Reviews Archives - Page 3 of 13 - myPotatoGames
Loading

Reviews

  • svgDec 13, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Step into Percy’s shoes as he embarks on an adventure to find his missing relatives in Bilkins’ Folly. With your beloved dog Drayton by your side, explore a series of odd islands while digging up buried treasures and solving puzzles. There’s something weird and foreboding going on with the disappearance of your grandfather and mother, and you’ll need to discover what it is!

    The Visuals

    Bilkins’ Folly awed me with its beauty and witty charm. The character designs and scenery are absolutely delightful. Colors pop without being overwhelming. Animations are done well, and move smoothly. The dog moves and feels like a real dog, and the setting transitions beautifully from one area to the next. The whole thing is visually just charming and gorgeous. 

    Drayton and Other Characters

    Bilkins’ Folly almost immediately equips you with a trusty companion named Drayton. What I really love is that the Drayton is useful and not just an annoyance. He doesn’t simply follow you.  He’s a lovely dog that will sniff out buried treasure as you walk by it. Plus, as you level up his skills, he can help out in more ways. IWhat really endears me to Drayton is that he never got in my way. Being able to walk through him helped with that, but it was refreshing to have a useful companion that wasn’t a hindrance. 

    And yes, you CAN pet the dog!

    Characters look, and act, different from each other, too. There’s no mixing up someone with another character. Each one has their own engaging backstory. They also speak their own version of “Simlish” speech and I love it. It sounds like utter nonsense, but lends a bit of levity to the whole thing. 

    Puzzles

    You know what else awed me? My apparent lack of puzzle solving skills. I thought I was a great puzzle solver, but Bilkins’ Folly proved me to be otherwise! There are so many different types of puzzles and riddles, though, you’re bound to have a great time. From seek and find items, riddles, maps showing where to dig, cryptograms, and so much more are in this game. 

    There’s not really a way to be permanently stuck, either. The game is set up so that even if you come across a puzzle now, it may just need to be solved later. Your tools or hints may not be complete until later. That leads to a lot of running around, but it’s great for sight-seeing! The running around does get exhausting, though. 

    Final Thoughts

    If you love vast amounts of puzzles, Bilkins’ Folly is for you. The delightful visual and fun characters make for an engaging game, too. Plus, the overarching story is interesting and gives the whole thing an ultimate goal. It’s a great combination of elements! 

    I give this: 

    You can find Bilkins’ Folly on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation now!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgDec 6, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Station to Station is a relaxing puzzle experience set in a voxel-art world. Transform the world from dull and drab, to vibrant places full of life by building railways. Build connections for commerce and passengers across the countryside. Get the necessary materials to the production plants that need them, and then the finished product to the cities that need them to create thriving landscapes. Complete the puzzle elements and solve logistical conundrums while optimizing your train routes for the best results! 

    The Maps

    Each level of Station to Station starts as a dull, lifeless landscape. It’s uninteresting and borderline boring, and it’s certainly an uninviting place for people and animals to live. However, as you make railway connections, the maps transform into gorgeous dioramas full of flora and fauna. There are six different biomes, each with a handful of levels. Each of those levels, while set in a specific biome, and therefore have the same atmosphere, differ from each other in their layouts. This offers just enough difference to keep the game visually appealing. 

    The voxel art style provides a visually beautiful and intriguing element to Station to Station, too. I’ve restored the color and life to a map only to sit panning around the map watching the individual pieces. Watching the camels in the desert, or the bustling little villages in the grassy meadows is one of my favorite things to do. Observing all of the little details that were added just absolutely sucks me in. 

    The Puzzles

    Station to Station offers quite a bit of content, plus has announced more to come in a recently posted roadmap. I’d classify the “puzzles” as more objectives than puzzles, but that might be nitpicky. You have a set amount of money to use to build your connections. There are a limited number of cards to help you with discounts and such, too. However, you’re ultimately trying to build railway connections within a specific area of each map. Sometimes that’s easy, and sometimes it takes a little more trial and error. There’s also a few extra optional objectives per level you can complete to increase the difficulty level. 

