Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! has a traditional story and gives it a unique twist aside from the fact that all of the protagonists are… eatable? The grandfather of the potatonist (you saw the pun coming, right?) died and now it is your time to keep up his weapon shop. So far, so good. In most games, you would become a typical hero, but what about the heroes behind the curtain?
The player’s grandfather had been a successful and skilled blacksmith. Together with Agent 46, he opened up the shop to serve all the brave fighters in their fight against the evil which exists in the world. That is basically it! Pick up the hammer that your dear family member had dropped and keep his work and name alive by raising your fame across the country!
You can name your character and shop at the beginning. After Agent 46 introduces himself, a tutorial starts. Just as in real life, you are in charge of everything, but let’s get into the controls first.
BEING A BLACKSMITH IS NOT HARD… OR IS IT?
Not a single button draws the short straw in Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! You are the boss and must complete a lot of tasks. Starting with -, you can open the notifications. Whenever your smith goes to town to buy or sell or goes on a holiday trip, a messages pops up to let you know whenever something happens. You have to reassign him to a work station with the D-pad buttons or otherwise he will be on standby. At the same time, you will navigate your work through menus with those buttons as well. The left analog stick is used as an alternative to move your cursor around. Pushing it will enable or disable it.
The camera works with the ZL and ZR buttons. ZL zooms it out and, you guessed it, ZR does the opposite. Use the right analog stick to pan the camera and pushing the button down will reset it.
Now, the most important part! How to make money! Selling weapons equals money, but as we all know both of them do not grow on trees. The X-button is a player’s best friend and triggers the forging menu. Select a weapon to build with A (that little round thingy will also help you confirm other stuff, too!) and the work starts. You probably have guessed it: B is used to cancel like in most other games.
When your blacksmiths are sweating while hard at work, you will watch over them. If you ever feel overwhelmed with their speed, do not fret. L is here to help you. By using that button, you will freeze time. Everything pauses and lets you check something or even catch a breath. No worries, though! The developer made sure you won’t jog the whole time here! The speed is very convenient, but if you ever feel the need to hurry up, push that R button to let the game keep up with you.
Ah, you did it! You are holding a beautifully crafted piece in your hand, and now you want to sell it! Select the place in the current world you want your blacksmith to go to and send him away by cycling through the A and Y buttons. At first, it was a little confusing for me, because I kept hitting A and got confused why nothing is happening. Y actually confirms your employee to be sent out.
Phew, do you feel like this is a lot? No worries! I have got a handy chart for you to look at to show what I just kind of tried to explain to you. Was I successful? Either way, if you cannot keep up with all the controls thrown at you, the game always lets you revisit the tutorial to review. Plus, the commands you are suppose to give are always shown in a corner of the screen, so you are not constantly pushing B to look with an annoyed sigh back at the controls.
FREE AS A BIRD IN THE SKY…?
Being an employee means you have to listen to your boss or other people of a “higher level”. Being your own boss maybe puts you into the position to order others around, but it is not a cakewalk either.
Besides making sure the money comes in, you have a lot of duties that might crush you at the end of the month. Starting out rather small, your workspace and employees grow with your income. The people working in your shop want to be paid, too. Their pay check grows after each month that passes. Can we adopt that into real life, please? Anyway, with more pay, you want your people to be educated and able to make weapons with higher attributes, too.
Speaking of them, you have four stats that flow into your weapons: accuracy, attack, magic and speed. Heroes with different professions have their unique needs. A mage never wants to wield around an axe, so you have to adapt to the market, too. Forge weapons with their desired attributes, and you will make more money. Simple as that.
Fame increases as people buy your weapons and talk about them. Mostly on WhetsApp. Yes, the spelling is correct. Besides knocking off that famous messenger app, the game also uses some names like “Bulk Bogan” and “Lara Craft”. And not to forget! The almighty “Batato” (that’s Batman). But not only do your customers spread word of your shop across the globe, your employees do that, too. So keep a close eye on that because they can get tired and do what every worker has done in their life before: start to complain about their job.
To keep your potatoes motivated, you can send them on vacations and train them. Having some time off will make them return refreshed and happy. Especially because their boss is paying for it! Keep that in mind and watch the right upper corner where the season, the actual time as well as the year and month is displayed. Check the different locations along with the prices, and if your employer is stressed out in a month where vacation prices are on its peak… Wait a little. You can adapt that to the training session, too.
Training a blacksmith will help him build up skills. Your trusty potatoes are getting more expensive with time, so you will want to make the best out of it. Having four classes at the start, you can build them up to be more efficient and be able to keep up the high demands in other worlds. Having two jobs which compliment each other is beneficial, so make sure to train your smith efficiently. It does not help you when all of your people are amazing in building up attack, but none of them are good at breathing magic into a weapon.
One thing I almost forgot is the Boost function. This will amp up the stats of your weapons quite nicely. Select one section that you like to increase and a smith, then hit that button! It is somehow random how many times your chosen potato can improve the current project, but a happy employee is a better worker. Just saying… And if they are grumpy or not suitable, you can hire a freelancer anytime. Beware, though. They want some extra money for their magic, of course!
SO MUCH SMITHING, SO LITTLE TIME
Being all-round talents, your smiths can go explore the world and find artifacts or materials. With the found objects, they can research blueprints and expand your weapon range. Make sure to send them out often to save some money.
At some time, at the Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, you can fulfil contracts. You will get a brief description of the needs of your customer and the requirements of success. In a time limit, you have to craft a weapon with a certain amount of stats. Fail the time and/or the stats, and that’s it. Thank god that you will not have any penalty to pay.
