(WiiWare)

Potpourrii (WiiWare)

Game Review

Potpourrii Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Paul Schreiner

A puzzler for all seasons?

While many of our readers bemoan the reality of the increasing abundance of puzzlers on WiiWare, we at WiiWare World welcome any games that try something new and original like Potpourrii does. That said, even original and innovative games have to offer decent gameplay. So where does this latest puzzler stand?

As with most puzzlers that sport a story, Potpourri's plot is fairly light; it only serves to provide the game with a backdrop and a rather charming visual design. An evil wizard has arisen to curse the magical forest in order to bring chaos to the seasons. It is your job to return order to the realm by sending the spirits to the ailing woods via the magical Potpourrii - a swirling bowl of soup in which you have to collect the seasonal spirits.

This can be achieved by clearing clusters of spirits in said pot. Unlike games such as Puzzle Bobble, this one has no set amount for how big these clusters have to be - they can be as little as one or as big as thirty -- and they can only be cleared by a succeeding seasonal spirit. There are four spirits in all: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Spring clears winter, summer clears spring, etc.

You can clear your pot with the help of your trusty spirit cannon, which is controlled via the IR reticule of your Wii Remote. There are four spawn points (one for each spirit) from which you'll have to pick up a spirit, after which you can determine which angle is best fitting from the circular railway your cannon traverses. You can fire the spirit in a straight line by simple pressing the A button, or you may choose to determine your own angle by holding the A button and aiming your cursor to the desired position. Don't dally too long though, as eventually more spirits will be spawned and if the same type is generated the first will automatically be thrown into the soup. Your score will greatly increase the bigger the spirit clusters are. Normally each spirit will be scored in multiples of 100, but if you're quick enough to fire after pickup you can score in multiples of 150. Every 250,000 points will gain you a life, but you can never have more than three at any one time.

Should you fill up the pot with too many spirits the flow will stop and you'll have a brief amount of time (you'll be given a five-second timer shortly thereafter) to clear a cluster or two to pull yourself out of danger. Should you not be able to do so you will lose one of your three lives, as represented by the three gnomes sitting by the tree. Lose the last one and its game over. Luckily, there are pot-clearing bombs you can earn after each boss battle, which can come in quite handy in later stages.

Clear a pre-determined number of spirits and you'll move on to the next season. The game is separated into sets of twelve stages: three years with four seasons each. As you progress through the seasons the number of spirits to be cleared increases as well as the flow of the Potpourrii and the spirit-spawn frequency. With each year the forest, as represented by the tree, will partially heal until its return to perfect health in the third year. At that point you will face the evil wizard himself who has the annoying habit of reversing the flow of the Potpourrii frequently as well as creating a much greater spawn rate for the spirits. Beat this wicked man and the cycle shall repeat itself, albeit becoming increasingly more difficult.

If you think this sounds like a decent setup for a puzzle game, you might be greatly disappointed when you actually get around to playing it. For all its good points the game gets severely dragged down by its extremely sluggish gameplay. While we obviously can’t speak for everyone, we don't suppose many people will be itching to play the same old boring forty minutes of warm-up just to get to the challenging part of the game. One-hour-plus matches do tend to be a bit counterintuitive as far as puzzlers are concerned. It sort of ruins the whole ‘quick-play’ appeal, which is what all classic puzzle titles need to have. There's no challenge at all in the first twenty-four stages, making it more of a chore than anything else. Sure, you can force-spawn a spirit with the B button, but it still doesn't make the game flow anywhere near fast enough. In addition, the transitions in between stages (presumably loading times for the next season's graphical effects) seem to carry on longer than necessary, further adding to the boredom.

Interestingly, after the game was launched the developer told us of a way to begin the game in the more challenging year 10. To access this just press down the D-pad at the same time as pressing the start button. This bypass isn't documented anywhere (at present), so most people won’t even know it exists. This really should have been provided as a visible option from the very beginning as the game certainly benefits from being more intense.