    Nothing is overly difficult, though. I didn’t sit stuck contemplating a problem for long stretches. Plus, Station to Station gives you a couple of options for redoing the level. There is a reset button, making returning to the absolute beginning of a level easy. Or, if you just need to redo a little bit, you can return to a checkpoint instead of wiping the whole level. They’ve both come in handy when figuring out how to play and how to complete a level. 

    Final Thoughts

    What Station to Station boils down to, though, is you place train tracks to connect buildings, then you move on to the next level. That’s it. This is not one of your deep, story-driven or deeply puzzling games chock-full of different mechanics and facets. It’s a simple game with a gorgeous art style, and that’s ok! This is perfect for me when I’m in a puzzle mood, but don’t want to be stuck on a problem for long. It’s a great low-pressure, low-stakes experience.

    So, if you’re looking for something more, this isn’t for you. If you want that low-pressure experience, though, I recommend this game! I give it:

    You can Station to Station on Steam!

    Want more reviews? Check out my reviews of Witchy Life Story, APICO, and Little Sim World!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgNov 30, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Fae Farm is a beautiful farming sim where you cultivate crops, craft items to decorate your home with or sell, and care for adorable farm animals. Befriend a varying cast of townspeople, and even romance some of them. Plus, you even get to venture into the faerie realm, where you’ll see faeries and fantastical creatures not seen in the human realm. Even delve deep into the mines to collect resources, fight enemies, and uncover mysteries!

    What’s Great About the Game

    The art in Fae Farm is absolutely gorgeous. It’s easy to fall in love with the game based on that alone. The scenery is varied. The NPCs all look different. Even your clothing options are lovely. Then, the furniture and decorating choices are great. You’re sure to find something that suits your style, whatever it may be. Adventuring into the fae realm is probably my favorite part. It’s so whimsical and magical. Even the dungeon is dreamy, though chock full of enemies. The art is absolutely what drew me to the game to begin with!

    What I also really like about Fae Farm is that tools switch automatically for you. Walk up to a tree to chop, and you’ll immediately have your axe in hand. Then, go to a rock and poof! There’s your pickaxe! It’s a super handy mechanic that I would love to see in all farming sims. It saves time and lets me switch between activities much faster. Besides that, fast travel unlocks early game. There are several points across the map called Wayshrines that act as fast travel spots. You need to craft a seal from cave resources in order to activate the Wayshrine, but you can accomplish that easily early on. Having fast travel early in the game makes it genuinely useful and not just an afterthought. Plus, the mines have waypoints where you can place seals you’ve crafted in order to get to different levels without going through the whole mine. Think Stardew Valley’s mine elevator, but with more magic and teleporting!

    What I Dislike

    Unfortunately, Fae Farm has more aspects that I dislike than I like. In order to play multiplayer, or even just name your character, you need to create a Phoenix Labs account. Otherwise, your character’s name defaults to the account name that’s on the system you’re playing on. So, my character’s name is a string of random letters I used for my Steam name. It kind of ruins any romance when my husband calls me by name. 

    I once wasted a precious Fae Farm day sitting in the crafting menu or almanac menu thinking the game was paused. It certainly was not. The nice thing is that you aren’t negatively affected for passing out after bedtime, so all I truly lost was a day of play time. It didn’t decay friendship points with my critters, and it didn’t ruin any quests. Then there’s the sales tables. The limited sales table spots really get in the way of me mass selling a hoard of items I’ve held onto for too long. It doesn’t inhibit money-making, just clearing out that stack of 600 fibers I probably don’t need so many of. 

    The exuberant laughing at everything is obnoxious, though. When I accomplish something, I laugh. When talking to an NPC, they laugh instead of speak. None of it is funny! I’d prefer if they muttered some nonsense like Sims do. Unfortunately, the laughing just lends itself to the overall soul-less feel the game has. The NPCs have no deep backgrounds, and their dialogue is repetitive and shallow. There’s not even a point to befriending anyone unless you’re trying to marry them. And there’s only a handful of marriage candidates. Even the festivals feel lifeless. They’re not exciting and engaging. Everything feels very surface level.

