Potion Permit, review of Stardew Valley-facing life simulation

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Indonesian independent firm MassHive Media – former author of the turn-based RPG Azure Saga: Pathfinder, released four years ago – was among the protagonists of the final Wholesome Direct 2022 with the Potion Permit trailer. Perfect for the casual tones of the event, Elixir Permission immediately caught our attention thanks to its delightful pixel art and trivial theme: the protagonist must be a budding apothecary and we’ll have to fight monsters, find the right cure to continue our career. win the trust of the sick and people of Moonbury.

After spending hours at the company of the MassHive Media-developed title, we’re ready to tell you what we think in ours. Elixir Permission review.

Moonbury, here we come!

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Cover image of Potion Permit

Cover image of Potion Permit

It often happens to treat the heroes of our favorite video games with various kinds of concoctions and medicinal potions, but have you ever wondered how they are produced? Surely behind a dexterous hand pharmacistSpecializing in products and properties of the natural world. The Elixir Permit looks at the pharmacological art of past centuries, when the pharmacist was also a doctor, botanist, and perhaps a magician and alchemist, possessor of all-round knowledge.

After a short editorial to build the aesthetic of our character, we witness the head of the Medical Association of the capital of a fantasy world talking to the hero sent far away. Moonbury Island represent the association. When the train arrives at the station, we meet the mayor, his wife, and other locals, all gathered to greet us at the local bar. Not everyone is happy with our progress: One of the themes that will follow us throughout the entire adventure immediately emerges – it can be completed in about twenty hours – namely the need to earn the trust and respect of the islanders. Yes, because there are some dark secrets about the Medical Association’s surgical history in Moonbury.

Exploring the island’s green spaces search for ingredients for potions, we will discover that some plants are extinct and we will find strange craters spewing a mysterious purple liquid. It is clear that a real disaster is taking place, and this is why initial conversations with residents are often cold and distant: there is a strong distrust of anyone coming from the capital on the island. We need to roll up our sleeves and prove our worth, starting with the mayor’s sick and needy daughter, Rue.

We have followed with interest the events of the residents of Moonbury and the developments in their relationship with the hero. good writing level and a character design that manages to give life and flair to all the supporting actors of the adventure. However, when the events in the small town were over, we felt reluctant to continue our work as pharmacists.

Just some sugar and potion go down

Pharmacological art at the heart of Elixir Permit

Pharmacological art at the heart of Elixir Permit

We said that pharmacological art is at the center of Elixir Permission: everything reviewing new recipes and finding components in the island’s ecosystems, then to apply our knowledge to the diagnosis of patients and finally to their treatment. We are introduced to these mechanics, which are the beating heart of the game, through Rue, who has been sick for months, does not benefit from the treatments offered by the magician Matheo, and is hostile to everything vaguely related to the world of science.

The first step in approaching the patient is diagnosis: Based on what the patient is saying, we focus on examining a part of the body that is painful to find out what’s wrong. Everything happens through mini games It’s really simple, like pressing buttons in a timely manner or repeating a certain sequence of keys. Here’s the first downside of Elixir Permission: mini-games quickly become repetitive and unimportant, unable to offer even minimal difficulty, and it’s a real shame. When this stage is over, the pharmacist can determine a treatment, and this is where our reliable cauldron comes into play.

One of the Elixir Permission mini-games

One of the Elixir Permission mini-games

Unlike diagnostic mini-games, Tetris-like Potions aimed at “building” can be said to be really successful, fun and stimulating. It is necessary to use materials – herbs, mushrooms, as well as stones and bear skins – taking into account the shape assigned to them for the composition of the mixtures, respecting the maximum usable elements and making sure that they fully cover their contours. the potion in question. Therefore, a joint game that manages to involve the player in its simplicity, especially when it comes to the most advanced potions. After the job is done, you can return to the clinic to administer the right treatment for the patient.

Performing these steps flawlessly will allow us to improve it and build trust. Moonbury residents Against us, it allows us to learn more about them, take on the tasks given by them, and thus continue in the Plan of Elixir Permission. Leaving patients to their fate will mean losing their prestige in the eyes of society, which will have to turn to Matheo, who is always happy to grab some patients from us: The best strategy is to devote himself to patients early in the morning. day and making them our priority, it’s an easier job. the clinic’s proximity to the pharmacist’s home.

