Potions: A Curious Tale is an upcoming adventure crafting game by indie studio Stumbling Cat. The game stars a young witch named Luna who lives on the edge of a deep, dark forest. The gameplay is split between brewing potions at home and wandering the woods collecting ingredients. There are enemies, but as Renee Gittins, the game’s creator, explained to me, combat is not always the answer.
Gittins came up with the idea for Potions while she was playing the roguelike Pixel Dungeon. “I found myself getting frustrated with the game because you had to fight and kill everything you ran into, in order to be able to progress well,” Gittins explained. “You had to run around looking for extra monsters to spawn and kill. And I just thought it was so heavily focused on having to kill everything. So I decided I wanted to make a game where combat wasn’t always the answer, and that’s how I came up with Potions.”
Luna is going through adolescence and has just recently discovered her ability to brew magical potions. The player must use these potions to battle enemies, overcome obstacles, and help out Luna’s small town.
“The potions themselves are what really balance that out,” Gittins said. “There are some monsters that you can’t really attack, and if you do they’ll kick your butt, but in general it’s the limitations of the potions that discourage players from just recklessly slaughtering everything.
“I wanted this to not be a game where you’re an all-powerful character slaughtering waves of enemies. You’re a young girl and you’re venturing out into the world and you’re strong, but you’re not going to slay a dragon. You’re going to knock a scale off the dragon’s tail and take that and design your potion, instead of just trying to kill everything.”
The world of the game draws inspiration from fairy tales from around the world. “There’s fruit from Islamic legend and the demo deals with Miss Muffet, so it has that cultural exchange,” Gittins said. “The main antagonist is Prince Charming.” The game has an illustrated art style that is intentionally designed to blend with the game’s storybook influences.
While she works on the game, Gittins has been recording a video blog series called “Making Potions: A Tale of Game Development” that describes the game development process. You can watch every episode on the game’s official website.
Potions: A Curious Tale is set to come out some time in 2016.