Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Potionomics

Go To

Potionomics is a Simulation Game Visual Novel with some Deckbuilding Game elements, released on October 17th, 2022, developed by Voracious Games and published by XSEED Games. After the death of her uncle, an up-and-coming witch named Sylvia inherits his potion shop in the port town of Rafta, which has become run down and destitute, and all of his remaining debts accumulated during his life. With the help of her partner Owl and the many merchants around the city, it's up to Sylvia to brew the best potions she can, pay off her debts, beat her rivals in the upcoming potion competitions, and haggle her way to riches, lest her store be foreclosed on.

During each day, Sylvia is given the choice to open her store, where she sells her accumulated potions and enters into a turn-based card game with each customer as she attempts to haggle up their interest in her product, or to travel, where she can spend time with the numerous merchants around town, be it to shop or to give gifts. Boosting Sylvia's closeness enough with a character will give her a new card she can use during the store phase, with all merchants having a different deck to offer.

The game's official blog, which lists character profiles and some behind-the-scenes development trivia, is located here. In April 2024, a Masterwork Edition was announced. It will be released on consoles in Fall 2024, and will include voice acting, difficulty levels, additional language support, and an Endless Mode. The PC version will receive these features when Masterwork Edition releases.


  • The Battle Didn't Count: Once you have defeated the Final Boss in the potion tournament finals, circumstances (namely, Robin's lizard Mae revealing herself as Maven the Witch-Queen and using a mind-control gem to make the audience forget the past few minutes) will force you to repeat the round you just won.
  • Boats into Buildings: As described by Mint, the barracks at the Heroes Guild are built out of the ship used by the adventuring party that took down Maven the Witch Queen.
  • Book Ends: The game begins with a letter to Sylvia and a Controllable Helplessness segment with Helene. The game ends with a Post-Climax Confrontation against Helene and Sylvia sending a letter to her parents.
  • Camera Obscurer:
    • A postcard depicting Oswald in the game's opening moments has the majority of his face blocked by numerous stamps.
    • The final scene of the game is Sylvia sending a letter home to her parents along with a picture of her standing next to a very-much-alive and back-to-normal Uncle Oswald, but her head is blocking the photo's other subject.
  • Chest Monster:
    • The trunk that Quinn stores their wares in is actually one of these that they've tamed and named Boxer, as shown when Sylvia asks to buy something and it opens up on its own with teeth at the edges of its insides.
    • Helene, the debt collector that Sylvia has to deal with, also has a tamed one in the form of the briefcase she carries.
    • Sylvia ends up adopting one herself, courtesy of Quinn asking her to shelter it. "Vendi" takes the form of a vending machine and can be used to sell excess potions at default price.
  • Controllable Helplessness: When Sylvia first inherits the potion shop and her uncle's debt, the debt collector Helene tells her the terms of their contract, and offers to be Sylvia's first customer. However, having no sales experience, all she can do is blunder and get stressed out before Helene leaves.
  • Crazy Homeless People: The nonbinary witch Quinn is introduced after your first day of sales, having claimed the abandoned potion shop as their home due to "squatter's rights" and, though they allow Sylvia to refurbish the place, tells her not to mess with the mildew in the corner that they've claimed for themself. Later, their "storefront" is up a tree near the potion shop, and one of their first bonding events is asking Sylvia to give them a free chocolate sample from four different candy stores they've been banned from.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Very much averted in the form of Sylvia's Stress gauge. It maxes out at 100%, but every point it goes up gives you an X% chance of drawing a Stress card with every card you draw, out of several cards drawn per hand. These cards are useless and inflict debuffs or more Stress on you unless you can get rid of them. Even as little as 10% Stress gives you a fair chance of drawing Stress Cards each turn, paving the way to an out-of-control spiral that will ruin your profits and Sylvia's mood. By the time you hit 33% you should seriously consider cutting your losses and closing up shop for the day just to zero it out.
  • Dating Sim: While raising Relationship Values is primarily used to gain new cards for haggling, it's also possible to enter a relationship with certain characters by saying the right things while hanging out together, including Quinn, Muktuk, Saffron, Luna, Mint, Baptiste, and Xid.
  • Dead Man Writing: In the introduction, one of the postcards Sylvia receives from her Uncle Oswald notifies her that he's dying, with the postcard itself being an "In Memoriam" picture of him with his face blocked by stamps. It later turns out that he was only faking his death.
