PS5 Review: Potion Permit

Hey witch doctor, give us the magic words, yay or nay?

The town of Moonbury has always been wary of the advances of the outside world, preferring to rely on their traditional methods of healing. Until one day, when the mayor’s daughter falls ill, and the local witch doctor can do nothing to help her, they are forced to look outside their small community for help. The Medical Association decides to send their most accomplished chemist – you – to help cure the mayor’s daughter and convince the residents of Moonbury of the wonders of modern alchemy. Gain their trust and tend to each person when they fall ill in this open-ended sim RPG.

Potion Permit puts you in the role of a witch doctor/chemist that has come to the town of Moonburn, where the citizens hardly welcome you with open arms. They are distrustful to chemists from the capital city, and you’ll need to earn their trust by healing them in your clinic or by completing quests like gathering a certain number of items and everything in-between. The game looks a lot like Stardew Valley and it too has interesting characters that you can interact with and even romance. There are definitely some intriguing moments with certain villagers, one I won’t spoil, but it did make me chuckle to myself.

Curing townsfolk will require you to examine them to determine what potions you’ll need to cure them. Crafting potions takes the form of a block puzzle where you need to fill a grid of squares with items in your inventory that take up different shapes to put down. It sounds a bit complex but it’s actually quite simple and after crafting a potion 5 times you won’t need to go through the hassle anymore, simply just put down what recipe you prefer and make potions in bulk.

You can also take on other jobs in Moonbury like working in the post office, church or police station. These take the form of simple mini-games like swiping left or right to sort out items or button-mashing X to stomp grapes for the communion wine. Other jobs will require you to go out into the world and either gather resources either by chopping trees/bushes, defeating enemies or even fishing. You can even sell your excess potions for a tidy profit and with enough upgrades to your property, you can also cook if you collect recipes from townsfolk and the right ingredients.

You also begin the game with a dog companion who will help you by digging up items or they can track down villagers for you so you don’t have to go searching windlessly for them, you can naturally pet and feed the dog and doing so increasing your friendship level with him. The same can be said for villagers (minus the petting) but you can talk to them once a day and give them a gift to boost the trust level for them, which opens up new stories for them where you get to know more about them, as well as sometimes getting an item like a recipe.

Combat is simple but effective. Most enemies wont give you too much trouble, but there are a few that you need to be wary of. Also, the game has a stamina bar which drains throughout the day depending on how much you do, but you can replenish this with food or drink. The day will end abruptly at 2am though, so you do need to keep an eye on the time. Time is important in Moonbury since everyone has their own schedules and certain shops will be open or closed at particular times and days, so you’ll need to learn them if you don’t want to have to wait longer than you need to in order to finish a quest or restock items.

The game does have a few bugs currently like warp points not working, but simply trying a different warp point does tend to get you back into the mix. I’m hoping these will be fixed in future updates, it’s a shame but far from the end of the world.

Like I said, the visuals are reminiscent of games like Stardew Valley and it adds to the overall charm. The framerate naturally doesn’t drop, and the pixel-art is cute overall. The soundtrack also has its high points with some nice tunes, though I still won’t get used to the alarm sound to notify me when a villager is sick…

The Verdict

While not ground-breaking for the genre, Potion Permit is still an incredibly fun experience that is rewarding and has a group of memorable characters to boot. I have to admit this game has put a spell on me and I think it will for you too…

Score: 8.5