Alchemy sim Potion Craft has the best crafting system ever concocted

I’m a big fan of life simulation minigames. Cooking, crafting, mining, gardening, and all those other video game-related tasks turn something a bit mundane into a fun little treat. It looks like developers Niceplay Games agree, as they’ve taken the joy of touch crafting and created a full potion-brewing simulation around it – and not only is their crafting system both creative and smart, but it’s so satisfying.

We have already written about this, but potion crafting is out now. You play as an alchemist who has taken up residence in an old wizard’s hut, ready to sell your many bubbling brews and concoctions to the locals. People will come to the store during the day to talk about their problems, so you have to listen to each customer’s problem, create an appropriate potion to help, and receive a nice handful of gold in return. It’s basically a store management simulation, as you earn money, buy ingredients, and haggle for a bargain. But the best part of Potion Craft is in the title; he becomes familiar with the art of brewing potions.

It’s a bit abstract, so bear with me. Brewing a potion uses a map, with your tools of the trade – cauldron, bellows, mortar and pestle – at your fingertips. The idea is to move a small potion bottle around the map, stopping when it lands on a potion icon. Adding ingredients to your cauldron will set the course of the bottle, and stirring the mixture will cause it to move. When it reaches an icon on the map, you can pump the bellows and your concoction will be transformed into a magic potion. Poof! Ta-da!

Honestly, I love the whole process of this system, from the moment you take your first ingredient to the puff of magic smoke that signifies your potion is complete. A majority of the map is shrouded in fog of war, so moving your bottle feels like sending it on a little adventure into the unknown. Different ingredients will move the potion in a specific direction, so choosing what to use – and when – requires some tact, especially when navigating patches of skulls that will send your potion back to the start, rendering all your effort wasted.

It’s tactile but never difficult, and requires wonderful finesse to master. Stir your cauldron just just the right amount to get the bottle to stop exactly where you want it is extremely satisfying, and there’s a handy water jug ​​you can use to dilute your mix and move your bottle around as it came if you go slightly over your purpose. It’s this delicate movement that really captures the art of potion brewing – or, what I imagine it to be. The closest I’ve ever come to achieving a similar balance is perfecting the balance of white rum, pineapple juice, and coconut cream to make the perfect Piña Colada.

A potion making table with a map in the background.  Various ingredients and potions are stored on the left.

Another beautiful set of details goes into how everything sounds. The bubbling of brew as you heat it, the crackle of a root as you grind it into powder, and the soft clink of mortar and pestle – it’s like ASMR alchemy (after a quick Google turns out ASMR alchemy is a real thing because of course it is).

I still have a lot of map left to explore in Potion Craft, so I think this will be my first Christmas game of the holidays. There’s a big, old, dusty chemistry set in the basement of the store that I haven’t quite figured out yet, and Niceplay Games has announced a bunch of future updates, the most exciting being the added gardening and planting management. Shit yeah.

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