  • Deck Clogger: The stress system where the player, based on their current stress level, has a chance of drawing stress cards. Stress cards are purely detrimental and can't be played.
  • Do You Want to Haggle?: The deckbuilding gameplay comes in the form of haggling with customers, with your goal being to raise their interest in the product to maximize profit while making sure not to exhaust their patience, causing them to simply leave without purchases. Sylvia can also learn various other haggling tactics through interacting with other characters.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: It's up to you and Sylvia to get enough money to pay off her debts and turn her run-down store into a proper potion market.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Muktuk can upgrade the very same crafting and sales equipment he sells you, for a fee and the required materials. Shelves increase their potion capacity whilst Cauldron upgrades vary. Of the three cauldrons in a tier, one will have a higher magimin limit, another will have a higher ingredient cap, and the final one will start off worse than either but outclass both once upgraded.
  • Expy: "Combustopher", the Magic Fire that lives beneath Sylvia's cauldrons and helps to brew her potions, bears a striking similarity to Calcifer of Howl's Moving Castle. Feeding him various types of fuel (including straw, wood, and bundles of pale yeti fur) turns up the heat and decreases the brewing time for potions.
  • Foil: Saffron and Luna's cards are both based on the stress system, with Saffron being geared towards stress management and Luna being for embracing it. In addition, Saffron is a much more worldly, down-to-earth character attached to the wilds and living on her own, while Luna is a phoneaholic, peppy influencer who enjoys the hustle and bustle of the city (like a moth attracted to bright lights).
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • In the competitions with rival potion sellers every ten days, if Sylvia submits a potion at a greater tier than her opponent's (for example, a Great potion against a Common potion), she'll automatically win the round without having to use her haggling skills on the judge.
    • During Haggling sessions, completely filling a customer's Interest meter will immediately close the sale without further trouble, even if you were about to run out of Patience.
  • Item Crafting: In order to make new stock for your potion store, you have to obtain ingredients and then combine them in a cauldron. Each material has different types of essence that can result in different potions when combined (like for Health or Mana), and by balancing them, your potions will be of higher quality. Materials can also be used by Muktuk and Saffron in order to improve your store.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: By raising your Relationship Values with other shopkeepers, they can teach Sylvia unique skills that can be used when Haggling with customers such as "Enthusiasm" and "Plant the Seed".
  • Magically-Binding Contract: Helene creates a literally soul-binding contract with Sylvia when the latter inherits Oswald's shop, in order to make sure that Oswald's debt is repaid.
  • Magic Fire: Sylvia's cauldrons are actually powered by a magical fire spirit named Combustopher.
  • Magic Potion: Essentially what Sylvia brews. Other than the usual health and mana-restoring potions, she also creates antidotes, elemental-resistant potions, speed, and awareness potions.
  • Patchwork Map: The island of Rafta is not likely more than 15 miles from coast to coast, but it features deserts, forests, volcanoes, and more, all within walking distance of town. This is justified by the fact that the entire island was basically a playground for the witch who made it that way in the first place.
  • Poison Mushroom: Stress cards, which can replace the cards you'd normally draw during haggling. That'd be bad enough even if they did nothing, but they can't be played, and any Stress cards still in your hand at the end of the turn will penalize you with debuffs or even more stress. You have an X% chance of drawing these cards per point of Stress Sylvia has, for each card drawn, but some customer attacks can also force you to draw them regardless of Stress.
  • Relationship Values: Sylvia can increase her relationships with other shopkeepers by saying the right things when speaking with them, spending time with them or by giving them gifts when visiting their stores. This unlocks various bonuses such as new Haggling cards as well as coupons for discounts when using their services.
  • The Rival: Four of them:
    • Roxanne is a haughty Ojou-type who prioritizes the flashiness of her potions over any real substance.
    • Corsac is an adventurer who thrives in the wild, but possesses a genuine affinity for potions that puts him at odds with Sylvia.
    • Boss Finn is an underhanded cheater who dives to any depths to get ahead in the competition.
    • Anubia is a visiting princess who sees Rafta as just another place to expand her business, prioritizing convenience over any form of ethics.
  • Schizo Tech: Despite mostly looking like a Standard Fantasy Setting, Luna is a social media influencer carrying a smartphone and lives in a house filled with monitors while Xid carries an electric guitar.
  • Severely Specialized Store: Sylvia runs a shop where she sells only potions, and nothing else.
