It is so very appealing thinking about alchemy in the fantastical sense. Building and creating potions with eyes of newts and tongues of frogs has long been a dream of some and I am here to tell you that now it is a possibility! Within reason, of course, and a lot less eyes and tongues to boot! Alchemist Simulator, released on October 23 2020, by Art Games Studio on Nintendo Switch, Xbox one, and Microsoft windows.
This game has an incredibly unique art style that mimics the look of brushed paint, while having plenty of interesting designs and items to look at that stand out in your little alchemy shop. Polished off by automatic cauldrons, a cute little library nook and your assistant who is a grumpy little porcupine with glasses on the brim of her snout. All the while a very fitting soundtrack trills behind with flutes, lutes, and sound effects that really pull the room setting together.
Source: Screen Capture – Caitlin Rutz
While I’ve no complaints about the beautiful set design that this game has, I do have a few about the controls. After launching the title you jump right into the game with no previous set up. Not to say that this game is incredibly difficult, but the sensitivity default was set too high, which can fortunately be changed. However, you cannot change movement speed, so everything feels just slightly off as you try to manage a set movement speed that feels a little too quick when you first jump in. It is a learning curve but can be managed.
The premise of the game is that you are a new alchemist, taking over the shop for your grandpa as he has business elsewhere. With the help of your grandpa’s assistant, you learn to make a potion to kick it off and learn the mechanics. After that first potion however, you’re on your own. It is a bit of a puzzle game in the way that every ingredient has one to three separate categories assigned to it from four different scales. You have the life and death scale, the purity and corruption scale, the heat and cold scale, the order and chaos scale, and the life and death scale. The puzzle of the game is how to get the unwanted elements out of the ingredient in order to make the correct potions. While it is very fun, and a rather relaxing game, this isn’t explained incredibly well. You can “cut out” aspects of the ingredients, use a motor to ground it and a drying rack as well, but it is difficult to get into the swing of how the elements work. This was probably the most disappointing part of the game, a quick rundown and nothing else leaves a big gap in communication from game to player.
Source: Screen Capture – Caitlin Rutz
You get the choice of assignments from your mailbox every morning which can range from previously made potions, to new and difficult ones. The ingredients also cost you coin, which you can buy from your charming assistant. While it didn’t happen to me, I wonder what happens when you run out of coin and have no ingredients you can use to make a simpler potion that you could have your assistant sell. Though, the game makes that a difficult task to achieve, I’m sure interested in knowing if there is any assistance or issues that may come with a situation like that.
The good news is, if you are quick enough with making your three assignments, you can make an extra potion that is selling for a high price with your assistant, as mentioned previously. Once you get the hang of what ingredients certain potions need, that is a great way to make some extra coin to keep your shop afloat.
Overall, the game is relaxing and pretty, the concept of cutting out and changing elements of ingredients is unique and fun at times, it is almost washed out but the lack of communication on how to work your items into what you need until you have them memorized. I’d give this game a 65, just because of the time it takes to learn the mechanics on your own through trial and error.
Source: screen capture – caitlin rutz