Save The Seasons With Potpourrii
Posted by Damien McFerran
When you hear the word 'Potpourrii' you may picture that bowl of perfumed wood shavings your mum has in her bathroom, but for WiiWare gamers the word is about to be given an entirely different meaning thanks to Dutch developer Abstraction Games.
Production on the company’s debut WiiWare title is now drawing to a close and MD Ralph Egas has kindly granted us a sneaky peak at this intriguing title. Promising to be a game that borrows elements from retro classics but has its own inimitable appeal, Potpourrii sees you bringing peace and harmony to your forest homeland by defeating an evil wizard. Looking at the screenshots, it appears to be some kind of puzzle title.
The 2D visuals are certainly very easy on the eye and the game has a unique art style that seems jolly enough. The game uses the Wiimote exclusively and actually only requires the use of one button to play. Egas assures us that although it’s easy for anyone to pick up and get to grips with, there are hidden depths that only become apparent after prolonged sessions.
This has pretty much come out of nowhere and to be honest we’re quite looking forward to it now. Pricing is expected to be around 800 Wii points, but this isn’t 100% confirmed as yet.
Check out our Potpourrii game page for screenshots and other information.
Update: Here’s some more info about the game mechanics:
In Potpourrii™ you’ll be helping out the leprechauns by taking control of a spirit cannon. The Potpourrii™ is actually a mixture of spirit elementals floating in a pool of water within a tree stump. There are four elemental flavors and each one corresponds to a season. There are four sides of the screen corresponding to seasons just like the spirits and for each side there is one leprechaun handling season bound spirits. The gameplay basically involves a wizard conjuring spirits at random. The spirits are then spawned near the corresponding leprechauns. Using the A button you’ll signal the closest leprechaun to throw the spirit he is holding towards the cannon. You then turn the cannon around the Potpourrii™ towards a position of choice and by pressing the A button again while holding a spirit it will be released. By holding the A button instead of tapping you’ll be able to aim the crosshair while holding the cannon in place. This way you’ll be able to reach certain parts of the Potpourrii™ otherwise uncovered. Mind that the Potpourrii™ is rotating all the while and gaining velocity as you are making progress.
Progress is actually made by popping spirits on the Potpourrii™ and releasing them towards a hole in the big magical oak which will ultimately provide life essences in order to cure the tree. When you reach a certain par count you’ll be taken into the next current season and after 4 seasons a year will have passed and the tree will get a little more healthy. After 4 years the tree will be fully cured and the wizard will leave the scene to come back later and the whole cycle starts again, but of course this time the spawnrate as well as the rotation speed will both be much larger as those values will increase every year.
While shooting spirits towards the Potpourrii™ two things can happen. If the projectile spirit has no relationship with the spirit it hits on the Potpourrii™ it will just stick. On the other hand if the spirit you shoot is the seasonal successor to the spirit it collides with the colliding spirit on the Potpourrii™ will pop, together with all identical spirits directly linked. Making larger chains gets you higher scores and quicker progression as the accumulated score follows a 1 + 2 + 3 + .. pattern, instead of individually 1 + 1 + 1 + .. So the pop mechanic follows a rock-paper-scissors pattern basically, which maps intuitively to seasonal time cycles.
After 4 years, after a first run of the whole game cycle is successfully completed, you’ll earn a bomb. A bomb can be released by shaking the WiiMote for a little while and it will clear the whole Potpourrii™ without giving you points. This mechanic offers a last resort when the Potpourrii™ starts to hit the outer boundary of the tree stump. If the Potpourrii™ is stuck for too long you’ll loose a leprechaun on duty as Leprechauns tend to get depressed if unable to do the job. In the end it’s the leprechaun at the bottom of the oak who’s operating the cannon position and you are merely guiding the leprechaun using the pointer leaving ink rings in the water. When the Potpourrii™ explodes as a result of too much tension from holding still, the worker leprechaun will get depressed and leaves the scene. The next leprechaun in line will take his place until there’s no leprechaun left. You start out with 3 leprechauns, or lives and throughout the years or certain scores you’ll gain extra lives.