I'm always thrilled when a new Holy Potatoes! game releases for console so let's go to hell and get ready to mash some sinners.
Very few indie series excite me as much as Holy Potatoes! Each game that I've played in the franchise so far absolutely blew me away by featuring unique gameplay, silly graphics, and a sense of humour that always makes me laugh my ass off. Thankfully, these elements continue to delight in the newest console release Holy Potatoes! What the Hell?! The premise of this one is that you're a chef who finds themselves in hell. While you're there, you sort out potato sinners by sending them to appropriate stations then prepare meals with them to appease an assortment of gods. What the Hell?! indeed. The resulting gameplay is frantic and seemingly simple at first yet it becomes exponentially more complex as you progress through the seven circles of hell while everything gets impressively more enjoyable.
The core gameplay loop involves purchasing items at a shop named Starchbucks Supplies which provide various boosts then when you're ready, you begin the fun part. You're basically presented with a succession of sinners who each have their own appearance, name, and sin. These are all procedurally generated so it's hilarious reading what sins the potatoes committed. Anyway, each sinner has stats and by looking at them, you can judge where to put them. Certain stats fit the various machines better so making high quality ingredients is the key to success. Once the gods start ordering, you can prepare meals with the ingredients which are obviously all potato-based. Care for a potato kebab? How about an Irish potato cake? Yeah, I didn't think so. If you manage to do well, you'll increase your Favor which can be used to upgrade your machines and purchase nifty new facilities and labs which offer even more recipes.
Although this core gameplay sounds pretty complex already, things get absolutely insane in the later stages of the campaign. You'll eventually be able to deliver specific wanted sinners to certain gods for a bonus, send a sinner to heaven if all of their stats add up to less than 200, and make additional ingredients such as salt, pepper, honey, and chili peppers. Heck, you can even convert unused meals to an alcoholic drink known as Baaley's so the gods become more patient when waiting for their food to arrive.
As you can see, the amount of variety is astounding. At the same time, things end up becoming a bit too chaotic in the later stages and even though you can pause the action at any time while you prepare and organize things, I found myself regularly becoming lost and overwhelmed. On top of this, you have to maintain a minimum Favor level which is exceptionally difficult to do later on as the amount gets quite high. My only other complaint is that aiming the potatoes can sometimes feel finicky which can be kind of annoying.
Holy Potatoes! What the Hell?! is a genuinely hilarious game and the humour shines even brighter within the many cutscenes. As you watch them, you can choose from responses at times which can result in some truly ridiculous scenarios. I tried to be as antagonistic as possible and watching the little potatoes becoming increasingly pissed off at me gave me more than a few laughs. It's simply one of the funniest games that I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Another aspect that I enjoyed was how many upgrades and unlockables there are. These involve everything from permanent unlockables to cosmetic items that you can decorate your kitchen's logo with.
Very few games have made me laugh as much as Holy Potatoes! What the Hell?! Not only is it downright hilarious, it's also one of the most involving, complex, and enjoyable management games that I've ever played.
- + Super-fun sorting gameplay that incorporates an absurd amount of complexities
- + Absolutely hilarious from start to finish
- + Loads of cool upgrades and unlockables
- - Gameplay gets a bit too chaotic later on
- - Favor goals end up being frustratingly high
- - Aiming isn't always accurate