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Alchemist: The Potion Monger – Review

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Over the years we’ve had quite a range of alchemy games, usually nothing more than dragging elements on top of each other to obtain the next great creation, the mobile platforms have worked well for such a simple concept, but Alchemist, the Potion Monger, brings alchemy to the first person with a near RPG adventure.

Starting off you’re pretty limited, you’re trapped near your little wooden hut at the coast and can’t get to the local town, but after running through a fairly straightforward tutorial you’re soon learning how to craft your own potions and before you know it, you’re projectile vomiting toxic sludge which can melt away the giant thorns blocking your path.
Crafting potions is done using your trusty cauldron, which you’ll want near a table to house a few mortars and pestle’s to grind down ingredients. For each ingredient, there’s usually a handful of potential potions depending on how they’re reduced or combined prior to throwing them in the pot.
I wasn’t a big fan of working out what each thing could do and dropping through a couple of different menus to check what an ingredient might do, then will do and then actually doing it, so while it’s a fairly convoluted system rather than putitng all the information in one box, it at least lets you explore what each incregient can do.

Besides the actual potion brewing, you’re free to upgrade your house by purchasing extra equipment such as shelves and storage chests, alongside special ingreidents and spells which uunlock the further you progress. There’s also quite a wide seleciton of NPC’s and while some will provide nothing more than idle chat, others will give you quests and challenges to help progress the story.
There’s a real RPG feel to things as you do open up the town and start to explore a little and while there’s not much in the way of side-quests, there’s plenty to keep you busy such as collecting potion requests to help your fellow inhabitants with their needs and then creating their desired concoction, this helps make the discovery of new spells feel much more rewarding than just throwing together the right ingrediants.

One area that could do with a little more work is the combat system, initially you’ll be smacking some slime ovet the head with a wooden stick and while the melee based system isn’t terrible, it’s not particularly advanced and I would have loved to see a few more personal spells required early on, as it starts off feeling fairly limited.

Overall the presentation of Alchemist is pretty impressive, graphically there’s not much to complain about, there’s a distinct cartoon feel to the details with a cell-shaded style black outline to alot of things, it runs smoothly, and even NPC’s are fairly well animated.
Audio deffinitely isn’t bad, music is noticeable without being distracting, and while there’s no full voice acting, most characters will usually greet you with one of a handful of foriegn sounding lines as the conversation appears in a popup at the bottom of the screen.
There is some limited voiced narration which helps, but it does get confusing when that English narration sometimes plays while also listening to foreign babble from a NPC.
There’s other areas which are just a lack of detail, such as scenery not being effected by your weapon and spells rarely having an effect on the things around you, but while there’s definitely room for improvement, there’s still a pretty solid foundation.

There’s no doubting that Alchemist: The Potion Monger feels pretty unique, it’s a simulation and adventure game, with RPG elements and discover all thrown together and it mixes well to create quite an enjoyable potion.
The real pleasing thing is, while the games been in early-access over on PC it’s adapted and evovled considerably and with a roadmap (half done) accessible through the main menu, there’s plenty of optimism that we will continue to see changes and improvements now it’s arrived on Xbox.

It’s also worth mentioning the potential, maybe not for this title, but for any future titles in the franchise, imagine even more RPG depth, maybe a Elder Scrolls style combat system where you can properly merge both melee and magic attacks, while keeping more to the exploration and creation of spells and not just grabbing your trusty stick to stick in an enemies eye.

There’s little doubt that Alchemist: The Potion Monger is going to please those looking for a more in depth Alchemy game and whileit doesn’t quite offer the depths it shows the potential of, there’s plenty to wrap your meddling hands around and most games will be able to enjoy potentially dozens of hours, especially as the game continues to evolved with the promised content.
the balancing act is, it might feel a little too simplistic to really pull in those leaning on the RPG side, or a little too complicated for those who just want to throw potions in a pot and see what happens, but for anyone in between, Alchemist: The Potion Monger offers a pleasant mix of genre’s which finds a nice middle ground between each.

Alchemist: The Potion Monger

Review by Lee Palmer

Gameplay
75%
Engagement
80%
Graphics
75%
Sound
70%
Value
75%

Summary

Alchemist: The Potion Monger offers a pleasant mix of genre’s which finds a nice middle ground between each.

75%

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