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Backlog Twosome | Potion Party

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You know what’s great? Being able to sit next to your loved ones and play games together. You get to laugh, joke, bask in the glory of a shared experience, and yell at each other as you accidentally mix the wrong ingredients, or throw out that dang potion seconds before the timer runs out!

Well, RP Games has teamed up with Top Hat Studios to bring us their frenetic, alchemical co-op extravaganza, Potion Party! Where you’ll not only be able to brew crafty cocktails with friends, but also jump down each other’s throats in true cooperative fashion. Nevertheless, will we be able to get past our differences, and get out of each other’s way, or will its concoctions have us pining for happy hour.

I love, love, love these kinds of co-op style games. Luckily, Patrick and I have the solid type of relationship where we can spend an evening yelling at each other about who should be doing what and then proceed to play even more, all while enjoying ourselves immensely. We’ve actually been playing a lot of Overcooked recently and really Potion Party is a simplified, pixelated version of that. I was stoked to be able to give it a try!

Although they’re seemingly few and far between these days, couch co-op games like Potion Party have always been a big hit in the Backlog Odyssey household. It gives us all an opportunity to work together with a similar goal in mind, and of course butt heads in the best of ways. I love the idea of having to communicate and coordinate so you can hit the objective, amidst the chaotic tug-o-war of trying to do your part while not getting in the way of your co-op cohorts.

It’s why we absolutely love the Overcooked, and since Potion Party looked like its alchemical counterpart, we jumped on the opportunity to play it in a heartbeat!

As a pick up and play party game, Potion Party fit the bill perfectly! The objectives were simple and easy to understand where your main goal is to mix various potions (big or small), and sell them to a customer as they enter your shop. The challenge comes from figuring out how to properly coordinate with your co-op partners so you craft your potions effectively and timely, either before the customer walks away, or you run out of time for the round.

I also enjoyed how the game challenges you and your team further as you progress through its 12 levels. The devs do this by introducing more complicated potions, which require more steps to create. That and by throwing various obstacles at you like thieves that will steal your ingredients/concoctions, ghosts that will invert your controls if they touch you, or slimes that will stand in your way slow you down. Luckily, by unlocking new characters, or upgrading your shop many of these obstacles can be mitigated. You can also deal with some of them, like the thieves or the slimes, by using some of the ingredients you create, but reducing their spawn rate is even better.

With that being said, this is 100% a co-op game, and I would most definitely play it as such since the single player mode leaves something to be desired. It’s neither as thrilling, nor as fun having to juggle the tasks by yourself.

As far as co-op games go, Potion Party ticked all the boxes for me. Smooth couch co-op, so I can play with my favorite player 2. Simple and satisfying gameplay where there is more than enough to do in a level for multiple people to play, and of course a game that has fun, cute, and colorful graphics that offsets the pleasantly stress filled ambiance perfectly.

There is an option for single player mode as well which for obvious reasons we didn’t enjoy as much. It was still fun of course but the name of the game in this case says party and that’s really where the fun lies. The versus mode offered a different type of challenge with the added element of competition. We played a few rounds but again we really had the most fun during the co-op portions.

This was an amazingly fun game, but I do feel like it cuts itself off at the legs a bit in certain places. For instance, once we unlocked the Wizard character who lets you brew big potions with only a single ingredient, we completely stopped trying for any of the other characters. He was only 1000 coins and really streamlined the whole game. There was no need for the other characters’ abilities considering there were shop upgrades that you can buy that serve the same purpose. Also, most of the stages felt like tutorials and once we finished the 12th stage I was left waiting to really be challenged by all the new things I’d learned. It’s not really a bad thing as I was left wanting more of course, but the fact that we completely finished the game with ease without even needing to unlock even half the available upgrades means those 12 stages are too easy or there needs to be a lot more stages. I truly do hope the developers have more levels planned to expand upon Potion Party’s fantastic experience. Like I said, wanting more from a game is definitely not a bad sign!

Honestly, I have no real complaints regarding how Potion Party plays. Nor can I complain about its aesthetics and soundtrack! It controls well, it’s just the right amount of hectic, the various characters are fun, and the music is catchy and upbeat!

The only nitpicky thing I can muster, is the amount of variety within the game. Sure, the complexity gets ratcheted up, and you can “decorate” your store by buying upgrades, but in the end you’re kind of doing the same thing in the same environment throughout the entire game. What I would love to see is different locations with their own unique environmental obstacles. Honestly, something like that by itself would spice up the gameplay greatly! That and allow more customers to come in at once so you can be working on multiple things at the same time. It would not only give everybody something to do instead of having to idly stand by as you wait for the next objective, but it would prevent you from aimlessly trying to “prepare” for what may come next. Either that or give us a clearer picture as to what will be coming next by default, or a queued ingredients list, instead of having to save up for a crystal ball that just gives you a color.

Playing Potion Party was an absolute blast, and like I mentioned earlier, although couch co-op games like it are a rarity these days, being able to sit next to each other as we collectively experience the ins and outs of the game is wonderful. Even though we may have butt heads a few times while trying to figure out the best strategies, that was honestly the best part, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to play it.

There was some confusion as to how to select our characters and such in a co-op game, when we first started the game, but we quickly got over that and it was smooth sailing from there. Which I guess you could say that about the tutorialization in most of the game, but being able to figure it all out together meant it wasn’t as much of an ordeal.

Potion Party was built for multiplayer so playing it together was a no-brainer. We excel at working together and there are never any hard feelings if one of us screws up so bad we have to start over. I could definitely see this game causing some relationship strife though! Communication is key and half the fun!

I appreciate that there was lots of room to move around a stage, so we weren’t bumping into each other a lot. And even if we did get in each other’s way from time to time our characters couldn’t completely block each other off or send the other player flying in the other direction (I’m looking at you Overcooked!!).

We blew through the story mode in a little over one sitting so clearly we enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. High recommendations all around for anyone looking for a fun co-op experience with someone you won’t easily get in a fist fight with when things inevitably go south while you brew up that plethora of potions!

It doesn’t take much to convince either of us to try out a fancy new co-op game, and we’re thinking if you’re in the mood for something that’s easy to pick up and play with a group of your friends, all from the comfort of your couch, then we highly recommend you check out Potion Party! It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s hellishly hectic!

If you’re interested in checking Potion Party out, it’s available right now on the Nintendo Switch, Steam, and PlayStation 4!