There are reasons to dread the nine-to-five work day, but that doesn’t stop developers from making games about it. A particular rush comes with managing a successful virtual business, especially if it takes place in a fantasy world. Enter the colorful experience crafted by the developers in Voracious Games taking the form of Potionomics. Trying to prepare and sell a staple of epic adventure games, you’re challenged to run the best potions shop in the land. However, you won’t be able to thrive without competition, which is the main obstacle in your way.
What’s The Potion Commotion?
Nobody just decides to start a business. There’s usually a setup for why or a narrative reason that leads into it. In the case of Potionomics, they are some pretty obvious reasons. You take on the role of Sylvia, a young college graduate specializing in potion-making. Sylvia is thrust into the world of business when her uncle leaves her his potion shop upon his death. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most successful shop, and his unpaid debts transfer over to Sylvia via a soul-binding contract. Together with her new owl companion and some friendly folks from the town, Sylvia will need to turn things around and pay off the debt. Save a business, paying off a debt, and become a potion master at the same time. That’s quite the hat trick.
Achieving Quality Potionomics
When it comes to running a business, there are multiple key tactics to help you achieve success. Potionomics employs these tactics in creating effective gameplay and good business. It’s important to discuss the emphasis that is on actually selling the potions that you make. A good product can speak for itself, but there’s a lot of value in really selling its good quality.
When customers come in, you’ll need to use whatever tactics you have. These come in the form of cards that you’ve placed into your deck. You need a combination of offense and defense in order to get the highest price and receive the lowest stress. Each potion interaction is a card battle, both fun, and challenging.
A New Take On Business
Unlike other business games which offer more of an overseeing kind of situation, this one offers a more personal connection. You’re running the shop by yourself, fresh out of school and already in tremendous debt. What’s nice and important is that you’re not alone. As you build your reputation, you’ll draw the attention of other locals willing to help your business grow through services. Each one provides a useful element in its own way, as well as a fun and friendly social component, which allows you to become an even more personal and effective merchant.
That being said, this business game is full of life, energy, and color. When you’re in a management mood, you have soft cartoon graphics to navigate and interact. When you’re selling, participating in contests, and visiting new connections, the game shifts to a close-up 3D scene with detailed animations. Each character’s personality can be felt with all of their movements, expressions, and generally distinct appearance. You start looking forward to running errands just to see all these colorful characters and form greater bonds.
Potionomics Dipping Into The Red
When it comes to running a business, you never want to fall into the red. Otherwise you may end up closing up before you start making any real money. No business is perfect, and Potionomics makes some poor choices in its gameplay. The major issue is that there simply isn’t enough time in the day. Each day is broken into morning, afternoon, and evening, with each having about two segments. However, almost everything you need to do in order to progress eats up time, and it can feel counterproductive at times.
Opening for business and selling takes two segments. Brewing can take anywhere from one segment to the whole day. Visiting friends also takes up time; improving relationships so you can get better tactics and items costs time; sending people on quests and making requests takes up time. Basically, you should get a piece of paper and make a list of everything you need to do just to ensure that nothing is wasted, and you’ll soon understand why. The biggest reason for needing to plan is that this game is very harsh when it comes to success. While this can be an accurate portrayal of the harsh world of business, it’s almost too harsh.
Business Can Be Brutal
As mentioned previously, Sylvia’s goal is to pay off her uncle’s overwhelming debt, but she needs to provide huge sums in order to prove that she can do it. This involves participating in periodic competitions where she needs to out-sell other more established vendors. This means she needs to get all the ingredients necessary to create the very specific potions with high enough quality simply to compete on equal ground. If she’s not ready by the date of the contest, she will lose and when that happens, it’s game over and you have to start all the way from your last save. The problem is that you need to save as much as can to give yourself more starting points just so that you can try to figure out exactly where everything went wrong. If not, then prepare to start a whole new game.
Taking Potionomics 101
Potionomics is a business management sim game about turning a failing potions shop into a successful business and pulling yourself out of debt. The card-game mechanic of selling and competing is a frankly refreshing spin on the concept. There’s also a social and friendly element to growing as a merchant and member of a community that benefits from lovely color and 3D animation. What makes things a bit too difficult is how little time and prep you get to prepare for contests that you absolutely have to win, or you risk starting over from the beginning. However, all things considered, studying potionomics is still a worthy venture.
This review is based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. Potionomics is available now for PC via Steam.
Will Quick is a freelance media wizard living in Spain. When he's not gaming or writing, he's doodling comics or whatever else pops in his head.