Title image for Alchemy Garden showing an alchemist staring at a bright, sparkly bottle above a glowing cauldron.

Alchemy Garden Review

Game: Alchemy Garden
Genre: Simulation, Lifestyle, Indie
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), Xbox One/X/S and PS4/5)
Developer | Publisher: MadSushi Games | JanduSoft
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $12.99 | UK £11.99 | EU € 12,99
Release Date: September 7th, 2023

Review code used, with many thanks to JanduSoft.

Fancy managing your own alchemy shop? Grow your own ingredients and concoct some amazing potions. Well, now you can, in Alchemy Garden. First released on PC in December 2022, it has now been ported to the Switch.

Will I be brewing up a delightful potion, or will it be a gooey mess?

Home Sweet Home

The alchemist standing in the shop area looking at the cracked floorboards. Three purple question mark blocks are nearby.
A helpful hint – don’t fall through the floor!

To start, you give your shop and character a name, and choose a look. You then launch into the game. There are several hint blocks to give advice, but there is no tutorial or explanation of the controls. Alchemy Garden lets you explore and discover in whichever way you want. You are provided with a basic bed (the only way to save is to sleep), a sales counter complete with a sales book, and an alchemy table.

As you wander around your home, you’ll find broken floorboards or damp-looking walls. Nearly every day, some part of your house will need a repair. Even if you upgrade to a different style, it will eventually need repairing. I thought this was going to be an early game objective, but it wasn’t, and after a while, it got a bit repetitive (as well as expensive!).

The alchemist standing by the mailbox, which has an exclamation mark above it.
You’ve got mail!

Outside, you’ll find a mailbox. Your first letter is from the Alchemist’s Guild, who gives you a set of tools. Every few days, they will inform you about the current potion demand, so you can stock accordingly. Apart from the watering can, tools will break after several uses. It’s possible to buy replacement ones from the village or make your own once you have a workbench.

An Alchemist’s Garden

The alchemist standing by a patch of growing flowers.
How does your garden grow?

There is a planting zone all around the house, with more land available to buy. The ‘farming’ in Alchemy Garden is similar to many games in this genre. You use a hoe to dig the ground; you plant a seed and then water every day until it grows. It takes energy to hoe and harvest, but not to water.

The alchemist bending down to pick a poppy.
Hoping for some seeds!

You can buy seeds, but as you start with no money, you really need to pick flowers and hope they drop a seed. You can find quite a few flowers each day around the different areas. The flora is split into spring/summer and autumn/winter varieties. However, there is no restriction on growing out-of-season plants.

I found watering an inconsistent activity. Sometimes, I could water 12 squares; at other times, I struggled to water 4. Having a couple of watering cans in your toolbar reduces the need to walk to the river to refill. Disappointingly, I never found a sprinkler.

Brewing Up A Potion

The brewing menu showing the current composition and known recipes.
What will this combination make?

Each flower belongs to one of 6 types, and it’s the combination of type that makes the potion. You already know the recipe for a healing potion (any three healing plants), but you need to experiment to find the others. Your journal keeps track of the successful recipes and discovered plants, but this is the only kind of collectable the Switch version of Alchemy Garden offers.

The cauldron mini-game, with a bubbling cauldron and bellows.
“Fire burn, and cauldron bubble” (Macbeth, Act 4 Scene 1)

The three crushed flowers go into the cauldron, and you use the bellows to get the temperature between the guidelines. It doesn’t matter if you go over; the temperature gauge soon drops.

Not all combinations will work, but there are 31 recipes in total to find. Any known combinations (success or failure) are shown in the results section of the brewing menu.

The sales counter menu, showing 2 potions of vision, 6 healing potions and 3 flash rates.
What to sell?

You can sell various items, not just potions, and it’s great that you can add multiples. The menu is fiddly to use and clearly designed for a mouse with the heading ‘drag and drop’.

The alchemist standing behind the counter, with a customer requesting a specific potion. A time wheel surrounding the potion icon showing how long the customer will wait.
Customer request.

If the potion isn’t available on the counter, the customer may ask for it. You then have a limited amount of time to produce the required item. Sometimes, the customer might haggle over price, and you play a mini-game to settle the dispute. The mini-game involves stopping the indicator over the highlighted section in a bar. Generally, I failed at haggling and had to settle for a lower-than-base price. You can dismiss the request, but the customer shakes their head in disgust! The shop condition and choice of items available contribute to customer satisfaction. More satisfaction means slightly higher prices.

What’s Beyond the Alchemy Garden Gate?

In Rosewood Ville, you’ll find four shops and a few villagers. Villagers can give assignments via the signboard, which earns extra cash. I like that the shops and villagers are available all the time.

Change appearance menu.
Change of look?

François Toupé can assist with any changes to your looks. This is the same menu as at the start of the game, although it now costs 500 to update yourself. There are 16 different faces and hair styles to choose from as well as five skin tones and a range of eye and hair colours.

Clothing vendor menu.
Change of clothes?

Patchy Goldthread sells a range of clothes and shoes at his tailor’s shop. However, the colours on the menu are difficult to distinguish. Once you purchase some clothes, you can change into them via the wardrobe in the corner of the shop.

Unfortunately, the other shopkeepers didn’t have names! I’ll name them Jasmine Bouquet, the seed vendor, and Woody Bark, the furniture vendor. I spent more money with Jasmine and Woody than any of the others. They sell the much-needed tools, as well as other decorative items.

Once a season, Pop the Traveller appears in the village. Pop sells different decorative items, and it’s worth buying a pond, as you can use it to refill your watering can. There is also a little mini-game festival each season, and although basic, you do win a special decoration for your house or garden.

As well as the village, there is a mine to collect various minerals for crafting, especially useful for iron ore. There is also a swamp area to discover, where different and rarer plants grow. Although luckily, you can still grow these exotic seeds in your Alchemy Garden.


The controls are not as user-friendly as they could be, although you get used to their quirks (pressing X to ‘close’ took a long time to remember). It is clear that the game has been designed for a mouse and keyboard; apart from the references to ‘drag’, moving through the inventory and storage is cumbersome, and sometimes it’s not possible to see all the items as the scroll bar doesn’t move.

Alchemy Garden is played in either first or third person. However, certain activities can only be done in a certain view. For example, to move a pond, you need to be in first-person view, but you need to be in third-person view to refill the watering can. Hoeing is easier in first-person, especially if you want to maximise the growing spots. However, Health and Safety dictates that you can’t run whilst carrying a tool!

I did encounter some juddering, but it didn’t disrupt the gameplay too much. However, my biggest disappointment was the text size. In docked mode, it was OK, but I played via a 48-inch TV. But in handheld playing was only possible because I knew roughly what kind of things I should be seeing.
There is no touchscreen functionality.

It takes about 1.5 minutes to play an in-game hour, so around 30 minutes to a full in-game (7 a.m. to 3 a.m.) day. Time still ticks whilst looking in chests and in your journal, but it does stop when you enter the village on festival days.

The music is pleasant and is in keeping with the game. The volume can be altered in the options menu, along with the camera speed and the ability to invert the Y-axis.


Alchemy Garden is a pleasant life sim, with growing flowers and making potions as the source of income to buy decorations for your house, shop and garden. At the moment, it’s more decorating than farming, but I hope the developers continue to invest time and passion in the game to expand its repertoire. Unfortunately, the port to the Nintendo Switch isn’t as smooth as it could be, which has lowered my final verdict.

Final Verdict: I Like it I like it

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