Review: Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!05 Feb 2018 3
Review: Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
Released 03 Aug 2017
We obviously didn’t have our eyes peeled when Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! was initially released on mobile back in August 2017. However, since an expansion has recently been unleashed, now seems to be a great time to make amends and take a look at the whole package.
Have you ever had that dream, the one in which you are the proprietor of a weapon shop tasked with supplying an endless stream of daring (foolhardy) adventurers? In this particular dream, you always insist on payment upfront because you just know the next time you meet your customers they will more than likely be covered in salt and vinegar and wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper.
I should explain, that in this particular dream all of the inhabitants are potatoes – I obviously ate too many packets of cheese and onion crisps before bedtime.
After naming your shop the first job is to employ some workers. Each of these disturbingly familiar looking spuds will have a speciality and their prowess will increase as their crafting skills develop. At the beginning of the game, there are a very limited number of items that you can craft. To succeed, you need to make sure that you have the necessary materials and be mindful of each weapon’s ideal characteristics. Daggers, for instance, are reliant on speed, whilst bows demand high accuracy. You can further tweak your creation by getting an employee to spend extra time enhancing a weapon or even temporarily taking on a highly-skilled freelance worker. However, beware, as such measures will make a serious dent in your profit margins.
The world of business can be cutthroat (quite literally considering your chosen profession) and careful financial management is key. You need to buy new supplies, meet the ever-growing wage bills and deal with the sinister Agent 46, who has somehow managed to acquire a 99.99% share in the shop and insists on receiving a regular cut of the profits. If you cannot fund payday then you will be allowed up to three bailouts, but be warned, as further shortfalls will lead to the foreclosure of your enterprise. Despite all of these financial pressures our hero maintains his devil-may-care attitude, capering around his workshop, singing awful songs and yelling like a deranged minion.
Once you have crafted some brand-spanking new weapons you can send a spud to Miso-Soup Swamp, the Root Beer Tower or any of the other strangely named locations that will become accessible as your business develops. Here, you can offer your wares to wandering adventurers, but to ensure the best price the weapon must be suited to the customer – a burly barbarian isn’t going to be too impressed if you offer him a puny dagger or a weedy wand. Each customer will not only hand over cash but also give your creation a rating. The result is that the level of the adventurer and the fame of your business will increase accordingly.
Soon, even your most easily pleased customers will be yearning for a little more bling. Now is the time to send someone out to do a little exploring – Laura Craft seems like a good candidate. After a while, your worker will return with new materials, magic items and relics. These relics provide the inspiration for new weapon designs and a few days of quiet study will add a new weapon to your repertoire.
Each time a worker helps to develop a new weapon, their crafting skills will improve. You can also improve an employee’s merchant skills by purchasing materials and selling weapons. Higher skill levels will allow them to strike more favourable deals. In addition, send a spud out exploring and their explore skill will increase, improving their chances of finding rare and valuable items. Eventually, a worker will have learnt all he can in a specific weapon-crafting field, at which point you can direct them onto a new career path and gradually progress up a pyramid of specialities. If all of this hard work becomes a little bit too much for your workforce then you can send them away on vacation. This works wonders for your employees’ morale and ensures that they work with renewed enthusiasm.
Despite the silly theme and overuse of the words “wacky” and “zany” Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! promises an impressive amount of depth, with 70 potato heroes to meet, 200 weapons to forge and 30 different potato smiths to employ. There are more features that I haven’t even mentioned, like placing job advertisements, purchasing new workshop equipment and the Annual Golden Hammer Awards complete with plenty of glitz and corruption.
Thankfully, the concepts of the game are introduced during the course of the first few tasks, which serves as a great tutorial. Later goals will range from crafting certain types of weapons, raising the levels of the adventurers that you supply, or just improving the fame of your business. There are also a selection of tricky contracts and special requests from legendary heroes to keep you on your toes.
The music has a quirky childlike innocence that fits the game perfectly and is a longway away from composer Kimura Masahiko’s most famous work on the moody Castlevania series. The graphical style matches the music being jolly and charming. It reminds me of cartoons such as Adventure Time – actually the whole game has an Adventure Time age-spanning appeal. To fully appreciate the game it helps if you connect with the developers’ sense of humour and get the flood of pop culture references.
I should mention that the first expansion has just been released. It revolves around Herclueless and his quest to win the favour of Zeus by forging a weapon impressive enough to get him into Olympus. The expansion gives the game a little more focus and introduces new legendary weapons, relics and areas to explore. It is more challenging than the base game, although it doesn’t radically alter the way that the game is played.
Inevitably, over time, and even with the introduction of new scenarios, the gameplay will become repetitive. However, by this point, you should have certainly had your fivers worth and enjoyed a few laughs along the way.