Potata: Fairy Flower
Xbox version tested
Review code provided
I don’t say this often, but I was wrong. Wow, that felt good! I was wrong about Potata: Fairy Flower. It is not a terrible game, it’s actually a lot of fun.
After weeks of watching the teasers online, I was finally gifted a review code for Potata, the whimsical action platformer from OverGamez, and within minutes I had branded it the worst game I’d played this year. The controls didn’t respond how I wanted them to, platforms I thought I should be able to jump on were just background decoration, and my quest seemed utterly pointless. How was I ever going to be able to write a review for a game that I’d lost interest in within the first 5 minutes?
Well, here we are, a little over a week or so later and I’ve just got through a solid 30 minutes of uninterrupted gameplay and I’m hooked. Sure, playing a game for half an hour wouldn’t suggest I’m all that invested, but I had to take a break to put my thoughts down on paper before I fired it up again. It is important that I put down in words how wrong I was as a reminder that sometimes it’s worth taking a minute before you judge a game, and condemn it to your backlog list for all eternity, fully aware that you’ll skip over it every time you’re looking for something to play.
So what’s it all about? Well, Potata: Fairy Flower is an arcade-adventure style platformer set in a magical world of fairies and sprites. You take on the role of the titular Potata, a young girl who is sent out into the dangerous woods by her mother to collect a number of ingredients to help with her potions. Along the way you meet all manner of crazy characters, and not all of them want to see you succeed.
The game is another of those colourful indie titles you see everywhere these days, but is truly beautiful to look at. The animated backgrounds add depth to the screen, and there is always something to look at. In fact, it has often been compared – rather flatteringly – to Ori and the Blind Forest, though the latter is a much better game. There are also cut-scenes that could easily be straight from an animated TV show, which is a huge compliment given how strong today’s fantasy cartoons are. Unfortunately though, the animated sequences are far more appealing than the characters that appear in them, but this might have a little to do with the sub-par translation that rears its head from time to time.
Mechanically, Potato moves really well. Once I had started to understand how the game worked, the things that initially annoyed me about how it handled disappeared. Jumps are well-timed, throws hit the mark, and the inventory feature in which you can retrieve keys or weapons is really easy to learn. I have played much clunkier indie offerings on the Xbox One over the years, so the developers should be very pleased with what they have created.
My main issues with the game though came when I tried to get my head around the puzzles. In fact, I had no clue how to get passed even the first one – which is presumably the most basic. There were no clues to hand, unless you bought them off some sarcastic nymph, and so I spent goodness knows how long aimlessly tapping buttons to try and get a result. Eventually I had to resort to a YouTube walkthrough to understand what was needed from me, and honestly, if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to. Perhaps it’s my age, or perhaps my brain has turned to mush, but having a puzzle this hard so early in the game is a bad idea. It would usually be enough for me to rage quit the game. I persevered this time, but I wouldn’t suggest it’s a wise move for anyone out there making games to copy this concept because it’s a huge turn-off. Oh, and the end of level bosses are really tricky, so get ready to cuss at your TV.
You can check out some of my gameplay in the video above. It ain’t pretty, and I die a lot but hey, a couple of days ago I was never going to pick this title up again, so maybe playing Potata has changed me as a gamer, and maybe even as a man?
TBG Score: 6.5/10
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 13/05/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Platformer
Developer: Potata Company / OverGamez
Publisher: Sometimes You
Download link: Microsoft Store