Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator Review

Welcome and here’s my Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator game review. It’s an indie title I picked up during Early Access quite a while back (version 20210130). I remember I played it once on Facebook Live and really enjoyed the brief 2 hours run-through of the game. (Share YouTube Link Here)

So as I was just digging up my old recordings for a quick edit, I decided to give it another run-through and write this article to round things up a little. Just in case you guys wanna give it a go or looking for early access games on steam.

Game developer niceplay games and publisher tinyBuild is working together to bring you a unique take on making potions as an alchemist. tinybuild video games include the Hello Neighbours and Graveyard Keeper franchise. niceplay games is an independent video game development studio based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The studio was founded in 2014 by passionate developer Mikhail Chuprakov founded the studio in 2014. niceplay games are best-known for the arcade-style mobile browser games Wizard Swipe and Sushi Ride.

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator was released on Steam Early Access on September 21, 2021, and after months of reviewing their Devlog, it now looks pretty much ready for Prime Time. It is due to be out of Early Access in the next couple of months. My best guess would be possibly near Halloween, since thematically its fits the Ghoul, Ghost, and Witches, minus horror elements.

First Impressions

This indie game first caught my eye when it appeared on my recommended games feed on Steam. As I am a fan of puzzle-based and simulation games, the art style was different from the conventional styles I have seen before and it was certainly a breath of fresh air among the usual plethora of brightly colored games out there. The other reason why I was hooked on the idea was because it seemed to have a medieval flair to it (yes this author is attracted to anything that has D&D elements, no matter how small it is).

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
The first time I played Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator was back when the version was still 20210130

Story

In Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator, you just wandered about town and decided to set up shop in a small quaint village. And happened to come across a run-down alchemist hut that has a neat little garden out back left by the previous owner.

Not much of a story to go by just yet, but as you play more of the game you’ll meet interesting villager characters that really spice up your day with stories of their lives (and reasons why they would want a potion from you).

Of course, at the start, you won’t get many customers but as you build up your reputation, the customers & money will come… and how do we get there?

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Charm Potion is technically close enough as a Love Potion… just replace the label and logo heh!

We make potions. Lots of potions. Different potions.

Gameplay

The player will mainly traverse through an alchemy map of sorts to figure out the recipe for a specific potion. Every time you introduce an ingredient into the cauldron, it creates a path toward a direction on the map, and you need to stir the mixture to move your empty potion base (you start with water, and in later updates just before release, there will be other bases introduced like oil).

Relaxing as well as fun, this game is easy to pick up but tough to master. The developers of Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator made sure that the Game Mechanics is simple to understand, yet require fine motor control to really gain that satisfaction of making a potion. It doesn’t really mean having a gaming keyboard and mouse gives you an advantage though. Sometimes you may overshoot the grinding or the mixing which results in a waste of in-game ingredients.

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
“Grind Like an Alchemist” – The Tangles

Much later in the game, you would discover that some ingredients are rare or super expensive to obtain. Just like how an actual alchemist would encounter on a normal day or when they frust over a piece of an essential missing ingredient to complete the potion. After all, the full game title is “Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator”. I have to say the “mixing potions simulation” bit is quite well done.

When your potion lands on a symbol, usually you’ll be able to see I, II, or III appearing on the potion. These are “potion tiers”, and it represents the quality of your potions. Getting Tier III potions is sort of like trying to fit the shape of your potion EXACTLY to the position on the map by pixel. It’s worth the attempt as that could help you get much better profits.

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Precision Is Key To Get Quality Potions

And luckily for us, there is always a handy recipe book that you can use to “record” your mixing steps and quickly create potions as needed so that you can focus on trying out new potion mixes. It’s a little like how we used to have a scrapbook to journal all the little bits of information and little bookmarklets… You can freely erase and save any recipes you please (even incomplete potions) so that when you do find that missing ingredient you can easily “start from where you left off”. It is also a pleasant time saver to quickly brew a certain potion when your customers in the shop ask for them, which brings me to the next point…

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Recipe… hopefully not for disasters…

Just like a real entrepreneurial alchemist, in Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator, you gotta take care of the bottom line so that you can upgrade your potions for better profits! And that leads to a better reputation for your shop too.

