Our favorite martial-arts-trained fruitmasters are at it again! Yes, the folks down at Ninja Kiwi have unveiled their newest offering: Potion Panic. The objective is to protect yourself from a 30-round onslaught of enemies. Your chief weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope...
Wait a tic, that's the wrong sketch. Your real chief weapons are flasks of potions that you lob at your enemies. You can control the potency of the weapon and the type of damage inflicted by altering the composition of your potion flask. Simply adjust the chains in the top left corner. Each color is adjustable from 0 to 100, and corresponds to the amount of that color you will use whenever you launch a flask. To launch, just aim with the mouse and hold down the button for power. Click again while the potion is still in the air to explode the flask (it will automatically explode when it hits something). Once an enemy is killed, you gain points and money, which you can use to replenish your potions or to purchase upgrades.
By changing your recipes, you can adjust the type of weapon your potion turns into. There are four types of weapons you can concoct:
- Explosive shrapnel: Explodes on impact, sending shards of shrapnel flying in all directions. Can be upgraded by purchasing Destructive Detonations. Is formed when blue dominates your potion, for example 10 Blue, 5 Yellow and 5 Red.
- Noxious fumes: Forms a cloud of gas on impact, causing damage to any enemy it touches. Can be upgraded by purchasing Vile Vapors. Occurs when Blue is in very low amounts, for example 3 Blue, 10 Yellow and 10 Red.
- Acid goop: Makes a small explosion on impact, forming blobs of goop that stick to opponents and damage them. Cannot be upgraded as far as I can tell. Occurs when Blue is in medium amounts, for example Blue 5, Yellow 8, Red 8.
- Flames of burning: Make fire. Fire burn. Burn hurt. A very damaging weapon that makes a good barricade against the advancing monsters. Can be upgraded by purchasing Furious Fire. Occurs when all colors are about equal, for example Blue 8, Yellow 8, Red 8.
Within each weapon type, there is a range of destructiveness. The game implies that certain monsters are resistant to certain colors, but the game goes by quickly enough that it's difficult to say for sure. The more important parameter is the potion potency, which increases when you up your ingredients.
Analysis: At first I didn't think a whole lot of this game. That's because the game instructions don't reveal what changing your potion ingredients can do, and the potion that you start out with is quite sufficient to deal with the enemies in the first 6 rounds or so. However, once I started playing around with the color ratios, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the range of weapons you really could create.
Thus, my advice for playing is to use the first few rounds and experiment with the weapon types. Find out which you like the best, and which are most effective against the different types of enemies. Remember to keep the potion ratios low to start out! You don't want to waste your money by making potions more powerful than they need to be. Once you have a ratio that you like, you can save it, which is really more like a bookmark. Click Load Potion to access your most recently saved recipe. Gradually, you'll need to increase your potency, as enemies become more resistant to your attacks.
One significant drawback to Potion Panic is the reload timer—I just don't see why it is necessary. After all, it's not like your inventory is unlimited. If someone wants to waste their potion by firing 10 shots at one little skeleton, I say let them go ahead. It's really frustrating to overshoot a monster or hit the wall and then have to wait for 3 or 4 seconds to try again.
Also, although I am normally not a fan of mouse + keyboard controls, I think this game is in a unique position to benefit from an optional keyboard control of the potion ratios. For instance, using Q&A, W&S, and E&D to increase or decrease the relative amounts of each component would be much faster I think than to get the mouse onto the little chains and adjust it that way. Nonetheless, you can hardly count lack of keyboard control as a game flaw.
One particularly delightful element is the fact that each flask's color is a combination of the blue, yellow, and red potions that went into it. Although it's the gameplay that brings me back again and again, it's the attention to details like this that separate superior games from the mediocre.