Witch shop game Potion Craft is ready to open for business this month. I'll admit right now that I've already played two different versions of Potion Craft so far this year and I'm well up for being experimented on again. The rather neat crafting and haggling game is going the early access route, taking time to expand the shop simulation elements while adding in new ingredients and potion effects for you to discover and unlock. It's headed to early access on September 21st and you can hop in to try the demo again until the 17th.
I said when I first played it that Potion Craft had cured my crafting woes. I think making things in games is neat, but I've grown weary of the "crafting" paradigm which asks you to cut down trees and then toss stacks of items into a processing interface.
Potion Craft puts all the tools in your hands and there is genuinely a bit of an art to using them. You'll mash up ingredients yourself with a mortar and pestle, stir your cauldron, and pour water in to nudge your potion into the perfect recipe. Deciding just how much mashing and stirring and pouring to do makes all the difference and is a challenge in its own right as each potion goes on a little journey across your map of possible ingredients. You can see that all in action down here in a prior trailer.
In addition to investigating new ingredients, you can customise the lables of each potion you brew, organise your handy recipe book, and attempt to unlock the secrets of the alchemy machine in your basement in search of the Philosopher's Stone. Each day you'll face a line of customers who are looking for various concoctions—some you can quickly brew if you've saved them in your book and others you might need to invent on the spot.
As for its early access version, Potion Craft's developers say "this is a sandbox game that can be played indefinitely, so you can play it for dozens of hours, going down The Alchemist’s Path, discovering new recipes, and optimizing the old ones even at the current stage of development." For myself, I put in a couple hours on both the demo and playtest this year, though there was certainly more of both for me to unlock if I'd made the time.
Niceplay Games don't offer an estimated time for their early access run, opting instead for the "when its done" approach. During that time though, they say they'll be introducing new effects, potion bases, and ingredients. "The process of running the potion shop will also expand, as players will be able to upgrade their garden, work on their reputation and develop their alchemist talents," they say.
In particular, I'm hoping to see what comes of the garden and shop running side of the simulation. At the moment, both automatically produce—ingredients and customers, respectively—each day without any fiddling on the player's side.
You can spot the Potion Craft demo back up on Steam until September 17th. It will launch into early access on September 21st.