Customers of all sorts of backgrounds will visit your shop, looking for a way to solve their unique problems. Needless to say, the more “problems” you manage to solve with your potions, the more customers will visit. The customers have hilarious dialogue that makes it a joy to read, and sometimes they’re downright problematic and challenge how much you want to help them (especially the sneaky guy who is always buying poison).

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Here’s a tip for you, you can display your Potions in your shop instead of keeping them in your inventory just for kicks!

You can also haggle with them to squeeze more profits out from a sale, and likewise, when you come across traders who sell ingredients, you can also try to push down the prices a little so that you can get a good deal.

At the start, you’d be able to do simple potions quite easily as they are usually nearest to your starting point in the center of the map, and fewer obstructions in between. Some advanced types of potions are not really a walk in the park either because in between you’ll have to go through boney areas (subtracts your potion’s life, but restores itself once you escape) and vortex’s (irrecoverable potion life), so some careful planning is required.

You may need to combine 2 or 3 elements together to get a certain special potion (your customers sometimes will drop you a hint on what they exactly need). But as you get better at navigating the alchemy map, that’s where the fun begins as you try to get yourself “well positioned” to reach from one part of the map to the other part.

Don’t worry about ending up with a weird potion that no one wants, you can always resell it to a trader when they come back at the start of the day.

In the end, to get ahead in Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator, it’s all about optimizing the number of “steps” in your recipe and ingredient usage, so that you can unlock more ingredients and afford rare crystals that help you unlock potions much faster. Crystals sold by dwarves are usually very expensive but it helps you navigate the tough parts of the alchemy map easily (the areas with the bones don’t subtract your potion’s life).

The player is also encouraged to experiment and invent new recipes, which explains the vast opportunities to design and create your own potion bottles at your whim, and you can even change out the colors and labels of your potions.

And if you are looking for a “bigger end goal”, there is always the mysterious Alchemy Machine in the basement of the shop. According to the Devlogs of Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator, it seems that you can make legendary potions and embark on a much greater quest for the “Philosopher Stone” further down the game.

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Crafting Reagents are one of the new things added to the game so far

Graphics

I was particularly taken in by the very simplistic graphics and color selections. Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator art style reminds me of old renaissance woodcuts/engravings, a rustic scribe vibe with ancient parchments and scrolls (minus the ancient glyphs), in turn, makes the entire gaming experience a calm one.

There are also opportunities to “create your own potion”, where you can put in your own desired name for the potion, labels, and also the shape of bottles which makes it pretty fun if you are the creative sort.

Believe it or not, the developers did incorporate a few ideas from the Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator community into the game from their weekly engagement on Discord, like character designs and some UI enhancements (the latest being sorting is added on to the game to make it easier to go through the heaps of ingredients that the players eventually will hoard over time).

Sound & Music

Medieval music in the background does give you the “working in a laboratory vibe”.

Even when you are stuck in a puzzle it still helps to sit back and tune in to calm the anxious mind… The arrangement of the music is not too dull and flavorful as the wooden flute solo & consistent lute picks do wonders to bring forth the feeling of progress, while the harp brings about the airy wonder of discovering new areas on the alchemy map.

Subtle clicks and the grinding sound of the pestle are soothing at times, and for a moment it really felt like we are making potions that are imbued with magic once the bubbly sound comes up when we complete it.

It fits really well with the overall puzzle theme of the potion-making game like Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator.

Have a listen to it on YouTube

Personal Thoughts Since I Left it from My First Playthrough 1 Year Ago

I remember in my first run-through of Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator the Haggle system was quite confusing and I didn’t get how it worked. Am just happy that they revised the mechanics a little but it’s still challenging to get people to pay more for your potions if your finger is not quick enough. One thing I learned was sometimes the space bar works better than the left mouse button.

Also, I was so very keen to play with the Alchemy Machine but it wasn’t quite ready yet during my first playthrough. The most recent version now (version 0.4.7) made it in such a way that you have to purchase the parts of the Alchemy Machine from the traveling merchant (for a very hefty fee of course) before I can get my hands on crafting legendary potions! I don’t mind playing through the game again though, and just in time for a huge update that is dropping at the time of writing (July 30, 2022).

