Potion Permit’s Potential

Unpacking Potion Permit


Kathleen Capistrano, Staff Writer

Many of us use video games as entertainment and as a form of escape. Different games offer different experiences, whether horror, comedy, mystery, or strategy. Through video games, players have the opportunity to experience what they are unable to in reality. Potion Permit, in particular, offers players the chance to live life as an alchemist.

Potion Permit is a game with incredibly cozy graphics, alchemic elements, and an amusing spin on a fantasy world. Players are given the ability to create and name their own character, along with their adorable dog companion. Not only is their dog loyal, but it can help find non-playable characters (NPCs) around the map. (And as someone who has played many community sim games, this feature is a game-changer.)

Aside from the lovable graphics, Potion Permit’s gameplay is very straightforward, quick to understand, and easy to nail down. The game does a great job of guiding players through different mechanics without being too restrictive or repetitive; a much-appreciated detail for those who are already familiar with simulation games.

The game’s story begins with you, a chemist from the Capital, being called to a small, rural island called Moonbury. However, when you arrive, you learn that the townspeople have a deep-rooted grudge against chemists. Only when the mayor’s daughter falls deathly sick, do they hesitantly reconsider.

While the story isn’t necessarily deep or complex, it provides a decent enough plot foundation for me to stay immersed in the gameplay and for events to build up. Potion Permit has excellent replayability, as players can continue to grind materials to upgrade their tools and their house and create new game saves.

As you progress through the game, your main task is to win the favor of the townspeople and collect materials from the neighboring forest to create potions to help with illnesses. In order to create these potions, you are presented with a mini-game. Each potion has a unique pattern that you have to fill in completely, similar to Tetris.

Aside from brewing potions and gathering materials, you can chat with all the different residents of Moonbury.

Each character has their own story and personality. You can learn more about them by gaining their trust and befriending them through gifts. When you reach a high enough friendship level with a specific character, you are given an in-depth quest that makes it feel almost like you’re getting to know the character personally, which I think contributes to the game’s immersion.

Potion Permit does not abstain from bringing up serious topics with these characters, like unhealthy food relationships, mourning a loved one, and the desire to run away. Instead, I think the game handles these topics in a thoughtful way, acknowledging both the need to heal and the struggle to overcome.

After creating a second save, I noticed that even at the very start of the game, the issues that each character struggles with were always present, just hidden. For example, early on in the game, Nova (one of the characters) mentions her husband before trailing off and never finishing her sentence. This foreshadows both her backstory and her struggle between honoring him and moving on.

These little details are honestly what keeps me hooked on the game. I thoroughly enjoy analyzing different parts of the story and making connections to some of the characters. The game does not over-explain any topics and does not skip over them either. It sets a perfect balance of immersive and casual gameplay.With that being said, I believe whole-heartedly that Potion Permit is the perfect kind of game for relaxing after a long day.