To make matters worse, using the Wii Remote is sloppy and ultimately frustrating. You’ll find that it’s quite a struggle to aim properly during the game and the on-screen cursor can be unpredictable at times. The game is also badly in need of some kind of tutorial mode, because it’s actually quite a complex and confusing setup for newcomers and the initial difficulty is likely to alienate many gamers. To cap things off, having only that one game mode aside from the somewhat laughable two-player mode (same game, just two cannons instead of one now) and no options of any kind severely hurts Potpourrii’s long-term appeal.

Conclusion

Potpourrii certainly had a lot of promise. The crisp visuals, captivating art style and cutesy music are undoubtedly great and set the tone nicely; it is just a shame that it's all for naught. The game trundles along at far too slow a pace and lacks any real sense of challenge. Puzzle titles need a ‘killer hook’ in order to stand out from the crowd and as much as it pains us to say this, Potpourrii is sadly lacking in this regard.

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User Comments (37)

Ricardo91

#1

Ricardo91 said:

I knew that this was going to get a 5. The whole "rock, paper, scissors"-style match-up system sounds interesting, and I do like the art style and the mellow music, but it just didn't look that fun.

Great review as always, Pegasus! :)

ElectricSplash

#3

ElectricSplash said:

I was a little interested in this, but when i saw it was a game that deserves a five... I thought it would have a six.

megacody

#4

megacody said:

I could have guessed it wouldn't do good, even though I'm not a big puzzle game fan, I much prefer platformers. Keep on trucking Abstraction Games.

slambert215

#5

slambert215 said:

Hmm, I thought it was going to get a 7 or 8. At least its not as bad as Plattchen (sorry Bplus...)

CanisWolfred

#6

CanisWolfred said:

Hmmm...still too much like Bust-a-Move, only now it's more boring and frustrating. Pass! Good review though, especially since I couldn't quite figure exactly how the gameplay worked from watching the video.

Terra

#7

Terra said:

I saw IGN gave it a 5 and i instantly thought WiiWare World would give it the same. Turned out to be true. Oh well, two puzzle games in succession that try to be different and fail. What a shame

KnucklesSonic8

#9

KnucklesSonic8 said:

I suspected as much. This coming Monday is looking great. ks8 predicts Bomberman Blast and REALLY hopes for Plattchen

Mario64DStyle

#10

Mario64DStyle said:

"ks8 predicts Bomberman Blast and REALLY hopes for Plattchen"

Hopping for Bomberman.. no so much for Plattchen
I would rather get Bomberman + the Three shapes arcade..

That would be a good week =P

riggah19

#15

riggah19 said:

What is wrong with someone still wanting Plattchen? Just because ONE person said it was poor no one should be interested? Reviews are overrated for the most part. They should be their for a "guide line" but if you really are interested in a game or really like a game then you should buy it regardless of the review.

MarkyVigoroth

#16

MarkyVigoroth said:

Blitznak... at least it got a 5 instead of Plätchen's 3...
I just hope that MadStone would be better...

(Now I am doing this... I am not really complaining, though!)
I predict that MadStone will get a 7, since Plätchen got 3, Potpourii got 5, so...

PHANTOM93

#17

PHANTOM93 said:

@ KnucklesSonic8

I'd prefer if we just got MM9 and two virtual console games next week. Plättchen is a tad expensive for something I might regret purchasing and I wouldn't have anyone online to play Bomberman Blast with
(well, nobody online besides you of course =P)

@review

I always thought this game would score a six, oh well five's close enough :-)

CanisWolfred

#18

CanisWolfred said:

@riggah19

Well, there's nothing wrong with someone still wanting Plattchen, and perhaps the hate is a little unnecessary, but this always seems to happen whenever a well-hyped game ends up falling short, no matter what site you're on. People tend to trust the opinions of the reviewers here, and to be fair, it does seem a little too complicated for the average person.

@MarkyVigoroth

Yeah, I hope Mad Stone turns out better too, but from what I've seen, I'll probably get it even if it does get a bad score.

AlexSays

#19

AlexSays said:

Just because ONE person said it was poor no one should be interested?

The majority of Europeans have disliked the game.
Everyone just needs to accept the flop, and move on.
That's what people get for hyping games we know absolutely NOTHING about until it's released.