    Final Thoughts

    Don’t get me wrong, Fae Farm is somewhat fun. I’ve put some hours into it, but I’d hoped for a lot more polish for that AAA price tag. A better story with more meaningful characters would have made this game an absolute gem. I’d also like for everyone to have a nose, please! Everything feels so shallow and surface level. I don’t need some deep, dark secrets to go into it, just a little more substance that makes me want to talk to people or do things. And when you add up several minor gripes, things feel lackluster, and that’s what we have here. 

    Overall, I’d give it: 

    You can find Fae Farm on Steam and Switch now!

    Check out another of my reviews on a magical game: Witchy Life Story!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgNov 29, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Thanks to the folks over at Gentle Troll Entertainment for an extended look demo!

    If you love visual novels, and also love Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder, then look no further! Tavern Talk is described by the developers as a “Coffee Talk meets D&D” type game, and they’re spot on. You play as the faceless owner of the Wayfarer’s Inn, a cozy tavern and comfortable place to sleep after a long adventure. But you’re not simply an innkeeper, as you’re a master at crafting useful and tasty potions for your patrons. You’re also adept at gathering the rumors you hear and turning them into quests for intrepid adventurers.

    The Characters

    The demo only includes some short interactions with a few of Tavern Talk’s characters, but it perfectly captured their personalities and stories. Each character is distinctly their own person with their own quirks and mannerisms. There’s no recycled models or different faces on the same personality type stuff going on here. Some are relatable, some are grumpy, and some are perfect for a good laugh. It’s a lovely variety of different types of characters to encounter. 

    The Story and the Drinks

    Again, it was a demo so I only got a taste of what the story is about, but it feels like how many of my D&D campaigns have gone. There’s a little bit of silliness, and a little bit of seriousness all mixed together. Tavern Talk really nails that mix, I think. Nothing is ever too serious that it bogs you down as levity is thrown into the story well. But, there’s never a time where the levity is over the top and sweeps away any bit of deep story there is. It’s a well-crafted balance necessary for a good experience. 

    As for the drink making, well that was a lot of fun! Coffee Talk has you making coffees and teas, which is a nice mechanic. However, they don’t really influence the story much. A wrong choice can lead to a different outcome, but in Tavern Talk what potions you serve a patron can change the course of their whole quest! Will they succeed or fail? Will they accomplish their mission through stealth or brute force? That can really depend on which drink you make them! It’s a great way to break up the visual novel bits with some activity, while giving you some freedom of choice to direct your story. 

    Final Thoughts

    If you like visual novels, if you like Coffee Talk, and if you like D&D, or just fantasy questing, you need to try the Tavern Talk demo! Besides the story, drink making, and characters, the visuals are gorgeous. Everything looks lovingly made and is just beautiful. I can’t recommend it enough! Nor can I wait for the full game to come out. If it’s anything like the demo, it’ll be a fantastic time!

    You can find the Tavern Talk demo on Steam!

    If you’ve missed out on the Coffee Talk series, here’s my review of the second game!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgNov 23, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Spells & Secrets is a magical roguelite adventure where you must free the Academy of Greifenstein from the magical creatures that have overrun it. You’re a young wizard who’s just gone off to school at the esteemed academy to learn more about your magic. However, on your first night there, something strange happens and now the school is a mess. Magical creatures run amok in the halls, your fellow students are lost in the ever-changing rooms of the school, and there’s something a little more nefarious going on. 

    The Story

    Spells & Secrets sets up a very basic story from the beginning. Again, you’re a young wizard who has arrived at the Academy of Greifenstein to learn about magic and improve your abilities. You’re then dropped right into the problem of the school being overrun with magical creatures. After that, the story unfolds as you progress through each dungeon level and encounter fellow students and even some of the bad guys. It’s a pretty standard “good vs. evil” situation. Someone has caused chaos at the Academy, it’s just a matter of sussing out who did it. 

