potion Permit’s demo and why exactly you should wishlist it right now!
Developer: MassHive Media Publisher: PQube Genre: Adventure, Life Sim, Crafting, Pixel Art, Indie Release Date: TBA/2022 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC, TBA Copy was available on Steam.
Potion Craft is a Life Sim much along the lines of Graveyard Keeper and Stardew Valley. You step into the role of a young chemist from the capital who is sent to Moonbury, a small island where you’ll represent the Medical Association and establish friendly relations. The only issue here is, however, that everyone hates chemists from the capital due to some bad experiences that Moonbury’s residents had in the past with chemists, especially from the capital. All beginning is hard but as Myer, Moonbury’s mayor, requires your help to find a cure for his daughter, you’ll need to forage materials, brew potions, diagnose ailments, and cure villagers to make sure that everyone can lead a happy and healthy life.
The general vibe here is that you’re basically the “underdog”. Nobody trusts or believes in you. Expectations are low, prejudice is rampant, and apart from a few youngsters, nobody really wants to talk to you… but as time goes on, you prove yourself. The citizens’ hearts slowly open up as you help them out – and eventually, bygones will be bygones and you can get to know the different characters. Those characters, btw, are quite interesting in my opinion with some unique beans in the pile. Matheo, the witch doctor, is essentially incredibly upset because you’re stealing his job. Runeheart doesn’t care about anything as long as you bring her materials and money to upgrade your tools. Forrest, the local ranger, doesn’t quite like you but since Myer ordered it, he teaches you about the forest and gives you a few old tools. Generally, most of the characters are pretty loveable although some of the insults at times feel rather rude and uncalled for. It’s fun for the most part but at times, I was wondering if this much hate really is justified…
But then you find out about what the previous chemists did. There is a lot of lore, actually, and as you play the game, you come across different sites where nature has been disturbed or destroyed due to the doing of the previous chemists from the capital. Hence, you not only take care of your patients but also make potions that help save nature in the process. The local flora and fauna will thank you for it and as you unlock more areas and get better at your craft, more opportunities arise for you.
There are a bunch of upgrades you can perform as you go on. Your house, clinic and tools are rather shabby, so you’ll need to visit “Sparks & Heart” to get your tools all sharpened and improved whilst visiting “Bulk & Buy” to create decorations for your room, increase the comfort in your clinic, build a kitchen or upgrade your cauldron, and do lots more. It feels pretty nice to have access to these upgrades relatively early into the game when titles like Stardew Valley don’t grant you access to it anytime soon. The comparison to Stardew Valley isn’t exactly fair since Stardew is quite a bit different from this game. While they’re both Simulation-type games, Stardew has a bigger focus on farming while Potion Permit has a bigger focus on the foraging and socializing aspects of Life Sims. Still, I think that it’s fair to compare the two in some ways given that Potion Permit also makes use of an energy system when foraging as well as a time system for events and interactions with specific other villagers.
The aforementioned cauldron is used to brew potions. To do so, you’ll need to gather herbs, rocks, and other materials from the wild area nearby. By utilizing your sickle, hammer and axe, you can chop down trees, gather from bushes, smash rocks open, kill enemies, and essentially stock up on all the possible materials you may need for potions, food, and other things. More than anything, I enjoyed the actual potion crafting process. The potion crafting process consists of you being confronted with a shape that you need to fill with different ingredients. Only so many ingredients are allowed, meaning that you’ll have to be efficient in your placement and selection. At the same time, some potions, salves, and ointments won’t allow specific types of ingredients (elements), which is why having a range of materials is quite important. Since materials are replenished every day, it’s not much of an issue to just gather more, but typically, you’ll want to have some stocked up just in case, right?
But Potion Permit has a lot more to offer than just foraging and potion crafting. You can cook food, befriend villagers, pet your dog, go fishing, and help out the police, church and post office. You can also romance a bunch of characters, although I wish there were more options. You can save nature, sell potions, upgrade the town and surrounding areas, and generally, enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside. The game has a lot to offer in terms of content and to top it all off, it’s beautiful with a rather vibrant and meticulous pixel art style with many, many small details that move around in cutscenes and in the world. No character ever stands still. They all have their own idle animations that breathe life into the world and I frankly love the way everything moves and is animated. Potion Permit is probably my favourite or at least one of my favourite demos from the Steam Next Fest and I can’t wait to play the full release. It was time that a game scratched that Life Sim itch for me and this one certainly does, which is why I’m highly recommending Potion Permit to you.
This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well. If you find this post on a website other than Indiecator.org, please write an e-mail to me. Thank you!