Potata Fairy Flower isn’t a brand spanking new title, but it’s relatively recent. I had the opportunity to give this platform/puzzler a go on the Switch, having put it on my to-do list, but is it any good?
Never has there been such a vicious ginger protagonist as Potata Fairy Flower, other than that forgettable character from some Pixar movie. That’s not her legal name, I think it’s something like Wilson, but the bottom line is she’s hard-as-nails exterminating more spiders than Kill It With Fire.
It’s a colourful title but be forewarned that it’s not for kids. That doesn’t mean it’s scary or there are any boobs – it’s just bloody hard.
Potata Fairy Flower Review
The story begins in a tranquil forest where our titular hero finds her best pal, Foxey (the fox) is poorly and needs mending. Rather than call a vet, she asks for help from her mum – a witch.
Faffing about with the downstairs cauldron, her mother (who I hasten to add looks younger than Potata) tells her to grab something from up in the attic. Upon return, she then says Potata needs to retrieve some ingredients from the forest to cure poor Foxey.
Ah, this is a fetch quest tutorial, I get it. The thing is, through hopping about in the wrong part of the woods, Potata winds up a sleeping fairy by picking up the flower she’s resting in, then scatters the petals across the forest in spite.
What a bitch.
Now we have our loose plot, time for some more fetch quests. That’s right – Potata Fairy Flower is chock full of them, and there’s a lot of backtracking too to make sure you get your worth. While this may give the illusion of a big game and plenty of value, it’s a little annoying going back and forth. Also, I’d rather had played as Potata’s mum. Proper cougar, she was.
I was aware that the game was a platformer, but I was quite surprised how long the dialogue sections were. At the start, there was so much to read through, I put off playing the game until I was in the mood.
Patience Of A Redhead
As you know me better than my mum, you’ll know that I love story – i.e. character-driven elements, great dialogue, narrative arcs, blah, blah, blah. My distaste for a lot of visual novels tends to be the janky, unnatural dialogue and lengthy for the sake of it.
This applies a bit to Potata: Flower Fairy, from OverGamez and Potata Company (Twitter) as there’s so much to read, and it’s often full of grammatical errors and bent sentences. No, it’s not a visual novel, but to start with there’s a lot of text. It’s not dreadful, but it would have been better to stick with the cutscenes already in the game, keeping the focus on the platforming.
The platforming sections don’t disappoint and are a lot of fun if a tad challenging due to some instant deaths. Potata’s jumps have a varying degree of intensity; lightly tap the button for a bunny hop, hold the button for a gravity-defying witch lift.
These segments are divided up by definitive checkpoints, and usually, they’re considerately placed. But some areas can be brutal and failing the last hurdle can result in replaying the same bits again and again. Not so much fun and I admit this meant taking a break in my happy place. The pub, a.k.a. the kitchen. Damn you COVID-19! Damn you all to hell!
You could say the same about the puzzles too. The biggest issue was knowing what to do as it’s not entirely intuitive, but there is the option to buy hints from NPCs. When you ‘get’ the solution, i.e. feed a plant a seed to get to the next section, it’s easy enough, but most of the time in Potata Fairy Flower, you’re on your own.
To be fair, the game could have done without the puzzle elements and still be fun. As continually mentioned, the platform areas are great, the combat not so great and not as responsive as the jumping side of things. The Tetris-like puzzles in the game were fun on my part, but some of these moments did feel a little like filler, coming back to that old ‘value’ tag once more.
You Say Potato, I Say Potato
Potata Fairy Flower is a bit of a mixed bag – both in gameplay and my overall impression. For the literal side of things, it’s a platform puzzle game that just so happens to have lots of dialogue text in some areas. There are combat sections, but the bulk of the game is jumping.
When it comes to my opinion of the game, I found it to be quite a contradiction. On the surface, Potata Fairy Flower is an animated storybook, so that means it’s aimed at kids, right? No. It’s too hard.
It’s not the hardest game out there, but there were moments where my blood was boiling at having to redo platform sections or Potata not attacking when I pressed the button. I definitely pressed it.
There’s a possibility that it could be to do with the framerate. I seldom notice these things unless it disrupts the gameplay, and on occasion, it did. Jumping, thankfully, wasn’t too affected, but as mentioned, pressing attack sometimes lagged and resulted in death. In real life.
On a very minor note, I wasn’t a fan of the music. It was good enough if you’re into plinkety plonkety fantasy music, but for me, it was a bit too cute and mildly annoying. Not enough for me to mention it in a Potata Fairy Flower review, mind.