Reviewed on the Xbox Series S|X
You ever thought about channeling your inner professor Snape and becoming a potions master? Or maybe you wanted to go out to fight creatures and harvest resources from the land. Well in Potion Permit, you get the best of both worlds. This is a open-ended sim is like a mix between Stardew Valley and Tetris, but does it live up to the legacy of those games? Should you play Potion Permit?
In this life-sim adventure RPG, you play as the village chemist. You are by assigned by your guild to a small island town called Moonbury. You quickly find out that the town treats you like your the Grinch, because of their negative past with chemist. It’s up to you to gather resources and heal the townsfolk from various diseases while also defrosting the cold shoulder everyone is giving you.
The main narrative unravels as you go around town doing fetch quest for people and earning everyone’s respect. Every mission reveals a piece of the overall mystery. It’s a nice touch that every character in the town plays a part in one way or another.
Let’s talk about the gameplay.
This life Sim games showcases a different loop. Every day you diagnose any patients that are sick, go out and hunt down resources like plants, wood and stone, and fight monsters to use as ingredients. To heal someone you brew the specific potion that cures that illness. To brew a potion, you have to solve a puzzle. Each ingredient is a Tetris-style puzzles piece and you have to correctly fill in the shape they give. It’s not hard and it helps to prevent the game from feeling boring.
Speaking of the characters I am impressed with the way the developer, MassHive Media made every character stand out. Everyone in town had their own style and personality that feels unique. It’s a nice touch that really helps to immerse you into this world. They also give you the ability to grow your relationship with characters by gifting Moon Cloves. It’s a traditional gift that the locals really enjoy for some reason. The game also gives you the ability to romance some of single members of the town. No judgment here, but if you’re one of those people who like to get their swerve on in video games, this game is gonna be right up your alley.
Let’s talk about the games visuals. If I was giving an mvp award to one aspect of the game it would for sure be the gorgeous pixel art style. There is an impressive amount of detail in everything you see, from the monsters you fight to the regular items in everyone’s house. Even the most mundane things in this game have an incredible amount of detail to them. I often found myself stopping playing the game and just staring at the art style and the impressive visuals of the game.
No game is perfect so here are the flaws with this one. First it seemed like a missed opportunity to not have unique gifts that would raise your relationship with each person. A part of the fun of games were relationship is involved is discovering which gift matches the personality of each person. Which out it it feels like it’s missing a bit of a personal touch.
Another negative I had with the game is that it gives you an option to upgrade your home, but outside of the cauldron and clinic it doesn’t provide me with any bonuses for doing such.
Similar to Stardew Valley this game features its own day and night cycle. You are given a certain amount of daytime to get everything that you want to do done. Unfortunately the day cycle always feels really short. I get it, just like in real like there’s never enough time in a day, but the daytime here feels too short.
Overall/Should You Play Potion Permit:
Overall Potion Permit might be the most underrated indie game of 2022 that you haven’t played yet.
The gameplay is fun and deep enough to prevent quick boredom. It mixes classic Zelda RPG gameplay with the fun Tetris style puzzles well. Its story might be on the bland side but the game itself is so well rounded and solid that you don’t even think about the narrative much.
If you’re a fan of old school adventure RPG games and life simulation games, do yourself a favor and check this game out.
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Disclaimer: Review code provided by PR/publisher.