Potion Permit Review thumbnail

Potion Permit Review

An alchemic adventure

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on ⚗️

Potion Permit is also available for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One

Potion Permit is rated Everyone by the ESRB

If you'd like to cure a town and settle into a new cozy and charming pixelated world then here's the delightful Potion Permit.

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Potion Permit screenshot 1
Sounds good, Myer the Mayor

What is Potion Permit?

In Potion Permit, you play as a chemist who arrives in the town of Moonbury only to find its residents in need of healing. You're given a run-down home and a small clinic on your land that looks like it has seen better days. So, it's up to you to win the hearts of the residents of Moonbury after the previous chemist made the town lose their trust in the profession. v1d30chumz 3-239-112-140

A matter of trust

Trust is a key part of getting to know Moonbury's residents; most of whom will refuse to talk to you if you don't do a good job of healing the townsfolk when they arrive in your clinic. You also raise trust through larger milestones that are completed as you work your way through the story while learning about the previous chemists' experiences as you do. However, after I completed the introduction, I never had a problem keeping up trust so this mechanic felt a little tacked-on after a while. 🤔

Potion Permit screenshot 2
Good thing Myer has a solid healthcare plan at his cushy government job

Making friends

The story and characters of Moonbury are where Potion Permit excels. Specifically, there's a large cast of characters who walk around the sprawling town and as you bump into them, you'll learn about their stories and what motivates them. Completing a bar of the friendship meter will lock it from increasing further until you complete a side-quest related to that character where you'll learn more about them and some of these side-quests can be quite involving. Talking to residents every day will grant a small boost in friendship with them but you'll also receive a currency when you heal a patient that can be exchanged with other townsfolk for a much larger boost of friendship. Making friends is enjoyable and I was always excited to see what new event I had unlocked whenever I completed a bar. 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Day-to-day life

Your time in Moonbury will be split among healing patients, completing quests, and exploring the area outside of town. Patients arrive in your clinic almost every day and you'll then diagnose their affliction through a mini-game then create the right potion to heal them. These mini-games are extremely simple; so much so that they frankly feel like more of an annoyance than anything. 😅

Potion Permit screenshot 3
Maybe I can snag some fish oil to sell to the locals

Alchemy time

With that in mind, creating the right potion can be an interesting challenge as it requires you to place items that you've collected from foraging onto a grid in the correct shape. Some potions require only certain item types to be used and others cover a large area so they need items that take up more grid squares in order to fill them up. This process can be fun but it does overstay its welcome after healing a couple dozen residents as it simply lacks depth and the general strategy doesn't change much with different potions. 🧩

Go outside and play

Exploring the land outside of Moonbury is enjoyable after you've unlocked a new area as it's laid out like a maze and I found joy in discovering a new item or approaching a new enemy type. Wood and stone is on high demand in Moonbury and they're required in large quantities to accomplish a lot of the main tasks such as unlocking new areas to explore and upgrading your house. 🏠

When you begin, it takes a few axe and hammer strikes to take down a tree or smash a rock but as you upgrade, it becomes a little easier. You'll also gather higher quantities of material when hitting trees and rocks in the later areas thus making the hefty material requirements easier to swallow. However, you don't unlock areas that often and in order to create a lot of the required potions, you'll find yourself treading along the same path and collecting the same items over and over which makes it difficult to stay engaged. 😐

Potion Permit screenshot 4
I love bothering people when they're knitting, don't you?

Battle the forces of nature

Potion Permit has a surprising variety of enemies with some requiring specific strategies to take out such as having to hit them with a hammer to smash their hard exterior before you can strike. Walking from end to end of a particular area is fairly difficult if you're not constantly trying to keep an object between you and some of the tougher enemies. These monsters seem to have near-perfect homing and will hit you even if you're constantly rolling out of the way and it can get a little frustrating when your health is running low. 💗

A lovely world

Potion Permit presents a painstakingly detailed pixelated world that brings me joy to walk through. It also changes as time goes on from bright sun in the middle of the day to a slowly dimming sun and then into the evening when the street lights turn on and it gets just a little cozier. A comforting soundtrack adds to the homey feel and makes your time relaxing no matter what you're doing. 🎵

Potion Permit screenshot 5
Tetris is rather elementary to chemistry

Broken arcade machines

Although Potion Permit has a fantastic presentation, it's certainly rough around the edges in some regards. For example, the mini-games that are played for various tasks are dull and unchallenging and one of them is even completely broken. The arcade machines are supposed to present you with a Whac-A-Mole game but it's impossible to get even 1 point because the sprites remain frozen. 🥶

It's not just the arcade machines

Potion Permit is plagued with framerate drops that cause random stalls for a second at a time. On top of that, some teleports stop working sometimes and on one occasion, a resident referred to me as "he" even though there doesn't seem to be gender in Potion Permit and my character was definitely on the feminine side. Additionally, one frustrating aspect is that the controls make you push the right stick in to change what you're focused on; it's always awkward to do this and I found that I needed to do it far too often. I wish it was a different button or perhaps the superfluous "sit" interactions could be removed so that it wouldn't even be necessary. 🪑

Potion Permit screenshot 6
These dastardly plants need a good trim

Potion Permit is an attractive life sim with plenty of chemistry but its gameplay could really do with more variety and challenge to keep things engaging. I also hope that a big patch is on its way to remedy all of the odd bugs on display.

  • + Large town with lots of residents to befriend via its cool friendship mechanics
  • + Exploring outside Moonbury is enjoyable
  • + Beautiful and detailed presentation
  • - Lacks depth and challenge in multiple areas
  • - Pacing is often far too slow
  • - Various bugs that sometimes affect gameplay
7.0 out of 10
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Watch Mary play Potion Permit
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