  • Skippable Boss: Each of the 10-day competitions require you to put up potions of a specific type and tier against the rival's potions, and then use your Haggling skills to talk up your potion price until it eclipses theirs. On the other hand, if you've mastered the crafting system to the point of producing potions an entire tier above theirs, the judge will skip the haggling and immediately award you the point.
    • This can even happen against the Final Boss if you use a potion with enough stars, positive traits, and aging bonus. This includes the round that the Big Bad resets, so she witnesses you instantly win without haggling, then forces you to make another attempt in which you can submit the exact same potion again and instantly win without haggling, and is surprised.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Mint the rookie adventurer first appears in the demo, she greets Sylvia with "Hello, Potion Seller. I am going on an adventure, and I want your strongest potions." Later versions of the game have Owl giving advice to players on the Loading Screen, with one snippet advising "Brew only your strongest potions, potion seller!"
    • Two of Corsac's cards reference memes. Word of God says his "Fury of the Squirrel" card is based on the Karate Kyle advise animal, while the "Adapt" card apes Bear Grylls' pose in another popular image macro.
    • Two "event" cards make reference to the "Dragonfyre Festival", an exclusive island getaway publicized by an influential heiress that turns out to be a total debacle — this parodies the Fyre Festival fraud of 2017.
    • The developer's blog explains that Salt & Pepper’s narwhal-shaped ship was inspired by the Whitebeard Pirates' whale-figurehead bedecked ship in One Piece.
    • A randomly selected Daily Event card describes the exploits of "Action-archeologist Fedora Jones", a reference to Indiana Jones.
  • Situational Sword: Saffron's "Casual Conversation" card raises interest based on the customer's remaining patience level. In regular haggling, patience varies quite a bit between customers which reduces the card's usefulness. However, this card becomes vital for the tournament rounds because unlike regular haggling, the potion judge Robin always starts out with a very high patience level. If you play this card early enough in the negotiations you're all but guaranteed to increase your potions price high enough to win without your opponent even getting a word in.
  • Spotting the Thread: In the Post-Climax Confrontation, Helene states that she figured out Owl's true identity after catching him filling out some registration paperwork on behalf of Sylvia and praising her accomplishments like a proud relative.
  • Tempting Fate: In the game's introduction, Oswald sends a postcard to his family stating that he's about to open his potion shop and rhetorically asking "what could go wrong", which is immediately followed by a postcard he wrote in case of premature death and a letter from the executor of his will stating that Sylvia needs to come and claim the shop.
  • Title Drop: Sylvia uses the term "Potionomics" when first meeting Owl, to express how she needs to sell potions to profit in this economy.
  • Tournament Arc: The boss fights of the game takes the form of a potion-brewing tournament where you need to prepare three potions of sufficiently high quality. Your goal is to ensure that the judge ranks two of your potions higher than your rival, either through simply preparing a better potion than your opponent or using your haggling skills to talk up the quality of your potion.
  • Very False Advertising: In the first scene of the game, Sylvia learns that she inherited her uncle's shop via a letter from the executor of his will, who writes that the shop should be quite valuable due to its location. She then puts the letter down to show that the shop is in shambles and covered in cobwebs.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Roxanne is the point where the game takes the gloves off and starts hitting you hard. If you haven't gotten proficient enough at managing each of the game's basic mechanics and built a good deck (requiring good enough relations with the various other vendors), it's unlikely you'll get past her. Your reward for defeating her is your recipe book nearly doubling in size and gaining access to a lot of new ingredient types that you'll need to make the most of in order to prepare for the next rival.
  • What You Are in the Dark: At the beginning of the final week, Robin reveals that they will be the final opponent of the tournament competition and offers Sylvia the prize money she needs to pay off her debt if she forfeits allowing Robin to claim the Mavenbloom ingredient for himself. But because that ingredient is needed to cure Oswald of his Forced Transformation, Sylvia refuses the proposal. Bear in mind that Oswald is not present in the shop during this conversation (at first, anyway).
  • Written by the Winners: During one bonding event with Saffron, she admits that the expedition by the initial Heroes Guild to take down Maven wasn't motivated by actual heroism; Maven just refused to barter her magimin-infused resources with the mainland, so the people funding the guild spread propaganda that she was evil and forced an expedition of greenhorn heroes (including Saffron) to invade Rafta in order to take the resources forcefully and make a profit.