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Well, one man’s junk is another alchemist’s treasure?
Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
This scene sure reminds me of Breaking Bad

One thing I loved about Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator was how the developers engaged with the community on weekly challenges. Some creative players managed to craft funny potions and they got featured on their official Facebook Page & Discord Channel as a reward. Their weekly challenge is something I always look forward to seeing and no doubt also a quaint bit of clever marketing to get more people interested in the game, be it new players or those who are in the early build program.

Am pleased to say after 1 year since I played the game, there has been quite a number of improvements by the developers and their discord channel is always active with feedback and discussions after every Devlog. Do check out the Steam Discussion Boards as some have helpfully posted guides if you ever need any to get a head start on the finer details of the game.

Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator
Does this not remind you of a certain magical Japanese female character?
Credits: Potion Craft Facebook Page

Also be warned, playing an Early Access game usually means that you will need to be mentally prepared so that Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator can be “reset” every time there is a major overhaul on the game design. Usually, if you join the right channels, you’d be able to hear news of an incoming update and not get too frustrated when it comes.

[Update] At the time of posting this (1st August 2022), there is a new Beta version of Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator released with the following updates:

  • Redesigned Water alchemy map
  • New Oil base and a dedicated map for it
  • New map mechanics
  • New effects and quests for these effects
  • Special quest requirements
  • New Salts: Moon Salt, Sun Salt, Philosopher’s Salt
  • New Ingredients
  • New customer classes with their own unique challenges and problems
  • Developing relationships with merchants
  • Reputation affecting which customers come to the shop
  • Improved haggling with difficulty choices
  • Animated loading screen
  • Improved save and load system
  • Accessibility options
  • Inventory sorting by element
  • Full gamepad support (Xbox)

Watch the Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator Early Access Update Preview Video

Download it from Steam

Official Website: https://www.potioncraft.com/

Buy it at a discount from Nexus.gg

More Information About Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator

(This section may contain spoilers, read it at your own risk)

Is Potion Craft Free?

As of 31 July 2022, it’s on Early Access (version 0.4.7) and on exclusive pricing for those who are keen to try out the game. It leaves Early Access in Fall 2022.

Is Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator on Switch?

Apparently, there is another title called “Alchemist Simulator” from Art Games Studio + polyslash released on March 2021, which is not the same as the game reviewed here in this article.

Potion Craft what does Reputation Do?

Reputation used to function as an equivalent to popularity, where it was gained by serving customers and lost by turning them down or failing to serve them. Lower reputation would result in fewer customers, and if reputation hit 0, the game would be lost.

Do You Have The Potion Craft Map?

Nope. As Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator has just been refreshed with a slew of updates and game elements and not yet out of Early Access, nothing is final including the alchemy maps. So if you had been checking out Potion Craft Game Tips out there on the internet, just take note that there are still plenty more new stuff waiting to be uncovered until it releases.

Do You Have The Potion Craft All Recipes?

Nope. As of the new Beta Update of Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator, it seems that new ingredients have been added to the game, so you can expect a few new potion recipes that are also introduced with varying methods of crafting them. Being a Do-As-You-Wish game, there is no truly “1 formula” to get that specific potion.

Hint: Try this YouTube Video.

How Do I Play The Latest Beta of Potion Craft?

The long-awaited Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator Beta Update (WARNING: Unstable) is now available to play via the Steam Beta functionality. If you can’t deal with unstable builds, I would recommend sticking to the Early Access until its official release in Fall 2022.

How to Switch To the New Beta Version:

  1. Open Steam
  2. Go To The Potion Craft Game
  3. Click On the Gear Icon – “Property”
  4. Select “Beta” – Open Dropdown – Public Beta 0.5
How To Play Potion Craft Beta
How To Play Potion Craft Beta
How To Play Potion Craft Beta

To return to the stable version of the game – select “None” in the Beta settings.

The save files of the stable and beta versions are incompatible with each other, but will not be lost when switching versions.

Posted by Wycoconut

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