Saturday, January 26

Review: Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?! [Nintendo Switch eShop]

What do you get when you mix together turn-based combat in space, some resource management, quite a lot of pop culture references, and a team of starchy spuds? Holy Potatoes, it would be one helluva strange game! While it can take a little time to get the hang of things at first, (the tutorial’s advice actually threw me off a bit) once you get rolling it’s a silly and relatively light-hearted time, but you’ll need to think ahead and make wise investments to be successful and not shredded for tater tots.

The story centers around a certain Captain Cassie, on the run from the powerful Eclipse, and her crew as they search the galaxy in hopes of finding her grandfather Jiji… or something along those lines at least. You’ll be jumping from galaxy to galaxy, exploring and completing objectives, developing your crew, improving your ship, and always trying to stay a few steps ahead of the Eclipse, who are always on your tail. Throw in an odd assortment of characters you’ll meet along the way, random events, and quite a lot of shipt-to-ship combat and you get a general idea of what to expect.

While you’ll certainly need to keep focused on the objectives in each galaxy that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to do your own thing and explore a bit. As you find and collect resources, blueprints, and opportunities to add crew members you begin to have numerous choices put in front of you. Do you throw your money and resources into weapons? Do you focus on developing very specific traits in your crew or try to diversify in the hopes of discovering new helpful abilities? Once you’ve crippled your enemies in combat do you let them pay you off to spare them or simply blow them out of the sky? I actually was surprised and very pleased by the degree of choice in things, at least feeling like I was plotting out my own course even if perhaps the outcomes in any case may not have varied greatly.

That said, there are some small things to take into account that don’t work so well. Early on it can be a bit overwhelming trying to grasp all aspects of combat and ship management at once. It doesn’t take long to come around but it does require some experimentation to sort things out. One part of the reason for the confusion is that honestly the controls are a bit over-complicated and not necessarily intuitive. There are some attempts at helping with on-screen prompts for some actions but even once I’d gotten further into the game I would still struggle a little in the ship management screens at times trying to remember how to shift between stations versus switching out crew, versus changing loadouts. Finally, while I do appreciate the pop culture references personally they’re going to be a bit hit and miss for people depending, and the game may lean into them a bit too much for its own good since if they fall flat for some people that may make them a liability. I think it works out well but when specific jokes rely on people knowing the source material too often it’s a risk and can alienate people when they feel left out.

In the end I was a bit slow to warm up to the game’s charms but once I hit my stride I began to really have some fun with it. As strategy games go it is pretty light, but that also makes it quite approachable. I believe that having a plan and investing your money and resources wisely makes a difference but on the whole I’m also not positive you couldn’t do pretty well simply stumbling through things at many points as well. If you’re down for some silliness mixed into your casual strategy it’s a pretty good fit and it seems very reasonable for the asking price as well.

Score: 8

  • Generally light and fun strategy mixed with planning to build up your ship and crew
  • Pop culture references and silliness abound
  • While I’m not positive the choices you make radically change your chances for success I do appreciate how many independent decisions you get to make concerning your crew and your ship overall

  • Initially all of the screens and concepts can be a lot to take in all at once
  • The controls do work but are a bit cumbersome and complicated
  • Pop culture references can be fun but they’re used in a way that almost feels like a crutch in this case and could risk alienating some players