Supermarioman

#20

Supermarioman said:

It is cruel and criminal to give Plattchen a 3 and this a 5, PLAIN OUT OUTRAGEOUS!! Oh well I'll never buy this game, except in the case that Pong Toss falls off of the top 20, then I will buy all the crap games and then I will shoot myself in the foot.....I will still buy Plattchen even with the negative reviews....

P.S. I'm only 11 and Proud to be an American and Posting!!!

WarioFan63

#22

WarioFan63 said:

Everyone just needs to accept the flop, and move on.

If I accepted "flops" I wouldnt have bought and enjoyed games like Geist or Soul Calibur Legends or Grabbed by the Ghoulies or Shadow the Hedgehog or pretty much every other Sonic game that everyone likes to hate.

danik

#23

danik said:

wasnt planning on even a look at this game really and this hasnt changed that, ill say it again too many puzzle games lol

CorbsAdmin

#24

Corbs said:

The eery music and sound effects are pretty cool, but it's not enough to save the game from feeling very sluggish and tired. I was kinda looking forward to this one too. :(

Objection

#25

Objection said:

@Wariofan
It takes guts to buy those games: the ones that have budget prices now not because of age or "player's choice" status...

AlexSays

#26

AlexSays said:

If I accepted "flops" I wouldnt have bought and enjoyed games like

I'm not telling anyone not to buy it.
But the hype exceeded the results, so it's a flop.
Flops can be fun too, so it's all good.

Pegasus

#27

Pegasus said:

Personally, with the cheat I think it's a worthwhile game. That we only learned about it after the fact, though, and there is no way of knowing about it otherwise didn't sit too well with me...

Twilight_Crow

#29

Twilight_Crow said:

I'd never been interested on this average puzzler, but I thought it'd get a 6.

As KnucklesSonic8 and supermarioman, I still want Plättchen, but I don't think it's gonna come out next week, I predict (and hope) Megaman 9.

DazzaAdmin

#30

Dazza said:

Guys Plattchen costs 1500 points and this costs just 800. Even if the games were equal the inflated cost of Plattchen would go some way to lowering the score. Our reviewers have to look at the picture as a whole when judging what score to give a game.

Ricardo91

#31

Ricardo91 said:

My predictions for next Monday would be either Mega Man 9, Plaatchen, Bomberman, Animales, or Maboshi. I hope at least ONE of them comes next week, except for Plaatchen. =P

@KnucklesSonic. You sure are dedicated to Plaatchen, aren't you?

Edit: @Wariofan. You played all those games, and ENJOYED them!? Wow! If you can tolerate those turds, you can play anything! I played a demo of Shadow once. It was so terrible....

Rawk_Hawk

#32

Rawk_Hawk said:

@ Hey Mr. Cheez
I have a feeling its 2 Wii Ware and 1 VC game again monday. I don't know why its just a gut feeling. But if we get MM9 and Bomberman the same day, I won't even concern myself with what the VC has to offer that day.

Kriqz

#33

Kriqz said:

"I have a feeling its 2 Wii Ware and 1 VC game again monday. I don't know why its just a gut feeling."

I think VC releases are going to start slowing down to 1 each week, and it wouldn't surprice me if the norm becomes 2WW/1VC per week in NA.

As for the review, it seems compareable to Plaatchen's review, with Potpourrii edging ahead slightly for better asthetic appeal and a cheaper price.

Technics1200s

#34

Technics1200s said:

Although this game does sort of make you feel like you want a little bit more out of it, it's still a decent game. After a couple of rounds gettin' past the learning curve, the game begins to grow on ya! However, I'm a huge puzzle game nut, so I try to find the silver-lining in any puzzle game. It's certainly not the greatest puzzle game ever made, but it's got a charming and peaceful presentation. The music and visuals serve as a great portal to let your mind slip away from the stresses of the day. It's an excellent "I need to unwind" kind of game. It's an appreciated addition to my Wii library!

zombiekillr

#36

zombiekillr said:

i knew this game wasnt gonna be that good... i was guessing a 4 actually... but things happen

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