Reviews - Updated on April 8, 2022

We know about Russian quests, RPGs and strategies. But, you see, you haven’t heard much about Russian-style platformers (I, anyway). But they are, and some of them are quite good. Like, for example, fresh Potata, created by only two Russian developers.

Looking for tasty treats…

One of them is Anna Lepeshkina, a freelance artist, art director, game designer, screenwriter and animator, who even hosted streams where she showed live how she works on the game. Not surprisingly, it is with the art style and animation in Potata that everything is in perfect order. The game is really very colorful, looks bright and creates the feeling of a real fairy-tale adventure, which is successfully emphasized by pleasant music.

With the script and dialogues, of course, everything is worse. The plot of the story of the young sorceress Potata just wants to be called, if not primitive, then some kind of childish, or something. Potata collects berries for a pie mom will bake and ingredients for a potion to cure her fox pet. In the process, she travels through forests and swamps, and all the way she is asked to find and bring something. Most often it looks something like this: “Oh, fungus, why don’t you let me go further again?” “Because you have to bring me another sweet treat for the witch first or she will be upset. She did not like the previous yummy, and I already ate it, I’m sorry. But instead, take this lever, it will surely come in handy for you!”

Nevertheless, in all this there is a feeling of a light, slightly naive, but still interesting fairy tale. Potata meets witches and fairies (some of them turn out to be very aggressive and secretive), searches for petals for a magical flower that can protect her village from monsters, and eventually releases her witchcraft potential and becomes the keeper of the forest. And in the end there is a choice of how this story will end.

Potata game review

And the fairies here are nervous …

… And coins

But the gameplay just can not be called primitive. On the one hand, there are all the familiar platform exercises – we jump a lot, overcome traps, press levers and collect keys, drag stones to jump higher from them. Later, it becomes possible to throw bombs to destroy obstacles. The further, the more difficult. In some places, almost hardcore begins – well, at least the control here, even on the keyboard, is very convenient.

Also, of course, we collect a local analogue of coins. Moreover, there are many places where they are hidden (sometimes very cunningly and imperceptibly) – both above and below, and in chests from which you first need to find the key, and in special crystals, and the devil knows where else. Therefore, almost most of the time we just jump and explore everything around in search of coins, and do not perform plot tasks. The currency is needed both for saving at special altars, and in order to appease the next character who does not let us go further, and for trading – you can buy the same berries for the pie or a heart that increases Potata’s life pool.

Jump, think, win!

In addition, there are puzzles in Potata, and it’s not just about situations where we need to guess how to get to the right place – put a stone on a mobile platform and then launch it or, for example, find a wooden board to throw it over an abyss. There are also more complex puzzles: some resemble Tetris, others are arranged according to the principle of the Plumbing game, and others offer to activate the indicated points in the correct sequence. There are also exercises with multi-colored levers, which we must press again in the right order so that something opens there. The arsenal of such puzzles is not particularly rich and does not differ in sophistication, but you can’t call them unpretentious either.

Potata game review

So how to jump here so as not to hurt anything?

And then there are the battles. At some point, Potata is given a sword – they can not only destroy boxes and some obstacles, but also kill enemies. Moreover, it is necessary to go to their rear – the reptiles are invulnerable in front, and even cause damage themselves.

But in battles with bosses, the sword is used infrequently. Most of the time, you need to competently avoid traps that pop up from the ground, fall from above and fly out from the side, maneuver between them and only at the right time beat the enemy. Some fights do not involve beating anyone at all – you have to hold out and not die. From the first time it is difficult to pass – you have to memorize the entire sequence of the appearance of traps and obstacles.

In platform games, such bosses are not uncommon.

***

After the release of Potata, Anna Lepeshkina wrote a post-mortem, where she spoke about the development progress and the main difficulties that the authors faced. According to her, catching bugs became almost the main problem. I did not notice any special technical problems in the final version. And in general, the game leaves a good impression – personally, I would like to see a sequel to Potata’s adventures. It feels, of course, that this is an indie from a small team, but the game is really addictive – both with a fabulous atmosphere and a variety of gameplay, exactly balancing between casual and hardcore.

Pros: the atmosphere of a fairy tale and adventure; a fairly diverse gameplay, where there is a place for platforming, puzzles, and battles; well-balanced balance between casual and hardcore; the game looks and sounds great.

Cons: the script and dialogues are primitive; a small arsenal of puzzles that are basically repeated throughout the game; short duration.

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