    The question I have is why am I, a literal magical novice and child, the one who’s responsible for fixing the issue. I’m traversing the dangerous hallways of the school in search of my fellow students, fighting monsters, and encountering the bad guys. Meanwhile, the Spells & Secrets adult teachers are chilling outside in the courtyard prepared to sell me spells and upgrades so I can get further in my dungeon crawling. Surely one of the experienced people should help me! Silly adults. 

    Overall, I enjoy how the Spells & Secrets story unfolds as you progress. You don’t have all the answers, and you don’t always get them quickly. It takes time to earn enough for new spells and upgrades. Plus, without those upgrades and new spells, it can be difficult getting through dungeon levels. Some of those creatures are unforgiving! I also appreciate the lack of hand-holding. There is a tutorial, but you’re not interrupted frequently by cutscenes or new game mechanics. You just get to blast through some rude creatures.

    The Gameplay

    I won’t pretend I’m incredible at fighting games, and Spell & Secrets has only proved that further. It took me several runs of the first floor before I managed to progress to the second floor. It can be frustrating, but that’s part of the draw of roguelites. It’s certainly easy to see when you’ve made upgrades to your repertoire, too. I went from struggling to blasting through creatures like they were nothing. So, it offers a very satisfying experience, despite the repetition. You feel like you’ve earned it once you progress. 

    I enjoy the variety of spells in Spells & Secrets, too. Each one has a different effect, while also deploying in a different way. Magic Missile is just a bullet of magic you shoot at the enemies. Freeze comes out in a spray of icy clouds, and so on. It’s easy to visually see which spell is which when scrolling through them or deploying them against enemies. Being able to build on their capabilities is satisfying too. Improving the power of Magic Missile absolutely made my runs easier to complete. And adding different spells that have different effects allows you to combine the powers of your arsenal to more efficiently defeat enemies. It lends a sense of creativity and strategy to the game. 

    enemies. It lends a sense of creativity and strategy to the game. 

    Final Thoughts

    Besides the fighting, you can join what appear to be like school clubs. There are four for you to choose from, and it helps give you an objective outside the main storyline and dungeon crawling. You can even earn different clothing items to further customize your character. Spells & Secrets is overall a roguelite dungeon crawler with a sprinkling of socializing and other fun. I personally think it’s a fun combination! 

    I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the idea of being a magic-slinging wizard. Overall, I’d give it:

    You can find Spells & Secrets on Steam, Switch, and PlayStation now!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgNov 22, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    You can check out my previous article introducing Spirit City: Lofi Sessions here, but it’s essentially a gamified productivity tool. The whole game takes place in your room, where you can sprawl out on the bed, sit by the cozy fire, relax at the bay window, or use the desk. There’s relaxing lofi music tracks to play in the background and other tools to keep on task and track your productivity. There’s also little creatures and decorations you can unlock and use as you level up through playing.

    The Demo

    I recently played the demo of Spirit City and it was great! The features were limited, of course, but what I did was sold me on this game. You start by customizing your own character, which is fun. There’s different hair styles, hair color options, and clothing choices. You can get comfy and cozy right from the start! Then there’s the music. The tracks are relaxing and chill. They’re perfect for having some sound in the background without being distracting. You can even add background noises like crackling fireplace or rainfall.

    What I really liked was that you have control of the ambiance of the room. Spirit City lets you control what time of day it is, so the overall lighting can be changed to suit your mood. Sitting at the large bay window in the evening to watch the rain is highly cathartic. Then there’s the other tools that are perfect for productivity. The to-do list lets you input your own entries, so you can craft a list perfect for doing homework right now, or make one for a large project. Then, use the built-in pomodoro timer to lock yourself in to working for a specific amount of time with built-in breaks. It’s perfect for studying or completing other tasks within a time limit. 

    The other tools weren’t available during the demo, but I can absolutely see their usefulness without having tried them. Spirit City offers a journal option so you can log whatever it is you want to log. Perhaps a run down of your day, or a log of a project you’re working on. The History option is great for analyzing your productivity to see where you could improve for better results. 

    Final Thoughts

    Spirit City: Lofi Sessions provides a really pretty, distraction-free, gamified productivity tool. Set yourself up for a good working session and power through it with the help of some great music. Plus, you’re never alone with a cute spirit creature to accompany you, and more for you to discover. Even decorate the room to suit you! 

