There can never be too many science fiction roleplaying games, even if your protagonists are two energetic tubers. Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! is Daylight Studios new RPG where you recruit a crew, equip your ship and take off to explore the depths of space — fending off vicious enemies whose weapons are terrible, and their puns are even worse. Did I mention that the whole universe was populated by root vegetables?
Taters Gonna Tate…
Although the premise of the game is ridiculous, and the puns flow thick and furious, beneath the humorous exterior is a fun and light RPG that will keep you busy for hours. Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! Taking on the role of Cassie and Fay, you will search the galaxy for your missing Grandfather, Jiji, who has been taken prisoner by the oppressive federation, The Eclipse. Starting with a very basic ship and crew, its up to you to get your vessel combat worthy for the fight, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of The Eclipse. Starting with a basic ship, explore planets in each galaxy in order to build up $tarch (money) and crafting resources, then upgrade your ship with new facilities, weapons and crew. You will only have a certain number of turns to accomplish your objective and jump to the next galaxy before The Eclipse catches up with you and puts you in the ground.
All of the vegetable themed characters are stylishly drawn, bringing cartoonishly vegetable versions of popular characters from comics, anime, video games and real life into your crew. If you’ve ever wondered what an potato version of Harrison Ford looks like when it’s angry, you’re in luck. The ships and enemies you fight have a surprising amount of variety, and each usually comes packed with a witty pun to make you roll your eyes at the start of combat.
…But I Don’t Carrot All
Once you get past the groan-worthy humor and pop-culture references, you’ll find a surprisingly deep RPG system in the guise of a family friendly game. Hire pop-culture inspired characters like Eggward Norton or Dom Diddleston, each having a specialization that will affect the operation of your ship. Crafting specialists improve the quality of weapons you can make, combat specialists affect your performance in battle, or errand specialists might save you money and resources when you craft. Each character has a unique combination of four different skills, each skill having five ranks to learn. To take advantage of each crewmember’s specialization they will need to be assigned to a particular room on the ship, with each task taking a number of valuable turns to complete.
Upgrade your crew quarters to hold more crew, your crafting station to allow multiple projects to be worked on simultaneously, or your bridge to be able to control more weapons in combat. Craft new and more powerful weapons using the templates and resources you loot from your defeated enemies, but make sure you’re using your most skilled crewmembers to build and operate them in order to get the most bank for your buck. There is a huge assortment of weapons in many different categories, each with different quality levels and ranks to add even more variety, all of which offers so many strategic options during battle that balancing weapons and the right crew can turn a solid defeat into a handy victory.
In the turn-based combat, you will have a limited amount of energy each round to fire your weapons (upgrade your generator to improve your stored charge or your recharged power each round), and each weapon consumes a different amount of energy. It will be up to you what weapons you want to fire each round, and at what targets on the enemy ship, all the while positioning your shields for maximum protection from return fire. Defeating your enemy can result in salvaged weapons and fuel, but sometimes you can negotiate their surrender for a fat wad of $tarch, limiting the damage to your ship as you move on to your next encounter. There are many choices to be made in combat, and you will have to replace any weapons that get destroyed, so its up to you whether or not you want to press your luck when the chips are down. Luckily the game isn’t too punitive if you die, allowing you to reload your save from the beginning of the encounter, from the last time you visited the Hub station, or from the point at which you entered the current galaxy, so you can rework your strategy easily without feeling like the game doesn’t respect your time.
Visiting a new galaxy will begin a new mini-mission that you have to complete in order to advance the plot before The Eclipse catch up to you. Each one begins with a humorous cutscene and an oddly familiar (but legally distinct) title placard to set the mood. Typically you will have to travel to several planets in each galaxy, exploring each one for your objectives. Once you’ve finished the mission, you can continue to explore the galaxy to build up your ship, but remember that you’ll have to return to the jumpgate at the Hub in order to flee from The Eclipse, so don’t forget to factor in travel time!
Each planet has a rating for difficulty and size, which affects how many encounters in a row you will have to complete to finish the exploration. Since each exploration only takes one turn, exploring the largest, most difficult planet you can handle is most efficient for building up your ship between missions. You will encounter various types of ships, and sometimes random events that can reward or punish you, or sometimes even earn you unique crew members if you’re lucky enough. The events are randomly generated so it will be a different experience each time.
A Bit Corny
Although I appreciated the humor and the bizarre synthesis of pop culture references and vegetables, there were times when the tone of the story wore a little thin for me. Particularly when events during exploration missions were repeated multiple times, allowing the player to learn which answer always produced a positive result, removing all peril from the choice.
Towards the end of the game, once I had built up a substantial number of S class weapons and paired them with weapons that would heal the most damaged component of your ship, a lot of the challenge was blunted in the game. I’m not certain if I just happened to get a good drop on unique weapons, which is certainly possible, but I found that my difficulty curve dropped off in the last third of the game, making the combat somewhat repetitive when I was an unstoppable weapon destroying juggernaut.
I’m Rooting For Them
Even still, I found myself enjoying Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! a great deal, and it made me want to play its thematically related predecessor Holy Potatoes! A Weapons Shop?!, which I took to be a good sign. Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! was a very enjoyable light RPG that offered hours and hours of entertainment for a price that cannot be beet.
See that Daylight Studios? That’s what it feels like.