Sindrella's Potions

by Tristin Grizel Dean profile

2022

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fixable bugs dent an enjoyable story/mechanic, June 7, 2022
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: TALP 2022

As a rule I'm not big on retellings of an old story. You'd better bring something new to the table. And in Sindrella's Potions, you do. Your grandmother is Cinderella, and before you go to a ball, you put on a slipper and become her. Your quest is to make it to the ball, but to do so, you'll need to buy a gown and slippers and make transport.

The way to do this, unsurprisingly given the story's name, is by making potions, mostly to help other people, who pay you in coins. You have a cauldron to put ingredients in--ingredients are marked clearly in your inventory. Each recipe has three ingredients, and it doesn't fully spoil anything, but it hints things rather strongly. So you may have to do a bit of trial-and-error.

This worried me a bit, as I immediately assumed a problem with using up ingredients (e.g. at one point you get a thread, and I was worried if you messed things up you'd have to get another) but this isn't the case. You can keep trying until things work. And you can figure a potion without the recipe, but it probably takes less time to find things.

As for finding potion recipes, you do this for trying sensible but not straightforward things. It might be talking to people, or SMELL or TASTE or TOUCH. In one case, there's a new verb, but given the item, it's not hard.

The game is well-implemented and even allows you to solve a side puzzle for a portable cauldron, so you don't have to go back to your cottage to mix things. It even has hints--though here, sometimes there's the unintentional side effect of hiding something that should be in plain view. Or you'll ask for a hint, and the advice will disappear before you can use it, e.g. "Potion X requires A, B and C" in a place where you don't need Potion X and then HINT again says "you're done here." I wound up overlooking something much more basic--I missed 2 ingredients because I didn't search the scenery, and some words were highlighted and some weren't. So I'd like to see more robust hints in a re-release saying "You may've forgotten to examine everything in (room x)" or even "you have 2 more ingredients that can be found by looking through each room." Here a little help is a bad thing, because I assumed I was done with certain areas when I was not.

And as of June 2022 I found a bug that seemed to get me stuck for good. The (Spoiler - click to show)note seems to be needed as an ingredient, and it's in your inventory, but you can't put it in the cauldron. The author is very conscientious about providing updates, and though their life may be busy, I suspect they'll find a way to add things in once they have the time, because they have a commitment to strong craft.

That said, until you run into this bug, it's quite well done, and I enjoyed my time, and I liked the potion mechanic. I'm just a bit disappointed to have missed out on the ending, and I think others must've shared my views, too, because SP placed surprisingly (to me) low in TALP 2022 relative to the enjoyment I got and the craft I saw.