An adventurous pharmacist

A moment to meet the Potion Permit characters

A moment to meet the Potion Permit characters

It’s easy to think that Elixir Permit is here: diagnosis, preparation of the right potion, patient care. Not so: as with Stardew Valley – albeit with a more creative push and strong fantasy overtones – there are always exploration and combat sessions aimed at finding new sources and materials for our potions, even with the title signed by MassHive Media.

There is a coincidence (functional, of course, but a little curious at first) between them. instruments harvesting and aggressive ones: hammers, sickles, and axes are used to break rocks, cut basil stalks and get wood from trees as the case may be, but they are also tools of death for the poor animals we’ll find in our path. We say “poor” because the enemies’ AI is certainly not the brightest, and the cheapness of the cures available to us – food that can be bought at the local bar – combined with the often low HP levels of opponents will make them cannon fodder for destruction, ruthlessly. In a video game that talks about values ​​such as respect for nature and looks anxiously at its uncontrolled exploitation by humans, ruthlessly killing hundreds of wild animals with the sickle we collect weeds produces in the long run for the player. running, a certain sense of bewilderment.

Explore Elixir Permit

Explore Elixir Permit

Also, the sessions material collection They quickly turn into a real effort, thanks to the massive demand for money, boards and rocks to upgrade their vehicles and explore new areas of the game world. Of the three, the easiest to earn is undoubtedly money: dedicate yourself to simple mini-games (very repetitive like diagnosis) to help out at the post office, church or police station, and get rewarded daily for our “hard” work. As for wood and rocks, we’ll have to cut down an infinite number of trees and hammer them around, and a strong sense of repetition will be inevitable.

It’s a pity because game loop of Potion Permit is effective and pleasant, capable of creating a spiral of pleasant activities interspersed with pleasant interactions with Moonbury residents who remind us of Stardew Valley. However, as mentioned, while Stardew Valley draws lymph and vitality from fantasy and the supernatural, the Elixir Permit remains in the long run too insipid and steady to withstand pressure and tangible needs – seek jasmine, chop wood, kill bear. Flight.

Joy of living in pixel art

The artistic side of Elixir Permission hides some surprises

The artistic side of Elixir Permission hides some surprises

And to say artistic direction It does everything it can to convey a sense of beauty: MassHive Media’s work demonstrates a deep knowledge of pixel art and a strong ability to construct a coherent world from an artistic point of view. In this sense, Potion Permit’s design choices reminded Eastward, another oriental production that was aesthetically one of the brightest of last year.

Technically, we had no issues with the test configuration: it doesn’t request Elixir Permission and The minimum system requirements are pretty decent. Prior to the game’s release, the team released a few updates to fix some bugs that we didn’t experience directly. We loved the sound design, which can be a nice counterpoint to the adventure, with some catchy themes (and whistling at your leisure!). For the enveloping effect, we recommend using headphones if possible; Some sudden transitions in sound effects in some cutscenes and game situations are embarrassing.

Elixir Permit not localized in Italian

Elixir Permit not localized in Italian

Finally, Elixir Permission not currently equipped with an Italian translation: To better understand the details of the story, a good knowledge of English will be required, to read interesting descriptions of Moonbury’s potions, ingredients and inhabitants – which can be unlocked by gaining their trust and performing quests for them. .

Comment

Tested version windows computer
Digital Delivery

Steam

multiplayer.it

7.2

readers

SV

vote

Indonesian studio MassHive Media shines in creating a believable story and characters, and the idea of ​​living the life of a budding pharmacist – undoubtedly original in the gaming setting – proves to be a winning and stimulating one for gamers. Too bad for a loop of gameplay that can’t escape repetitions in the long run, but it’s a game that will definitely be appreciated by fans of the unconventional life sims.

professional

  • The idea of ​​playing the pharmacist was original
  • fantastic art direction
  • Interesting story and well written characters
AGAINST
  • Grinding materials becomes painful in the long run
  • Repetitive battles and evil enemy AI
  • Really simple mini-games

Source: Multiplayer

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