Despite its cozy and chill aesthetic, players of Potion Permit will soon find they have a particularly tricky gig: starting up and running a clinic in Moonbury, a sleepy little hamlet whose inhabitants are deeply mistrustful of outsiders. As an open-ended life sim game in the same vein as Stardew Valley, there’s a lot to learn and do in Potion Permit, and getting to grips with its many gameplay systems can be tricky even with the game’s numerous tutorials. However, for aspiring chemists, there are a few useful tips, tricks, and strategies to quickly get into the flow of the game. Whether it’s healing the sick by brewing potions, foraging for potion ingredients, moonlighting in Potion Permit’s service industry, or making new friends, players can quickly establish themselves as a valuable part of the Moonbury community.
In Potion Permit, players take on the role of a chemist from the capital, heeding the call of the mayor of Moonbury, an isolated village whose inhabitants hold a deep mistrust of chemists and capital folk at large. The mayor’s daughter Rue has taken ill and the locals, traditional witch doctor included, are at a loss about how best to help her. After a player heals Rue, the mayor decides that perhaps the broken ties between Moonbury and the Medical Association can be mended after all these years. As such, the task of healing Moonbury’s sick, building trust, and restoring the good name of the Medical Association and its chemists falls squarely on players’ shoulders.
Following a Nintendo Direct dominated by cozy farm sims, fans of the genre that was revitalized by the smash hit success of Stardew Valley might be looking for something a bit fresher. Potion Permit might just fit the bill, with players taking on the role of town chemist and healer rather than shouldering the burden of restoring local agriculture. Starting off in Potion Permit can be tricky, but a few tips, tricks, and strategies go a long way.
Try To Keep Busy
Players will find Potion Permit to be a relatively chill experience to begin with. Patients might come calling once every couple of days, usually with minor ailments that are easily cured with simple potions. Naturally, this leaves players with time on their hands, and given the game’s general vibe, it’s tempting to relax and let the day go by. However, this is one of several common mistakes players make in life sims and it’s best to keep busy.
Players can spend a couple of in-game hours doing part-time work, sorting ink bottles at Moonbury’s police station, grinding grapes at the church, and packing parcels at the post office. These involve playing mini-games that are easily completed for coins. While coins aren’t a crucial potion ingredient, it’s used to buy just about everything else including upgrades and food, and players should spend some time each day earning.
On top of that, players should also spend time foraging out in the wilds. Later in the game, chemists will have to deal with multiple patients with multiple ailments at once and might find themselves running short on time. It’s worth noting that unlike other life sims featuring co-op play, Potion Permit is currently a solo-only experience, so players are solely responsible for keeping their clinic running. Spending a few hours each day in the early game to gather a wide variety of potion ingredients is a good strategy to ensure inventories are always well-stocked, saving players valuable time when it comes to brewing potions. Additionally, upgrades for the player’s house, potion cauldron, clinic, and tools require grinding for lots of wood and stone, so it’s best to chop down trees and break rocks frequently.
Be A Chatterbox
On arriving in Moonbury, players will undoubtedly notice that the inhabitants of this village are wary and reluctant to even speak with them at best and downright hostile at worst. However, Moonbury’s villagers all turn out to be good folk; players just need to spend time earning their trust and win their friendship by proving their good intentions. Stardew Valley’s villagers have preferred gifts, but villagers in Potion Permit don’t. Instead, players can make friends by healing villagers’ ailments, gifting Moon Cloves, and by simply speaking to them. While healing an individual villager’s ailments nets players a lot of friendship points, it’ll take a lot of time to make friends with everyone this way. When gifted, Moon Cloves give a considerable boost to villagers’ friendship meters, but they aren’t common in the early game.
