Potion Permit – Hands-on with the final game

Potion Permit - Hands-on with the final game
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Potion Permit doesn’t seem to do anything in a hurry, and that’s because it’s a game that expects you to be around for a long time. It’s really a life simulation disguised as a potion-making game. You’re a chemist sent to a town to brew potions, but here’s a home to decorate, machines to refurbish, and here are townsfolk whose friendships you must earn before they – and the services they provide to offer – to open up. Oh, and they have daily rhythms that you have to adapt and work around. Try to catch someone outside of business hours and they won’t want to know: you’ll have to wait until morning when they’re officially back on duty. All this takes time.

The game mechanically unfolds in a very similar way, slowly introducing new ideas. After a few hours of gameplay I’ve only seen a few of what I suspect will be a lot of gameplay ideas overall, and most of them minigames. But the core idea is resource gathering and crafting.

When you’re out in the wild, Potion Permit feels like an old-school action RPG, where you hit enemies with the press of a button and then roll around to dodge their attacks. You don’t have to kill enemies – combat doesn’t seem like the point of the game – but you’ll be attacked and enemies will drop useful ingredients, so why not?

What a busybody you are. I forgot to feed my dog ​​for a while and wondered why he was dawdling. What a monster I am!

The other ingredients you need are harvested by equipping the appropriate tool – scythe, ax or hammer – and then crush them on the node you want to destroy: plant, tree or rock.

But crafting works a little differently. Finally, when you unlock your cauldron, you’ll find a Tetris-like puzzle that governs potion-making. It allows you to use a variety of ingredients that, as long as they all fit into a larger mold and fill it completely, will make a potion. It’s a nice approach. And there’s a whole workshop with broken machines to fix, which presumably all have their own mini-games.

The only other minigame I’ve actually seen is a rhythm action game, surprisingly set in the game’s hospital section. I adapted to diagnose a patient’s problem as you do. But there was no music, which is strange for rhythm action, and the implementation seemed easy. Still, it held my attention for a few minutes.

A pixel art city in the evening.  Three little characters ring out in front of a round house whose windows glow an inviting yellow.

It’s not much, but I call it home. I would actually like to live there in real life.

A Tetris-like potion-making mini-game where a shape is outlined in the cauldron and you need to fill it with ingredient shapes pulled from a backpack on the left.

An outline of a character and a small box with some arrows floating past.  It's a rhythm action minigame, and not a very good one at that.

The Tetris-like potion-making mini-game and the more basic rhythm-action diagnostic mini-game.

So this is how Potion Permit seems to be going: slowly. Since it is assumed that you are here for the long term, it takes time to introduce things to you. You don’t mind a bit of traipsing back and forth to harvest ingredients, nor do you mind getting caught up in lots of disruptive, scene-building vignettes that anchor you in place, and it does you don’t mind that you have to earn the mechanical variety offers.

But to complain about it seems a bit far-fetched, because a lot of Potion Permit’s charm lies just there – in its world, in its company. It’s the digital equivalent of a mug of hot chocolate: warm cuddles and sugary hilarity. It’s an idyllic town straight out of a pixelated picture book, as cute as a toy set and always bathed in sunshine or dappled in moonlight or flickering in warm candlelight. Everything is fine here, it’s quiet, so why not stay a while longer and switch off? There is no rush.

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