Seattle indie studio Stumbling Cat's first project, Potions - A Curious Tale is trying to hit all the right notes.
With all the cautionary tales that are passed around about Kickstarter, it is easy to occasionally forget the successes, and there are even plenty of failures that ended just fine for the backers. It should be noted again that coverage does not constitute endorsement, but I thought Stumbling Cat's Potions - A Curious Tale campaign looked to be making reasonable promises with a reasonable ask, which is always a good place to start in deciding whether it's a risky campaign to support.
Potions' kid-friendly aesthetic will likely put off a swath of serious gamers, but when I chatted with Stumbling Cat's Renee Gittins, she seemed less concerned. As she described it, the visuals are deliberately skewed to be more attractive to less traditional gaming audiences. The mechanics are designed for accessibility as well, but I'm told that the same systems are also meant to cater to the traditional gaming demographic in different ways.
Potions is meant to be enjoyable by pretty much everybody, but the way the combat works is designed to challenge even experienced players. You'll have to check out the Kickstarter for the finer details. As I understood it, your potions are your weapon, but they're single-use, so you need to gather materials and craft potions for every fight. That makes fighting more cost-benefit than risk-reward, which is fostered by systems that allow you to sneak past, or even scare away enemies you'd rather not fight.
The thing that got me most interested, though, was how the crafting system was designed to support experimentation. It's not the first time a game has encouraged trial and error in crafting, of course, but I've wasted so much time and so many materials trying new combos, I'm eager to play a game where that's fitted to be part of the experience.