That leaves players with a time-tested method for making friends: having a good chat. Each conversation players have with a villager will raise their friendship meter. While it doesn’t even come close to the friendship gain that comes from gifting Moon Cloves or healing illnesses, having a good chat is the most consistent way to build up friendship. Romancing eligible bachelors and bachelorettes is a staple of farm sims and players can also date eligible villagers in Moonbury. As such, players should be chatterboxes, and chat with all the villagers they cross paths with.
Always Check The Boards
Moonbury has different noticeboards players should keep an eye on. The Town Hall’s Community Board features new weekly requests every Monday, which task players with collecting materials and dropping them off in return for useful rewards including coins and food items. Food items can be useful in a pinch if players find themselves struggling to manage stamina and as mentioned previously, just about everything players purchase in Moonbury requires coins. They’re a steady source of income and players should always have them active so they can collect the necessary materials while out foraging.
Players can also find Bulletin Boards all over town. These allow players to experience Potion Permit’s equivalent of Stardew Valley’s poignant heart events. The Bulletin Boards are rather useful in fact, as they show all the different friendship events that players can experience, as well as their locations and the set days and times they can be triggered. As such, both the Community and Bulletin Boards can help players get closer to the inhabitants of Moonbury, earn valuable coins and resources, and win over the trust of the townspeople.
Get Upgrades At Hearts & Sparks
Moonbury’s Hearts & Sparks forge is the go-to location for most of Potion Permit’s upgrades. Tool upgrades help players save a lot of stamina while harvesting rare resources, but a good strategy is to prioritize upgrading the cauldron. Upgrading the cauldron opens slots, allowing players to add more ingredients to the mix when brewing their potions. Players will unlock the ability to sell potions to earn some quick coins, and an upgraded cauldron allows for brewing more complex and valuable potions. It also ensures players won’t be left behind when they receive additional quests from Moonbury’s townspeople, which often require brewing complex potions that require more ingredients than the starting cauldron can hold.
When it comes to upgrading tools, players should prioritize their hammer and axe; most potion ingredients are collected using the sickle, but both hammer and axe are a bit more important. Players will benefit from the reduced stamina cost of chopping down trees and breaking rocks for wood and stone, both of which are vital for additional upgrades.
Avoid That First Clinic Upgrade
Building upgrades are a farming sim staple and Potion Permit is no different. Players can grab house and clinic upgrades at Moonbury’s Bulk and Build store. It can be tempting for players to upgrade their rundown clinic straight away. Doing so might make patients comfier as they aren’t sleeping in a shack and players will earn increased income from successful treatments. However, it’s actually best to avoid that first clinic upgrade for a bit. Coins aren’t hard to earn given that players can work part-time and sell potions, so the increase in income isn’t that useful. Clinic upgrades also unlock serums: special potions that can cure patients’ symptoms without diagnosis. However, these aren’t really necessary early in the game, and players’ hard-earned stone and wood are better spent elsewhere.
Be Sure to Look After Your Dog
Potion Permit continues the long tradition of pets in farm sims that includes Daffodil the cat in the Studio Ghibli-inspired Spiritfarer with a faithful canine companion that follows players wherever they go. Notably, players can also build a friendship with their dog by petting it and feeding it food. Naturally, meat is a solid choice for improving friendship with the dog, with the Grilled Tenderloin dish sold in Yorn’s Lazy Bowl Tavern going down particularly well, assuming players can afford the coins needed to feed tenderloin to a dog. Players do benefit from looking after their dog too, as the dog can track down any NPC when fed and gets smarter the more players care for it. After completely filling the dog’s first friendship bar, players will find that their companion can dig up valuable resources.
While there are plenty of cozy sim games out there, Potion Permit arguably stands out thanks to its twist on the traditional formula made popular by games such as Stardew Valley. Despite that, it’s no easier to start off in, with many gameplay mechanics and systems players need to get to grips with and master. Luckily, with the tips, tricks, and strategies listed above, players should be able to get into Potion Permit’s flow and start off their time in Moonbury just right.
Next: Potion Permit Review: A Fairly Strong Brew