Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?!, by Daylight Studios, is a management simulator about becoming a legendary blacksmith in a world where everyone is a potato. This game is fun, cute and filled with great callbacks that can range from famous television shows to widely popular video game characters. Build several unique and stellar weapons that potato heroes can use to level up and make a profit. Manage a wide variety of characters who each have their own unique and recruit vaguely familiar but powerful smiths. Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! starts of strong but loses steam as every world is more of the same but with a satisfying gameplay loop.
Where Art Thou Potato?
The game starts off innocently enough. The player assumes the role of a great blacksmith’s grandson who is determined to become one in his own right. A shifty spud known as Agent 46 gives you a shop and a couple of smiths, and off you go to building weapons for adventuring heroes. By building several great and powerful weapons, you can earn enough money and fame to increase the size of your shop. By completing the current objective, the player can advance to the next area and increase their pool of customers by researching new weapons to maximize fame and profits.
The key to playing Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! is all about how well you can manage your smiths and get into a good rhythm of balancing researching, gathering and forging. The best-optimized path requires that all your smiths keep busy and maximize productivity by selling weapons to heroes in the hub world. Each smith needs to keep busy. But they can also become stressed, which then requires you to send them on a small vacation to increase their happiness and get a passive buff. You forge, you sell, you hire more smiths, and you grow your weapon shop. This game does a fine job at creating a wonderful sense of progression but ultimately it is marred by repetition and redundancy.
The deeper you get into Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! you start to realize how hollow the experience is. It becomes a game of repetition as you unlock various similar looking worlds, just with a new coat of paint. The game does come with a funny story that incorporates jokes from other famous works like Breaking Bad, comic books or other video games to break the mundane routine. While it is greatly appreciated that they went for this design decision, it can be hit or miss depending on your sense of humor. Often times I found myself annoyed to stop all production just to listen to Agent 46 ask for his money without an option to skip the dialogue. Even though the story is humorous at times, it still feels like an afterthought and taking it out would not hinder or hide the problems this game has.
Hey Folks, It’s Spud McKenzie!
The game is beautiful with vibrant colors and great potato tributes to well-known characters. It certainly has a great aesthetic that is charming and reminiscent of other games like Scribblenauts. However, Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! controls aren’t ideal on consoles. The game feels like it was designed for a mobile phone. The Hub world, menu selections tabs, and Smith selection would be easier for a tablet or phone to tap. On the PS4 it’s a different matter, as it is difficult to navigate certain menus with the d-pad or left analog stick. While Forge is always tied to the triangle button, everything else needs to be scrolled to or selected. Several times I find myself frustrated as I try to go to the Hub world only to accidentally choose Forge for the 15th time. An update can fix all the controls issues that Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! but it’s not detrimental to managing a successful weapon shop.
The game transitions from world to world, changing the backdrop and scenery depending on how far your blacksmithing shop can go. You’ll meet various heroes that require specific weapons to level up and in return, you gain fame and $tarch (their currency). Upgrade your shop, keep smiths happy, pay your fees to your partner and repeat the process. You can speed up this gameplay loop by selecting 3 different speed modes. Play at whatever pace you want but normal speed is painfully slow; you can also pause all production. Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! is fun and great in small bursts and for fans who love management sims. However, after playing for long periods of time the gameplay becomes stale, with little incentive to change things up other than researching weapons and developing your smiths.
One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Forge!
Each worker can specialize in a certain class to provide stat points to any weapon currently being built in the forge. There are 5 main stats that each weapon can attain: Attack, Speed, Accuracy, Magic. Weapons can range from your typical daggers, wands, and swords each with different growth in certain stats. Axes are mostly big on Attack while other weapons like Wands have huge growth in Magic. Finding a good combination of smiths and assigning them to a station is key to imbuing a certain weapon with better stats.
Each smith can take on different classes like Metal Worker or Designer. Smiths each have a selection of 4 basic classes that they can level up. Leveling up certain classes allows smiths to gain access to stronger classes that provide more benefits to forging weapons. Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! having a class system is a novel idea and gives the player more options on how to personalize their characters. It is a great concept but in actuality, it just makes all your smiths ubiquitous to one another. Some sort of talent tree or skill system would have helped make each smith class stand.
You can also hire new smiths with advanced classes already unlocked but that comes at a high price and a higher monthly wage. Hiring new potato characters can be fun as they are based on pop culture or video game characters. Smiths don’t have any other discernable features other than how they appear or whomever they are based on. Having different smith classes and the ability to hire unique smiths is a great idea that hopefully, the sequel could expand on with deeper customization.
I Like My Potatoes Fried…
Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! for all its flaws does create a satisfying loop of managing a blacksmith’s weapon shop. The concept of creating weapons for other heroes is a nice touch and including several spoofs of well-known characters adds to the charm this game exudes. Alas, the repetitive nature and the mundane class system makes this game a slog to get through at times. Hopefully, the controls can be tuned to better suit their platform while also making it easier to navigate the various menus. I can’t help but wonder how much easier this game would have been on a phone considering how often menu mistakes happen. The story and the humor is a nice touch to keep the player moving forward in their progression. Humor can be subjective and several jokes or references heavily lean on the player having an extensive knowledge of either pop culture or other video games. Holy Potatoes A Weapon Shop?! is a solid management game even though I wouldn’t recommend long play sessions.
- THE GOOD
- Potato Version of Well Known Characters
- Bright and Fun
- Satisfying Gameplay Loop
- THE BAD
- Class System isn’t Deep
- The Humor Can Be Hit or Miss
Holy Potatoes, A Weapon Shop?! is a solid management game that incorporates great ideas in potato pun-filled package. The lack of deeper character customization and repetitive objectives keeps this game from being amazing but there is a ton of heart and it shows.