Not limited to contracts, as your fame rises some people will actually come to you to order a weapon. Sometimes it only has to be a dagger or any random weapon with stats of 800 accuracy and/or 1,400 attack.
Another thing that assists you keeping up with everything is the journal. It will be unlocked after some time. In there, you will find statistics about the past month. Basic bookkeeping here. Shop upgrades make an impact on your bank account although they will help you improve things, and some are required to move to a bigger space and world.
SELLING THE GOODS
After forging, you have to get rid of your goods in exchange for cash. Up to three weapons can be carried to town by your smith and be sold to four customers with different tastes. Make sure to suit their needs with your wares. Otherwise, you only will get a lousy 42 dollars instead of a whooping 4,891. Makes a difference.
But, what if you had built all sorts of weapons and you could not get a high price? Take them home. You have a handy weapon chest to keep them nice and cozy before they will find a new home. Besides that chest, you have some other options the menu down in the center of your screen. One of them is the inventory. A lot of sorting options ensure you are going to keep everything under control.
Occasionally you will have some events that can affect your sales or other things. An event in a certain town will increase the profit you will make on some weapons. But you could also be struck by an earthquake shaking up your workshop and causing some stats to drop while forging. At some point, the main potato, aka you, will stumble over occasions where you have to decide between two options. You can either fail or not, and the result will increase or decrease abilities of one of your smiths for a temporary time period.
HOLY COW, I AM BROKE!
It is that time of the month… It’s payday! The title reminds you a week before you have to load up money to the bank account of your employees, so you are not suddenly surprised. Being fair to the new shop owner, Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is challenging, but also helps you up back on your feet if you cannot meet your month’s end.
If you happen to run out of money even though you had carefully planned and cannot pay your blacksmiths, you will get help up to three times in total. Your potatoes will be paid, and you will get a nice load of cash to keep you in the shop keeping business.
WHAT ELSE IS HOT?
The player can participate at a contest in the game and actually bribe the jury to give your weapon the best rating. At the start of the game, you will not have the slightest chance to participate. I was only able to get into it after moving to the third location. What is irritating is that you cannot skip the whole spectacle even though you are not participating.
The Nintendo Switch port also does include the DLC “ Spud Tales: Journey to Olympus” where you start with four workers and all weapons are unlocked, so no research is needed here. You help Herclueless on his way back home and become a hero. “Holy Potatoes! What The Hell?!” (a cooking management sim) and “Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?!” (practically a space exploring sim on top of crafting weapons) are not included.
So, these are basically the main tasks of Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! in a nutshell. Or maybe a bowl, considering the length of that section here.
*This review was written by Jennifer for switchwatch.co.uk.
A simulation title does not need as huge of a library of tracks as an RPG, but I have to say that given the amount of time you will spend listening to them, I would prefer to have some variety. Sadly, you do not get much in Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
At 45 minutes into the game, I started to set down the music to the lowest setting before mute. It is a happy tune and reminds me of a hotel lobby. A very cheerful one, too. The sound effects for the potatos and the environment are fun and goofy. Just on point for the game’s humour, but that does not change the fact that the music gets repetitive and straining your nerves rather quickly.
Visuals & Performance
The good amount of humour is complimented with a fun to look at character design. The environment is detailed and the developer cared about the looks of Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! a bunch. It is just funny to see the facial expressions of the talking potatoes or the dog that you will call your pet at some point in the play through. Your wares have a cartoon-like design just as the rest of the game, and they match the descriptions perfectly.
Judging the performance, I had some issues. As I started the game for my review and played a little, I could not get rid of the left analog stick icon on the world map. I tried to push the button to enable and disable it, but nothing worked. It still was appearing on the screen after I came back to it. Nothing too frustrating or even game crashing, but it made me restart the game after seeing it return.
Sometimes I had the issue that my buttons were not responding well. For example, I had to tap A twice to confirm. It never lead to anything major, though. It was just a tat of flimsy controls. Adjusting the camera was also sometimes slow and inaccurate. The main problem I faced was on the world map when I tried to zoom out and have a good view over the complete area. In “Spud Tales: Journey to Olympus” it was confusing to see how large the map actually is in the first time.
Irritating as hell is what happens when you load the game. Every time I play in handheld mode, the game asks me to detach my joy cons. I did it at first, but you can play with them attached, and it still is somehow annoying and puzzling. From time to time, there is a slight lag when making a choice on the world map.
Other than that, I never had any troubles. These little issues are way better than having the game breaking while you forge the best weapon ever, am I right?!
Holy Potatoes! I wish every game had this much content for $14.99 USD or £12.99 GBP! I would guess I had played 14+ hours as I am writing this review and with that amount of fun I had, there will be some more for sure. Simulations can be very frustrating, but Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! manages to have the perfect split between challenging and motivating. Throwing in a good humour and references from video games and other Hollywood stars in general, this game keeps you entertained between sessions of heavy forging.
As I was writing my review for this title, I had to add so much to the gameplay section, it was ridiculous. With such a good portion of charm, the little flaws I had with the controls are forgivable. The soundtrack, too. Maybe Steve Flounder (Stevie Wonder) had better compose some music for the game instead of being an amazing freelancer smith…?!
Overall, Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is worth your hard earned cash even though two DLCs are missing.
*A review copy of Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! was provided to SwitchWatch by Rising Star Games.
A ton of content
Overall a fair simulation game
The audio gets old quickly
A bit of flimsy controls