App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Daylight Studios has a series of games with the Holy Potatoes! moniker. Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! is the third release within this universe for mobile, and it feels like a return to form coming off of the charming, but occasionally mindless, Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! This is very much a management game, but it’s as premium an experience you can get in the genre. Plus, it features cute potato versions if all sorts of pop culture icons who you recruit and train to become super spies. What’s not to like?
In Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?!, you’re helping spuddy siblings Ren and Rexa who are investigating the disappearance of their parents. Naturally, they come to the conclusion that the best way to do this is by forming an elite spy agency.
Working with both Ren and Rexa, your job is to recruit, train, and send out your spies to gather intel, decrypt data disks, and make all manner of super spy equipment, all in an effort to eventually figure out what happened to their parents. The rest of the time, you’re taking on all sorts of side jobs to pay for facilities and equipment that keep your spies’ at the top of their game.
Garden variety management
When it comes to managing your spy agency, Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! gives you a lot to dig into. There is—obviously—the management of your agents when they’re on a mission, where you advise them on their approach in specific situations, but there’s also a litany of things to pay attention to when they’re not on assignment.
You need to build training facilities and send your spies to them so they can enhance their skills. You also need to build decorations to make your training facilities more effective. Outside of training, your spies also need equipment like special gadgets, clothes, tech, and vehicles to make sure they can pass missions with flying colors. Oh yea, and you have to arrange all of this on your own spy compound, which has its own meta layer where the way you lay out and decorate your HQ actually affects how quickly your spies improve.
All of the stuff you do in Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! isn’t exactly revolutionary if you’ve played a management game before. The secret to this game’s success though is just how colorful and charming it is. Everything--from the overarching narrative to the flavor text on every little item--is designed to surprise and delight you. A particularly fun example of the pool of spy recruits you pull from. All of them are spudified versions of recognizable pop culture icons, like Steph Curry and James Bond.
The only real bummer with Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! is that it can feel like too much of a passive experience at times. The game is almost purely menu-driven, and your goal is to just match stats between spies and mission requirements. There are some moments where you get some unexpected curveballs, but they’re too few and far between. Depending on who you are though, this could be a good thing. The straightforward nature of Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! can also be somewhat satisfying to conk out in front of and tap away at without having to worry about things getting too complicated.
The bottom line
Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! is a fun and charming management game. It doesn’t try too many things to shake the experience up, but that’s ok. There’s enough personality, humor, and warmth emanating from it that you won’t mind tapping away at it for a long, long time.