Thanks to OverGamez for the review code
Title: Potata: Fairy Flower
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 06/06/2020
In this puzzle platformer, you take control of a young witch who sets out on a quest to save her village from danger, after she caused quite a mess. A pretty cute, simplistic plot with not much to add, outside of how what I managed to see gave me pretty strong storybook vibes.
The presentation to Potata is pretty substandard. It goes for a 2D look, with character designs that look as if they were ripped out of an old picture book, and do the part reasonably well. Some characters like the fox are pretty cute, but several of the humanoid characters in this game are animated pretty strangely, especially in the moments where the game decides to throw a cutscene at you. In fact, animation in general is rather odd in Potata, with some enemies being pretty terrifying, though the backgrounds are pleasant to look at.
Irritatingly, I did find myself struggling at points to make jumps down below, since I couldn’t seem to figure out how to pan the camera in such a way that would let me see below myself in certain situations, leading to frustrating blind jumps into pits. Eventually, I did learn that by holding down on the left stick, you can pan downwards a little bit, but jumping off very high platforms will still lead to blind guesses unless you’re able to get down slowly. The music also is incredibly generic and a lot of the sound effects appear to be too, so some parts of the presentation definitely feel pretty haphazard.
Potata is a puzzle platformer, tasking you with going from one objective to the next, solving puzzles along the way. You have a typical control setup, and explore the stages, grabbing blue stones and dodging enemies as you make it to the next checkpoint and progress the story.
The puzzle setups here aren’t really that spectacular to write home about. Sometimes you’ll come to a screen and will have to solve something like a light puzzle or a block formation, or will have to do some tricky platforming in order to find out of the way treasure chests, keys, or items needed for progression. To be utterly blunt, I couldn’t make it that terribly far in the game despite the hour plus I spent in this forested world, and that was because of this game’s frustrating level design and clunky mechanics. That being said, I did take note of alternate paths leading to treasure and more gems, which were admittedly fun to stumble upon for extra goodies.
The good news is, upon clearing certain tasks or reaching a checkpoint for the first time, the game will autosave, spawning you at that point upon any death or reload. Sounds good, right? Well, as is typical for games like this, dying will revert your progress back to the last checkpoint. Thankfully, it won’t set you back dozens of minutes or anything… But it can get pretty irritating to make decent headway towards the next checkpoint, grabbing each and every stone, only to screw it all up by getting knocked back into an instant death pit, or running into an enemy that instantly kills you.
As a weird way to mitigate this, the game does let you re-save at a previously reached checkpoint, at the cost of 20 stones. Since stones are the main currency here, there is a bit of a calculated risk on whether or not you want to use them to prevent yourself from having to redo a stretch of collecting, but the poor camera panning means more often than not, blind jumps will be commonplace if you go out of your way to explore, and in the short time I spent, it took a half hourish or me getting cocky and trying to get to a checkpoint with all items to finally reach the next one, which by that point, made me wish I was playing something else: maybe the game’s pacing speeds up greatly after several hours, but in the starting few? It’s far too glacial.
In conclusion, Potata is a middle of the road puzzle platformer. Yes, it provides puzzling entertainment, and the solutions can be clever enough to make you crack a smile, but when the game is bogged down by a lot of genericness and frustrating moments, along with just how dull the experience is as a whole, I honestly can’t really recommend this at the usual MSRP: it controls fine enough to get you some entertainment if you pick it up on sale, but for the $12 MSRP, this is a puzzler that just doesn’t have the full magic.
The controls are tight, and I’m sure those with more patience for the dull pace of the game will get their money’s worth, but for those like me who hoped for something more engaging and to the point, this may be one you want to pass on.
I give Potata: Fairy Flower a 5 out of 10.