Alchemist: The Potion Monger is a first-person exploration game with light RPG elements. As a quick warning for anyone looking to find something cute and cosy to play — this colourful title might look like it, but it's actually quite hectic and comedic!
As the title suggests, you'll be spending your time exploring the world to find ingredients, brewing all sorts of useful and crazy potions, and fulfilling quests. Although it sounds (and is) a bit simple, the developer did a great job at keeping the game interesting through the combination of a fun brewing system and wacky potions.
First, I'd like to talk about possibly the most complex part of Potion Monger — the ingredients themselves. Each time you collect something new, you'll need the help of the multiple animal companions you'll unlock through your journey, as they will help you identify the myriad of Aspects that each ingredient has. While I was pretty intimidated by the idea of it at first, the numerous mechanics in place to help you figure things out really help break every brew step by step! That being said, if you pick up the game, make sure to pay close attention to the tutorials because I didn't understand at first, and it took me a while to get it on my own.
Aside from giving you a reason to find new companions, these different Aspects work as almost a puzzle element — depending on which "tool" you use, you'll get a different benefit for every ingredient. You'll also need to complete a minigame to earn the potion stars every time you brew them, but not only can you avoid this by buying an Enchanted Paper and making it automatically whenever you want, but they're also simple yet fun!
Once you've done all that and have the pots, you can sell them (either through a middleman or at your own market stall), use them in your adventures to explore the world or complete quests. There are a lot of things I liked about the game, such as the intuitive features in the potion-making and the fun brew ideas, but the quests were one of my favourite parts. Although this might have been because I hadn't expected the game to be funny and chaotic, they felt different and unpredictable.
As you do “favours” (as some of them like to call it) for the NPCs, you’ll also be progressing the main story. There’s definitely more to the game than just completing random quests and contracts (which are just brew x potion to get paid), but I’d hate to spoil anything since its interesting and wacky narrative is best experienced yourself. Whether it’s good or bad is very subjective regardless, and despite there being a main story, it’s still very focused on the brewing and exploring anyway.
When you're bored of being an alchemist or doing favours for the wacky citizens, you can also pet your companions or decorate your home (oddly named "lab" in-game). Although I didn't expect much from this particular mechanic, I was pleasantly surprised at the cool ideasand the lack of grid placement, such as letting us use shelves to display our potions or ingredients for ease of access. I spent quite a while messing around with the placement of my furniture and changing my room and my cauldron area around as I progressed through the game.
As for the graphics and sound design, while the game looks pretty good already, it obviously still has that slight “Early Access”-y vibe to it, and although I really loved the sound design at times (especially when the dog is discovering something for you), I do hope they add an option to mute the dialogue. Whilst I don't mind the gibberish and funny voices, it does make it hard for me to concentrate and read, so I ended up playing the game very quietly so I could still hear the other sounds when I couldn't find the option to silence it.
While I originally expected Alchemist: The Potion Monger to be more about collecting all kinds of plants and learning how to use them through silly quests, I was pleasantly surprised at the chaotic weirdness of the game. Whether I was collecting poop to make potions or being mischievous against allies and foes alike, I had a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to the full release.