Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator Review (PC)

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator review: all toil, no trouble

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator Review

Since the introduction of potions as a method to heal from damage, alchemy has been a mainstay — albeit often an indirect one — in video games. And while there are plenty of games out there that do simulate the alchemy experience, few seem to get the true feeling of it down. Oh sure, there’s usually a pot and a plethora of ingredients, but the actual experience of crafting the potions typically leaves much to be desired — press A to stir, etc. What I’ve long been craving is a game that genuinely simulates crafting potions, from picking the herbs and processing ingredients to stirring the pot and customizing the bottles and beyond. Luckily, I’ve been able to scratch that itch with Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator.

Developed by niceplay games and published by tinyBuild, Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator allows players to truly roll up their sleeves and get to work making and selling all kinds of concoctions. Available on PC and XBox for a friendly price of $14.99, Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator gives players “full control of the whole shop: invent new recipes, attract customers and experiment to your heart’s content.” After spending 40 hours crafting potions and gaining all achievements myself, I can personally attest to not only the title’s successful delivery of its premise, but its ability to suck players in for days on end.

potion craft

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator opens up on you, a newcomer who has come upon a derelict alchemy shop in dire need of a new potions master. After dusting off the cauldron and tending to the herb garden, you’re open for business, ready to cure what ails the town. Which, good timing, as the entire town has a whole slew of issues, ranging from headaches and injuries to the need for flight — even problems in the bedroom aren’t off the table. Help your customers, gain popularity, and become the ultimate alchemist!

Of course, alchemy is more than just brewing potions — it’s also the transformation of matter, which was typically medieval dudes trying to figure out how to make gold from less valuable material. So while your brews will keep a roof over your head and food on the table (figuratively speaking, of course), there’s a separate goal to Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator: create the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. Of course, you won’t be able to do that with just a cauldron and your bellows — an entire basement full of mystical contraptions awaits your seasoned hand!

potion craft

Although the art style is beautifully done and the music is gloriously soothing, what really sold Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator for me were the mechanics. For once, I finally felt like I was genuinely following a recipe and crafting potions instead of just short-cutting through the motions with a simple button press or two. In a nutshell, players will need to gather ingredients, such as herbs, roots, and mushrooms, either from their garden or from merchants that drop in from time to time. These ingredients are color-coded and assigned to a certain “house,” such as air, fire, life, or death. These “houses” are critical to make note of — if a person asks for a potion of levitation, you’ll be looking for air ingredients, while a potion that creates flame without a flint and stone will clearly require fire ingredients.

After deciding which potion to concoct, players will then choose their ingredients and either plop them into the pot or grind them to extend their efficacy. Their effects are translated onto a map, with each ingredient inching the brew ever closer to the end goal. A flower here, stir six times, a mushroom here, stir four times, a blast of the bellows, and voila! You have a potion fit for a guy who wants to blow up his front door because he lost his house key. Job well done!

potion craft

Another aspect that I genuinely adored in Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator is the ability to customize not only your potions but your recipe book as well. Some potions begged for certain bottles, like perfumes and charm potions with that cute squeezer attachment to the potion of slowness that looked a bit like a snail, while others brought out a bit of creativity on my part, like assigning the elephant bottle to the potion of hallucinations. Organizing the recipe book was not only fun, but mandatory — saving potions to make automatically instead of going back to the drawing board each and every time proved critical in the late game, so knowing exactly where to find each potion was critical.

After pouring 40 hours into Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator in an effort to earn every achievement, I will say that the game does wear out its welcome around the 20 hour mark to some degree. The customer requests are repetative once you max out your reputation on either side (good or evil), money stops mattering, and the goals are a bit imbalanced. Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator’s fun is found in its mechanic, but once you save all your recipes that mechanic is largely absent and the game screams for additional content. I played until the very end hoping for some sort of storyline to unfurl, but alas — there was nothing. And while some games allow you to sandbox your way into an emergent world-building experience, Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator didn’t do this either. Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator possesses a beautiful, detailed, innovative, and incredibly well thought out mechanic that deserves the highest of praise; I just wish I had been able to connect with its world at all instead of just its clever mechanic.

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator is hands down one of the cleverest games on a mechanics level. Players will truly feel like they are crafting brews while connecting to the magical whimsy of the medieval era. Although I wish I was able to get more involved in the world of Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator, either through story or exploration, the mechanics alone kept me entertained for 40 hours so I can’t complain too much. Even if the rest of the game is a bit shallow, Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator’s gameplay is something to write home about. Here’s to hoping the dev team can concoct more content in future updates!

Final Verdict: 4/5

Available on: Switch, PC (Reviewed); Publisher: tinyBuild; Developer: niceplay games; Players: 1; Released: December 13, 2022; MSRP: $14.99

Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator provided by the publisher.

Heather Johnson Yu
Born at a very young age; self-made thousandaire. Recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Covered in cat hair. Probably the best sleeper in the world. Still haven't completed the civil war quest in Skyrim but I'm kind of okay with that. Too rad to be sad.

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