Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! Review

Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is not only a strange title–it’s a wacky simulation game featuring outlandish potato people which has you managing your own blacksmith shop. The majority of your time will be spent in your smithy, which serves as the game’s hub. From here, you can command your smiths to forge equipment, buy or gather materials, venture out to sell your wares, and send weary smiths away on vacation.

The gameplay loop is as follows:

Forge.

As your workmanship gains fame, you’ll be able to expand both your smithy and your clientele.

You can boost the weapon’s stats once (sometimes more, if you get a lucky random event) during production. The smith you choose will dictate what stat will be increased and by how much and you can hire outside smiths, who will typically be more skillful than your local smiths–for a price.

Finally, you can enchant your weapon for that last stat boost. Enchantments exist in different grades and levels of effectiveness and add a predetermined amount of stats to your weapon. After all that is said and done, you can name your creations. The game touts over 200 different weapons spanning several different categories.

When you aren’t forging to sell to heroes, you can complete contracts, which don’t require you to create a physical product. Instead, you just need your smiths to add up stat points to meet requirements.

Sell.

Your smiths are also part-time salespotatoes and will venture out on behalf of your smithy to make a profit on their latest creation. The more practiced a salespotato they are, the more likely your smith will be to gain a sales bonus.

Your sales actually help adventuring heroes get the job done. By purchasing your weapons, heroes level up. The amount of experience gained is based on the rating your weapon is given, which breaks down to 1. Whether or not it’s a preferred weapon of the patron hero, 2. That it possesses the preferred stats of the patron hero, and 3. The stats themselves; the higher the hero level, the higher stats they’ll desire. Weapons are rated D-S, with D being the lowest rating and S being the highest. Ratings are also a deciding factor in how much starch a hero will offer you for a weapon, so it would behove you to create a masterpiece tailored for individual tastes. You can check what hero likes what in any region while setting out to forge or while perusing the world map by holding down L2.

Explore/buy

There are two ways to obtain materials for crafting: buy them or find them.

You can send out a smith to purchase ingredients. They’ll buy a specified number of ingredients and availability depends on your region.

Exploration allows you to send out smiths to discover research reagents and smithing materials. Unlike purchasing, it doesn’t cost anything but your smith’s time. Exploration also allows you to gather reagents for enchanting and components for researching new weapons.

Research.

In order to create new weapons, you’ll first need to do a bit of research. Research requires a smith and a specific ingredient. Your smith’s stats dictate how quickly research can be done, so it makes sense to select your researchers based on what they can bring to the table.

Manage your smiths.

As they work, your smiths gain experience and level up. Once they’ve leveled up, you can change their job class. Job classes dictate which stats smiths will develop. You can also hire new smiths and fire ones who aren’t forging up to par.

While you’re engaged in the daily grind, the game will occasionally pose random questions that give you positive and negative rewards pending your answer.

There weren’t many moments of frustration I encountered except the special clients that require very specific stats for weapons. Those can be difficult early on, but they aren’t timed so there’s opportunity to train up your staff. This was particularly nice as I didn’t feel pressured to play to meet the campaigns requirements for advancement, but rather could craft and sell until I was good and ready to move onto the next area. Holy Potatoes is paced well, which is particularly important for a game that expects you to perform repetitive tasks. At no point did I feel like I was just spinning my wheels and killing time with nothing to strive towards; I was always trying to master smith classes or max out the levels of local heroes.

One of the game’s greatest strengths is its writing. The banter, quips, story elements, and nods to various nostalgia were a significant enough reason to keep playing if only you pursue that niggling sense of “what are they going to come up with next?” curiosity. The unique characters are parodies of popular ones from the gaming world names are potato-theme. I had no trouble identifying a few of the references even if some of them were from the 80s. The story elements that mixed with the pop culture references was smooth. None of the references felt forced and each fit well with the overall theme of the game.

.Pros.

  • Humourous dialogue and pop cultural references aplenty.
  • Simple, but engaging gameplay cycle.
  • Your favourite characters from yesteryears now in potato form!
  • Solid weapon shop simulator.

.Cons.

  • Not much to do during down time.
  • PS4 controls somewhat inconvenient. Have to double tap through menu while in shop. Can only go from left to right while accelerating time, meaning you have to go from fast to fastest before returning to normal speed.

.Bottom Line.

Holy Potatoes is just a good time.Period. If you enjoy simulation games, this is a safe purchase. If you are pop culturally savvy and have enjoyed any video games in the last two decades, you’ll be charmed by the potato iterations of some of your favourite characters as well as the myriad jokes and references. There are a few flaws like the controls, which is due in part to the layout, and the somewhat plodding nature of down time between forging and completing contracts. That aside, this is a solid investment of both your time and cash.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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