In the small town of Moonbury, the residents like to keep their community separate from the outside more advanced world. They have previously lost many essential forms of plant life because of outside interference. However, the mayor becomes more desperate when his daughter becomes ill and the local witch doctor cannot provide a remedy. He sends for help to the outside, something the town vowed never to do again. You play as a chemist, who must prove to the city you can not only help cure their sick but that the outside world isn’t as bad as the town believes it to be. In this pixel life gathering sim, you must take things day by day until you build trust within the community. You will need special permits to enter certain areas of the world, which you earn from gaining trust and healing the unhealthy with potions you create from gathering. Will this town learn to trust in an outsider?

Here’s what I liked:

Day by Day — You start with nobody trusting you. To change their poor opinions, you will need to take it a day at a time. It’s a fairly straightforward formula. You wake up and choose your activities, normally falling into your routine. I liked to gather ingredients for a little bit, then head back to town when everyone else is awake (you get up quite early). I would talk to everyone I could, do a job, head to the bathhouse which refreshes your stamina, then go out once more to gather. On some days the clinic you own will notify you by a siren that someone is sick. If that happens I would heal them as a priority. It becomes a little addicting. You may have someone almost at a new friendship level and you go for “just one more day”. I loved how your day is based on a timer and you almost feel a little stressed trying to get everything in order before going to bed. It’s the good kind of stress, which almost acts as the story’s antagonist. Otherwise, it’s a very casual game that allows you to do things in your order without consequence.

Out for a Dangerous Stroll — To create potions, you will need ingredients. These will be found outside of the town in various biomes which you will eventually gain access to. Three tools are available for you to switch to at any time. You will be equipped with an axe, sickle, and hammer. Certain things you can harvest will require you to switch the tools. Luckily this is fluid and you can do it on the fly with a quick button press. It’s not all peaceful in these outside areas. You will face various enemies that will drop their items for you to use in potions. You can kill most of them with any tool you wish, with a few exceptions that require the hammer or axe to break shields and armor. Fret not if you die, you will be found by a ranger and will just start your day later than normal. It’s so fun to run around gathering the items you need to create the potions. You have limited stamina, meaning you can’t just go grab everything in one day. You have to choose which items you want to go for. You can restore stamina by eating but because you are limited in hours in a day anyways, I found it easier to just go to the bathhouse and restore it (it wastes 2 hours of the day). There is a lot to keep you busy and you won’t find it often that you’re going to bed at a decent time. This could mean in real life too!

Potion Tetris — Why is it important what you gather you may ask. Each ingredient comes with a shape that you will recognize from Tetris. When creating potions, you will have a little puzzle where you must fill in the blocks with the ingredients that are specific shapes. You are limited on how many ingredients are used and sometimes limited to specific categories (there are four). This means you will want a lot of variation in what you’re gathering so that when someone gets sick, you’re not in a rush. It’s safe to say just keep 5 of everything if not 10 to be safe. Besides healing, you may also sell the potions to gain money. You will need money to buy various things including upgrades (which also require wood and rocks that you find outside the town). Making potions was one of the highlights of my time with the game, which is probably around thirty hours by now. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Here’s what I didn’t like:

Getting Around Town — There is a map and fast travel points, making it fairly easy to get around. However, certain paths are blocked by fences or trees which prohibits you from using shortcuts. You always must take the long route. Also, there seems to be a lack of fast travel locations. They do the job but seem poorly laid out for saving time while you’re trying to get from point A to B. If I could cut the fences down with my axe I would. I guess by this point I have failed to mention you have a dog as a companion. This loyal friend is very helpful in finding the different people that live in the town. You can bring up an NPC list and the dog will lead you right to them. Be wary of one specific person, as they have two personalities and the dog cannot distinguish the two. I had thought this was a glitch because I would choose one name and be led to what I thought was the wrong person (but they are the same, just dress differently depending on the day). Shame on me for not reading everyone’s bio within the menu!

May I Speak to the Manager — Besides upgrading your weapons/tools and potion pot, you can also have a merchant build your furniture to put into your house. Need more room? You can upgrade the space as well to make your home very customized. The major issue is that buying furniture is extremely high priced. I went through the entire game, around 26 hours total, and I was able to buy two cheaper items. This is because all of my resources were going towards upgrading the important things. By the time I did every single quest, I was done with the game and had no reason to go back and make a house full of items when I wouldn’t be playing anymore. The prices need to drop so that people can afford to do customization while playing casually through the story. I feel like I was extremely diligent in farming for resources every day, even using the bathhouse to refill my stamina almost every time to go on a second run before sleeping. Yet in the end, my house still looked tarnished and not the home of the savior of the entire town. Wood and stone need to be included in awards for the pricing to work. The same goes for the different colors you could buy for your character’s skin and outfit. Now if only they could have made different outfits to buy instead of just changing a pigment, that might have been worth going for during the playthrough.


In recent years there have been a lot of games in which you seek out materials to progress in your adventure. A “gathering” genre, if you will. What’s fresh and unique is how it ties into creating potions. The little mini-games for figuring out the illness of a patient are a bit boring, specifically after doing the same ones so many times, but the Tetris-based puzzle solving never got old. I loved going out every day and stocking up on ingredients so that I could always be prepared to heal someone with the least amount of materials. The little fights against the monsters were also entertaining. After a while, you get used to all the characters in town. You figure out their personalities and the bond your character creates with them seems genuine. It’s a very casual experience that lets you do things in the order you choose. You can be very slow at progressing the story but every day you do things is a step forward to making the town whole again. It’s not a thrilling story, but one that gives enough emotion to mean something in the end. There were a few things I would like to see changed, specifically the costs of furniture and a few more fast travel locations. I would welcome any DLC with new areas to explore. But besides a few things I didn’t think were done right, I can’t argue the fact I kept going back every night to enjoy gathering items and healing what appears to be a very unhealthy group of citizens.

Score: Must Buy

Potion Permit was published by PQube Limited and developed by MassHive Media on Xbox One. It was released on September 22, 2022, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.