Potionomics review — A mystical brew

Potionomics Review Feature

Witches don’t always have broomsticks to fly on, cat familiars, or a perfectly Gothic wardrobe. Sometimes they’re fresh out of college with an unfinished potion-making license and an empty bank account. Yes, that’s specific, but it’s also the setup for Potionomics, a deck-building dating sim with resource management built in. I love a dark, Gothic tale, but the world of Potionomics is so colorful and supportive that it’s hard not to get sucked in.

Sylvia, a novice witch of sorts, has to figure out what it really takes to run a successful potion shop after her uncle dies and leaves his shop to her — dusty corners, debt, and all. Like any good witch, she has an owl companion that guides her (and you) through the first week of running a shop. It’s a lot more complicated than you might initially assume.



The potion shop is in absolute disrepair, and Sylvia lacks the knowledge to really run a business; you truly start from the ground up. Owl takes you under his wing and explains the inner workings of the business during those beginning moments. First up, potion making. It’s a rather simple process: combine ingredients with specific qualities until you have the perfect mix for the potion you want and start brewing.

Potionomics IntroDon’t feel too discouraged if your first few potions flop. Later upgrades to ingredients and the shop will help boost the quality of the potions you brew. Obviously, the higher the potion quality, the better its starting price. You can even freestyle potions and test your luck with quality and quantity. If you want to really make a profit, though, there’s only one way to do so — haggling.

Haggling with customers is where the card system comes into play. Like most deck-building games, a lot of factors play into a successful round and a profitable sale. You have to manage the incoming debuffs and stress applied by customers looking for a better deal while buffing your cards and raising customer interest. You can lose a sale if you don’t close it before a customer’s patience runs out, and accruing too much stress means you get fewer cards to use. Trying to push the sale a little too far can also result in a lost sale, as the customer will walk away without buying anything. Selling potions has a bit more to it, but the mechanics should be familiar if you’ve played a game like this before.Potionomics Tutorial

Crystal Clear

When haggling or going about life in Rafta, you’ll meet the eclectic cast of Potionomics. Most of the characters also run businesses that you can patronize for things to boost your potion making. Befriend or romance them, and get even more like discount coupons and cute hangouts.

Since none of the romances are gender-locked, there’s something here for everyone. Fancy a mature, pipe-smoking fawn lady? Or a smarmy, clairvoyant shopkeeper who’s everyone’s emo fantasy? You got it. Clearly, those two were my favorites, but Potionomics has enough character variety that anyone can find someone with whom they connect.

Potionomics Characters

Oh, and did I mention you can decorate your shop? Because you absolutely can. Customization options often make a game that much more enjoyable for me. In Potionomics, they start off minimal, but something about replacing my shop’s tattered wallpaper with the same wallpaper, but a newer version, really made me feel like I was finally making business woman moves. Your goal is to build the potion shop from the ground up, and you can see that progress visually if you choose.

New business practices

Potionomics is narrative-heavy, hence a lot of my vagueness, but the story flows throughout. The debt Sylvia has inherited is impossibly high, so while figuring out the shop business, you’ll also have to prepare for a potion-making competition that could mean the difference between life or death. Not literally, but failing this competition does mean losing the shop, packing your bags, and returning home.Potionomics Brewing Potions

So much of your journey will be random and therefore different. I’m already planning multiple playthroughs to see just how much I can change my experience. I want to romance someone else and become closer with other shopkeepers to see how my deck will change. I’ll even invest in ingredient excursions differently to change up my potion output. Potionomics feels endless, even when it isn’t. Despite my multiple game overs, each new attempt was a chance for me to play with the game in an entirely different way.

It’s hard to really classify Potionomics into one or two genres because so much is going on at any one given time. Like I said, it’s a deck builder and resource-management sim, but you also have relationships to build and manage. It’s a lot at times.

Witches don’t sleep

The way Potionomics introduces new mechanics is incredibly easy to understand, and the hints never really stop. It’s approachable in that way; I do wish, though, that it was more forgiving. You constantly have something to do when playing, to both the game’s detriment and success. The game seems to move too fast, while everything else moves slow. My failures weren’t caused by my own lack of skill — keeping up with everything just felt impossible.

Potionomics Gameplay

That said, Potionomics is still something I’ll keep going back to and introducing to other people. It does so many things right, and is a deck-building game that goes beyond simply understanding the strategy of a winning hand. Plus, there was an E-Z Bake Cauldron joke within the first hour. I can’t ask for much more.



Potionomics combines genres to produce a deck-building game that never get old. It sometimes feels overwhelming, but the end product is satisfying enough to keep you hooked.

Dani Maddox
About The Author
Dani is a writer and editor who cared about games enough to make them her job. If she isn't waxing poetic about the latest indie release, you can always find her knee-deep in a detective RPG.