BENGALURU : In Potion Explosion, you and up to three other players are student wizards taking your final potions examination in an extremely-familiar-yet-legally-distinct magical university. In order to win, you’ll have to craft the best potions you can as quickly as you can while everybody else races to do the exact same thing. Potions require a variety of ingredients, however, and the only way to get them is by trying to coax them out of the ingredient dispenser.
The central gimmick of Potion Explosion also happens to be its most crucial feature the ‘dispenser’ is a wonderfully-crafted 3D centerpiece that provides multiple channels for the marbles to roll down. On your turn, you’ll pluck out any one marble in any row, causing the ones above it to roll down. If any marbles of the same colour happen to roll into each other, you get to take all marbles of that colour (this is called an ‘explosion’ in game terms, but it’s a good thing!).
If you trigger more explosions after the first, you get to take those marbles too! But what are these marbles for? Well, each potion requires a different combination of ingredients, and each of you will only be able to work on any two potions at a time. So yes, it’s great that you managed to get all those black marbles through those explosions...but if your potions don’t need black, you’ve got nowhere to actually put them (you can only hold three marbles in reserve; as for the rest, you use them or you lose them) and that sort of misstep can cost you the game.
For sheer satisfaction, Potion Explosion simply can’t be beat. It is one of the most tactile games I’ve ever come across and, as its entire premise is based on getting ingredient marbles out of that dispenser, you’ll get to enjoy that aspect of the game on every single turn. But, it isn’t just about playing with marbles if you don’t use your potions well, you’ll be left in the dust. Every game will contain six unique potion types and, once a potion is brewed, you can drink it at any time in order to gain a special one-time power. This potion might let you steal ingredients from an opponent’s reserve, while that one just lets you take any two adjacent marbles from the dispenser.
The variability of setup as well as strategy offered by these potions give Potion Explosion staying power that would be the envy of many rivals. Match-3 games are so popular because they simply scratch a mental itch for a lot of people they’re the gaming equivalent of popping bubble-wrap, you might say. Potion Explosion is a wonderful game for many reasons — the presentation, the little details, the varying potion effects, and so on - but the most important one is that it aims to add tactile enjoyment to the established match-3 formula; and it does so with wonderful aplomb.
Robinson Crusoe: Collector’s Edition
It is one of the most popular cooperative games around and has been the crown jewel of Portal Games’ catalogue for almost a decade. So, when word broke that Portal was releasing a souped-up Collector’s Edition with upgraded components and all-new scenarios, it was well-received to put it mildly!
After the Empire
The game is set in the Middle Ages, and tasks players with managing and defending their medieval lands from frequent assaults and invasions. This is a fairly new game that came to my attention recently, partly because of its clever gameplay but also because of its stunning components.
(Arjun is a gamer, book lover and an all-round renaissance man)