Potion Permit grants us with another life and crafting sim to sink our teeth into with a distinctly gorgeous pixelated art style, every background feels like I’m playing in a painting and the animations are incredibly fluid I even love the way characters sway in place while standing and whenever you speak to them.
You play a chemist; the doctors of this world and you’ve been sent by the medical association to help the rural town of Moonbury. The mayor’s daughter has been sick for a while and the witch doctor who now hates us for being outsiders and meddling with the medicine in town hasn’t been able to help her, in fact most of the town hates us from the get-go and it isn’t until we start healing people in our ramshackle clinic and fixing issues around town that they finally open up to us. So how do we run our clinic and solve problems? By forging mushrooms, killing slime, chopping down trees, annihilating bears who totally deserved it and slicing up flowers, don’t worry my fellow environmentalist, this world doesn’t pretend to be realistic, everything magically respawns next day, these resources are then used to make potions in your cauldron which is limited at the start of the game to only five ingredients max per potion, each potion has a unique shape that you must fill out using your resources. You have a sickle, a hammer and an axe, these are your tools to collect resources, every action with your tools uses some of your stamina which you can refill by eating foods or going to the bathhouse or just going to bed and starting a new day in your clinic.
You study the parts of the body the patient talks about in order to diagnose the issue, the diagnosis is made up of very easy mini-games that don’t really add much value to the game in my opinion but I guess it’s more engaging than just clicking ok to heal the person, once you diagnose the issue the appropriate potion will be required, you can make a few of each potion ahead of time as I did so you can diagnose and treat patients quickly. Besides crafting potions at our cauldron, you can decorate and research new potions, the research aspect is made up of another minigame that truthfully is kind of lame with how easy it is, it’s somehow easier than the other ones, I’m all about accessibility but if the mini-game has me questioning the point of its very existence perhaps it isn’t adding anything worthwhile to the gaming experience. You can also upgrade your tools, upgrade your cauldron and improve the efficiency of your tools so there’s plenty to keep you motivated to unlock more, finally you can of course fish, I was surprised the route it took for the mechanic and I found it engaging.
Now for the most important part, you can romance people! I guess you can also be friends with them or whatever but I’m aiming for a consensual fuckpile or I’ll just have a ton of game saves and test out every single relationship option and did I mention you have a dog? This cute little guy follows you around for food and attention, you can also have your dog lead you to a character you’re looking for so no need to memorize every character’s schedule, just follow the doggo. Last but certainly not least the sound design is great and the music is soothing, I honestly mistook for the Stardew Valley soundtrack, performance is solid, very comfy to play on a controller not so much on the keyboard so definitely recommend a controller for this one.
Overall, while the game has a gorgeous art style and is relaxing to play that is reminiscent of Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley, it lacks depth and can be a repetitive grind.