You are here to learn the science of making magical potions and potions. A very precise and subtle science. Silly waving a magic wand has nothing to do with this science, and therefore many of you will hardly believe that my subject is an important component of magical science.
Severus Snape, Potions teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The year 2021 never ceases to delight with exciting and high-quality domestic projects. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous and Loop Hero , Black Book and The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante , and now Potion Craft , a game that allows you to try on the mantle of a medieval alchemist (or whatever potions usually wear there) , is now in early access and bottle fame, brew fame and even bottle up death.
On the day of its appearance on Steam, Potion Craft managed to take first place in the global sales chart of the site in just a few hours, and in the first three days it sold 100 thousand copies (the Black Book that I caressed took three weeks for the same result!). The St. Petersburg indie studio niceplay games can be proud of such a success – the game has not even been released yet, but has already reached the top of the top sales. Let’s take a closer look at Potion Craft to understand why it attracted such a large number of players.
The formula for double evil is three times the night plus twice the haze!
The very name Potion Craft speaks volumes about what we will be doing the lion’s share of the game – making potions with our own hands. According to Mikhail Chuprakov , the founder of niceplay games , creating a potions game was his old dream. Kingdom Come: Deliverance Walkthroughthrew some wood into the fire: this RPG had “a cool atmosphere and the idea of alchemy, but very weak implementation in terms of gameplay.” Mikhail lacked immersion in the process, he wanted not just to press a button and get a ready-made potion, but to interact with objects himself: grind the ingredients in a mortar, pour liquid into a bottle, control pressing on the bellows and finally put the bottle with the coveted brew on the shelf. As you know, if you need something, do it yourself.
For a while, Mikhail worked on Potion Craft alone – he came up with a concept, hand-painted an alchemical inventory, and then digitized his art and, with the help of code, breathed life into them. After a couple of years, the niceplay games team has grown to five people. That was enough to turn Potion Craft from a prototype into a real game. Albeit in Early Access.
We’ve already seen him somewhere …
Potion Craft’s plot fits literally in a few sentences. You are an aspiring alchemist. After long wanderings around the world, you found an old abandoned house on the outskirts of an unnamed city and decided to settle there. By the way, alchemical equipment was found in the hut – a cauldron, a mortar with a pestle and a bunch of empty flasks. In general, the house turned out to be the most suitable place in order to apply your skills and open a potion shop for all occasions.
And now only a few days have passed, and the first visitors are already ready to give you the gold, and you, of course, are glad to receive them all. Everything. This is the whole plot. Yes, in principle, you don’t need to know more. The stories in the buyers’ requests are also quite simple and concise: someone wants to heal a wound received in a battle, someone wants to poison their foe, someone needs fertilizer so that pears and apple trees in the garden grow like in a fairy tale about magic beans. Everything is short and to the point. Nothing should distract us from the main thing – the process of preparing the potions themselves.
And there are such requests.
Two pieces, become whole!
Potions are made from ingredients – flowers, herbs, mushrooms, and even crystals. Some grow in our enchanted garden, but most will have to be bought from local merchants. Each of the ingredients has its own, so to speak, route on the alchemical map, a kind of labyrinth. It has dangerous zones marked with shards that should be bypassed, otherwise you will have to start the path anew, and there are icons of cherished potions that you need to get to.
Throwing the ingredients into the cauldron, and then stirring them, we lead the bottle to the icon of the finished potion, thereby, as it were, boiling it. You need to stir the liquid and perform other manipulations with the magic components yourself, moving and twisting the mouse. Feelings, it should be noted, are very pleasant! Especially when you have to crush some grass to a mushy state – you really feel like something new is forming in the mortar. Moreover, crystals, mushrooms and flowers crunch under the pressure of the pistil in completely different ways.
The more the ingredient is crushed, the longer its route on the map, which, in turn, opens up a huge scope for experimentation. The same potion with different ingredients can be brewed in different ways. The attention to detail is also pleasing. A flower called fire bell will lead to fire potion. Windflower, leaving a lightning-shaped trail, will direct lightning to the potion. Well, the magic mushroom will build a route straight to the mana potion.
To create the perfect potion, it is not enough just to bring the bottle to a point on the map – you need to place it exactly on the pictogram, and this will require additional components.
Flame, do your thing!
We Potion Craft is very meditative and “zalipatelny” gameplay. Until all the potions are found on the map, it can be actively explored, clearing the “fog of war” and collecting experience along the way (yes, there is also an alchemist hero pumping in the game). But over time, when all possible effects become open, the process begins to get boring. Fortunately, there is a recipe book in which you can save ready-made potions and brew them at the touch of a button. From this, the developers ideologically left-left, but in the end they still added such a function. And thank the gods.
You will have to prepare the same potions often – visitors regularly come with the same problems. Our shop has both good customers (they need to help grow crops or cure a bad tooth), and villains (with this, serve poison and invisibility potion to rob someone). By helping the latter, although you get money and an increase in the level of popularity, you lose your reputation. In early access, it is not yet clear what this parameter globally affects, but the lower it is, the more often all sorts of villains enter the store. Perhaps this will be all.
If you refuse to sell potions to robbers, or, in principle, offer customers the wrong option several times, they will leave in a rage, and you will become less popular. Which, in turn, will affect the value of your brew and goods from other merchants. It’s not profitable to be unpopular!
And boil, boil, shpunsh!
In addition, the player can build an alchemical apparatus and improve it with parts. It is important to note that our main task, as far as I understand, is associated with this particular device. It costs a lot, so you will have to save up coins for a very long time, pleasing the visitors of the shop. For a long time also because in order to make potions, you need to actively purchase ingredients from merchants, which also cost money. Sometimes, due to all this routine procrastination, it already began to seem that a gnome was about to appear from around the corner, who would offer to exchange real rubles for game gold in order to somehow speed up the process.
Several effects can be combined in one potion (for example, strength and protection, healing and sleep, poison and lightning). For such a double potion, some buyers are willing to pay generously. However, the effects by themselves, alas, do not add up and do not form something completely new.
Visually, Potion Craft looks simple, but cute, with stylized medieval drawings. Music, too, cannot be called otherwise pleasant; the only problem is that it gets boring very quickly, there is only one melody in the game. Yes, and the sounds of the environment would also like more, in order to plunge deeper into the work of the alchemical shop.
When I first played the Potion Craft demo back in early 2021, I was completely fascinated by the gameplay and disappeared in it for three hours (for a sampler, this is, I must say, a lot). The beginning was very cheerful, it seemed that it would be even more exciting. But now that the game has appeared in Early Access, it seems to have lost all the magic for me.
For all its cool idea and pleasant performance, Potion Craft manages to tire with grinding before the player can complete a large-scale task with the help of an alchemical machine. The game definitely needs more mechanics, more content that will add variety to it. However, early access exists in order to track down such flaws and fix them for release.