Potata: Fairy Flower is a whimsical platformer in which you take on the role of a novice witch who must venture away from the safety of her home and into the dangerous surrounding woods. There, you’ll encounter creatures big and small, procure weapons, fruit, and keys, and solve a variety of different puzzles as you explore.
Although not quite as ambitious or polished as something like Ori and the Blind Forest, Potata: Fairy Flower shares rather a lot in common with it. The levels themselves are surprisingly vast, with plenty of opportunities to explore off the beaten path to discover secrets and hidden items. Despite this, the overall objective is to move from left to right, so the game rarely lets you stray too far away, and you’ll quickly end up back on the right path if you do happen to wander off.
Soon after the initial section of the game, Potata gains a melee weapon with which to defeat enemies and bosses, but you can also use other items, such as fruit or wooden planks to clear obstacles or render dangerous creatures useless. The inventory system is really straightforward: your procured items appear at the top of the screen, so you simply press X to open your inventory and navigate the items with the D-pad. Keys quickly become a familiar pickup, as there are plenty of locked crates dotted around the levels for you to plunder.
The gameplay itself is relatively slow-paced, certainly in comparison to more established platformers or Metroidvanias. This isn’t to say it’s bad, though; rather, the more gentle pace lends itself well to the game’s overall tone. There are plenty of puzzles to solve, too, whether it's something as simple as pushing a boulder to reach higher ground, or solving what looks like a miniature Tetris puzzle to unlock a stone gateway. In addition, you’ll find collectable magic stones throughout the levels which essentially form the game’s currency system. There’s precious little to actually purchase with these, but you can buy hints to make puzzles easier or spend 20 magic stones to reuse save stations, if need be.
Unfortunately, where the game stumbles slightly is in its overall performance. It looks wonderful, with colourful, cartoony graphics reminding us of the short-lived UbiArt games. But the frame rate is really quite bad at times. We played mostly in handheld mode, as the developer informed us of a technical issue in docked mode that wouldn’t be fixed until shortly after launch. If this issue is unrelated to the frame rate slowdown, then we didn’t actually run into it during our time with the game, but it certainly stutters quite frequently regardless of how you play it. We also noticed a few typos during dialogue scenes here and there; not so often as to ruin the experience in any way, but it’s definitely noticeable.
If these minor technical blips are ironed out, we have no qualms in recommending Potata: Fairy Flower. It’s an odd name for a game, to be sure, but if you’re a fan of puzzle platformers and enjoy the magical fantasy tone on display here, you’ll have a great time over the course of its 10-hour runtime, and we’re more than looking forward to seeing an eventual sequel.