    I think everyone should try this demo out. It was a worthwhile experience!

    The Spirit City: Lofi Sessions demo is on Steam! The full release is projected to be Q2 of 2024.

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgNov 16, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Fantastic Haven is a lovely Zoo Tycoon type game where you run a safe haven for magical creatures. As people move towards more advanced technology, their desire to live in harmony with the magical creatures wanes. This puts the balance of magic under pressure, and it’s up to you to restore that balance. Take in magical creatures that are injured or endangered, and restore them to health. Then, release them back into the wild to help restore the magic of the world. Even try diplomacy and education to teach humans about the importance of these creatures. It’s not an easy job, but it’s worth it! 

    The Demo

    I had the pleasure of playing the demo for Fantastic Haven and I have to say, it was SO short. I got a very small taste of what the game is about, and it left me wanting more. Building facilities necessary for taking care of animals, as well as advancing your research is great for game progression. Hand-crafting the biotopes needed to house the magical creatures is fun and lends a sense of creativity outside of building what amounts to a village with your buildings. 

    It’s apparent that, despite the short demo, Fantastic Haven will be fully involved and perfect for spending a day gaming. You conduct research, build golems to help you in your tasks, care for the creatures’ medical needs, build biotopes, feed creatures, and much more. It has a very apparent depth to it. However, that means there are menus upon menus for you to navigate. That by itself is fine. 

    Many complicated strategy and management games have that. Fantastic Haven’s research menu, building menus, creature menus, etc. are common enough. The only problem I found is that the text is TINY. It’s difficult to read, which makes it difficult to accomplish things in the game. The lack of tutorial was mildly frustrating, too. I don’t know if that was demo specific, but I hope so. The starting quests ask you to pan the camera, move around the area, and similar. It doesn’t tell you how to do that, though. So, if you’d never encountered using Q and E to turn a camera, you’d be totally lost and unable to progress the quest line. 

    Final Thoughts

    That said, Fantastic Haven is absolutely beautiful and offers an immersive storyline along with its game play. I could see myself spending hours upon hours perfecting the layout of my village, negotiating with humans, and carefully building biotopes for creatures. It’s a magical adventure that calls me to play!

    I’ll hold off on rating the demo, since they’re not always accurate to what the final game will look like. Just know that I think it’ll be a worthwhile game! 

    You can find Fantastic Haven on Steam, where you can Wishlist it. It’s not projected to release until Q2 of next year, though. There’s also plans for releases on Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
  • svgNov 15, 2023Reviews

    Post Image

    Smushi Come Home is an adorable little exploration game. You play as Smushi, a tiny mushroom, who’s been taken from their home and dropped in a large forest. You must find your way back to your siblings and home island by adventuring through the forest. Run, jump, climb, and glide your way through different areas. Complete puzzles to progress through your journey. Even befriend some quirky forest-dwellers who need your help! 

    A Cozy Adventure

    Though short, Smushi Come Home was a wonderfully relaxing and chill experience. The game does a great job of showing you how to play, setting up the story, then releasing you into the world to experiment with your skills. It’s low stakes, and takes very little effort or thought to play. This is not some complex strategy game, and it’s perfect that way! 

    This game is great for unwinding after a long day at work, or curling up on a cold day under warm blankets. Explore the autumn-colored woods, glide through the dark and mysterious caves, and swim underwater in search of items. Smushi Come Home has gorgeous scenery and a cast of quirky characters to keep you entertained. I mean, you get to ride on the back of a capybara! What’s better than that? Plus, a number of puzzles to complete that provide a small challenge, but don’t hinder the chilled out enjoyment just add to its charm. It’s such a cute little game, and great for all ages. 

    Final Thoughts

    I wish I could gush more about this game, but that’s hard without giving away spoilers! I really recommend it if you’re looking for something short, but fulfilling. It’s scenic, relaxing, and just fun to wander around the woods. 

    I give it: 

    You can find Smushi Come Home on Steam and Switch!

    • svg
    • svg
    • svg
svg