Destined to add potatoes into every game they create, Daylight Studios has aimed high into the sky with the most recent of their releases. Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! Has moved away and off of the ground from their original title as it’ll take players into the far depths of space. You’ll be tasked with managing resources, fuel and weapons whilst keeping one step ahead of your enemies; who are constantly chasing you as you explore new planets. Featuring similarities to the hit title Faster Than Light, Holy Potatoes looks to expand on that further, adding colourful artwork and personalities between the characters. I mean, between the spuds.
Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! is currently available on Steam for £11.99.
You’ll be placed in the shoes of the acting captain amongst a ship of your name choice. It took me a while to choose one, so I had to settle with this great pun; “The Dictater of Space”. In any case, onboard your ship will be Cassie and Fey, sisters of the spud kind. Six months earlier to the events we are now placed in, the sisters’ grandfather, Jiji, had a run-in with the leader of the Eclipse armada; Hal. Presumed to be captured, Cassie and Fey have now set on a mission to rescue their grandfather from the clutches of Hal, all whilst the Eclipse is hot on their tail throughout every galaxy they jump to.
As soon as you hop into Holy Potatoes, it’s very clear that the developers have taken a lot of inspiration from Faster Than Light. Once the tutorial level is out of the way, you’re thrown into the deep end of space and aboard Cassie’s ship. Your decisions throughout the entirety of the game will determine how far/close the Eclipse are from capturing you and flying to the wrong planet with a few moves left could be the end of your game. Collecting loot will also be completely at the player’s disposal, with little interactions and random encounters, there will be multiple choices to choose from. Overall, the game has many comical moments and a huge amount of references, which I'll refer to later in the review.
Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! can be completely played by using just your mouse, although, hotkeys are available if need be. Docking at a Starhub will allow full regeneration of any hull damage that the ship has taken and also fuel; the material used when travelling between planets. Parts of your ship can be upgraded here which in turn, will alter how combat will commence later on. However, there will be light, balanced and heavy variants of each upgrade. All offering slightly different attributes to each other, it’s vital to select the component that will make the most sense. This is one part of the game that really stands out to me as it’ll require players to make more decisions based on their own play style and current situation.
When performing an action, such as hopping to another planet, it’ll use SOL. Think of these as a traditional ‘turn’ and the explanation will become much clearer. The Eclipse is only a certain amount of SOL away from your ship and you don’t exactly want them to catch up. Setting up actions by creating weapons and putting your crew into the Therapy Facility will finish after some SOL has been used. I originally created a weapon and believed it to be on a real time scale. However, once I fully understood the way the turns work, my interest flipped completely and I realised that this is a great way to alter the game up slightly. Will you be ready for the next combat encounter since you’ve added a weapon into production? These sorts of questions will need to be thought about strategically before rushing into as it could possibly destroy the entire playthrough. Crew members in the Therapy Facility are also knocked out of play for a few turns too. You don't have to explore every planet that you travel to; something that I had somehow forgotten for the first hour.
The combat is where the main meat of the game really shines. In turn-based attacks, you'll simply put your weapons up against the enemies and let the better potato win. It's certainly not as in-depth as its Faster Than Light counterpart but simplicity suits Holy Potatoes rather well. Charge is used to throw off these attacks, with the player only having a set amount at the start of the fight. You'll gain a certain amount extra per turn, so deciding which weapons to fire and when is a necessity. Overall, this is a decent system without needing to put a great deal of thought into your actions. However, there are two flaws that knock this down a couple of places. The first of these is the ship's shield. Once the player and enemy get to a point where they have 3/4 weapons each, being able to only shield your hull or one of your weapons is very difficult to keep up with. You cannot change the location of this shield in the middle of an attack, so placing it in the right spot beforehand is crucial. The main problem with this is that the enemy attacks are completely random and can obliterate weapons in a single turn. I imagine adding an overall shield for the entire ship could have been a better option, with attacks damaging the shield before the ship, unless you have a laser weapon. Secondly, the healing weapons are extremely powerful. Healing a huge 150% of damage dealt to your hull or weapons equals to a very prolonged fight. This desperately needs to be reduced to between 50%-100% as right now, you can easily hide a Succubus behind the shield and never die.
Graphics, Audio, Animation and Script
The first thing that I noticed was the music. As soon as you boot up Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?!, you're greeted with a theme that sounds like the production budget was 100,000 times as much as it was. The developers made a great choice in allowing Jeffrey Brice to create the music. These themes change depending on the situation, such as through one of the very comical cutscenes, it'll alter into a go-happy and jolly theme. Also, the ambient track isn't too heavy nor too subtle.
In terms of graphics, Holy Potatoes is unique and stylised to really show off the fact that we are playing with food… The characters aren't created to look like humans at all but they all still are able to get away with looking pretty damn good in the setting that they are placed within. Colours and vibrancy really pop out at the player; weapons are all a variety of colours to stand out fully when placed onto the ship. Adding on to these features, there isn't a great deal of animation throughout the game. Characters slightly move in cutscenes and walk around onboard your ship but during combat is where the majority of it happens. Unfortunately, it can get a bit tedious after a while. Once you throw off an attack, the camera pans to your ship, then to the enemies and back again when they return fire. After a few combat sessions, it just made me want to be able to skip these entirely, especially if I'm attacking a ship who is trying to escape and cannot fight back. The UI is quite bulky as well, with very large windows during combat and even outside of it. I understand that this is all down to preference but either scaling them down or allowing us to do that would remove a lot of clutter from the whole screen.
Now, as I stated earlier on, Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! is an extremely funny game. The main two characters, Cassie and Fey, are sisters and couldn't be any more different from each other. Fey is the youngest of the two and the brains of the ship, whereas Cassie is somebody who doesn't necessarily think before acting. With this in mind, it leads to some hilarious dialogue exchanges between the two. Also, there are a tonne of references to other games, with the Pokemon one being my current favourite (second image in this review). Also, Dom Diddleston. It made me laugh, a lot.
Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! is a great title which mixes a bunch of different features from other titles to create its own remedy. With a selection of missions to do and loot to find, it'll ensure that players are kept busy for a long time to come. It also manages to pull off humour that comes across as funny and not wasted, unlike many games who have tried to do the same. I had a few issues with the gameplay but nothing to push anyone away from its potatoey clutches. All in all, I think I've found the game that may remove my thirst for Faster Than Light.
|+ Excellent writing and presentation of characters||– Combat animations can get tedious|
|+ Combat is pretty fun and can be intense||– Some weapons seem unbalanced|
|+ Galaxy missions adds depth to the game||– Shield element seems useless with random attacks|
|+ Perfect music and sound effects||– The UI is pretty bulky|