App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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There are a few game genres that lend themselves to mobile play as well as management games do. The key to their success (particularly on mobile) is making you feel like you're pushing things forward every time you play the game. Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is an adorable and cheeky game that layers on tons of ways for you to feel this kind of progress when playing, whether you're playing it in five minute bursts or in five hour sessions.
The potato business
In Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, you play as the son of a famous weapon smith who has recently inherited the family business. In the course of doing so, you meet Agent 46, a business partner of your father's, who guides you along your way to becoming a successful weapon smith.
Running your business involves a ton of stuff, like hiring talent and leveling up their skills, buying useful shot equipment and decor, taking on contract work, sourcing local materials, researching new weapons, and even managing the happiness of your employees (all on a budget, of course). With all of these things in play, Holy Potatoes! demands that players constantly juggle what they're working on and how they're working on it, which can get quite hectic since the game moves in real-time. If things ever feel too overwhelming though, there is a nifty pause button to let you take a break and strategize your next move.
While you are managing your shop's day-to-day operations, Holy Potatoes! keeps things funny and light-hearted every step of the way. You aren't just the son of a weapon smith, after all. You're also a potato. Your customers and employees are potatoes. Heck, you even get an adorable little potato dog who lives in your shop.
Nearly everything in Holy Potatoes! is charming, funny, or some combination of the two. Throughout the game, you always feel like you're meaningfully growing your business because there's a constant drip feed of new locations, customers, quests, contests, etc., and every single one of them is lovingly-crafted and humorous in its own way. This makes it so that–even when the game is at its most repetitive–you're always looking forward to who or what might show up just around the corner.
Holy Potatoes! is totally fantastic, but there are a few, tiny things about it that aren't quite as good as the game's presentation and structure. Most of these things have to do with the game's interface, which is just slightly clunky. Things like scrolling your viewpoint and redirecting your smiths just don't feel as snappy as they could.
Also, Holy Potatoes! is one of those games that would benefit tremendously from having some cloud save support, yet it does not have this sort of functionality. Throughout my time with the game, I definitely found myself wanting to whip out my phone to forge a quick weapon or two while I was out, but since I started my save on an iPad, I couldn't do so.
The bottom line
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is a deeply satisfying and charming management game. Some minor control issues aside, it feels right at home on mobile. Between its great pacing, bright visuals, and satisfying mechanics, there's a lot to like here.