Game: Nora: The Wannabe Alchemist
Genre: Casual, Farming Sim
System: Steam (Windows, Linux & macOS)
Developer|Publisher: Error 300
Controller Support: No
Price: US $ TBC | UK £ TBC | EU € TBC
Release Date: March 26th, 2022
Review code use, with many thanks to Novy Unlimited PR.
So You Want To Be an Alchemist
Witchcraft school dropout Nora can’t seem to keep her houseplants alive, much less excel at alchemy, but her dream is to become a famous alchemist. This is the basic setup of the game. At the very beginning, you are kicked out of a witchcraft school for causing a rather explosive accident. With no other options available, Nora decides to move into the house she shared with her grandmother.
This isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds, though. The house is dirty and run-down, and the garden in the back has either no plants or they’re dead. After a quick cleaning of the house, you head into town to introduce yourself to your future neighbours. The first stop is the local shopkeeper who sells some plants. After hearing about your situation, she sponsors your first plant and gives you your first objective.
Thoroughly exploring the house also adds another objective in the form of a bookcase that is blocking the door. This objective requires paying attention to what you would need from what you can make and is not really possible until you complete the shopkeeper’s request.
Brewing Some Money
Early on, you unlock the workshop, which is where you use the ingredients you grow in your garden to make potions for people to use. This is where you make most of your money in the game, which you will definitely need. The basic end-game goal comes in the form of a reply to a letter that you send to the school that expelled you. Turns out they are willing to let you get your qualification through correspondence, but only if you pay them for the damage you caused before your expulsion.
This is obviously a very high amount that, in the beginning, seems almost impossible to achieve, but as you progress, you unlock more recipes that people are willing to pay more money for. So the game sets up the main loop that you will be going through. Head to the garden to harvest what you can. Go to the shop to buy what you need to brew the required potion, like glass vials or upgrade some of your equipment. Then head to your workshop to brew the potions requested by your customers.
However, it can be very challenging to get started in the very beginning. You don’t earn a lot selling the ingredients from your plants directly to the shopkeeper, but it is enough to get started. The main worry is accidentally killing your only plant before you have the money to buy more, but the game’s tutorial is very good at explaining how to avoid this.
The Sounds and Look of Alchemy in Progress
The sounds and music in Nora: The Wannabe Alchemist range from good to adequate. With various actions being clear and distinct. The music is calm and suits the game’s mood, though since there is only one track per area, some of them could become slightly grating after several hours of play.
As for the visuals, the art style is cute and detailed enough to carry what little story is necessary. The intro cinematic is nicely animated and suits the visuals in the rest of the game. The art overall is cute and simple but effective.
The Smell of Burnt Potion
Overall, there aren’t that many negative things to complain about. The tutorial is clear and explains the concepts of each part of the game very well. As mentioned earlier, some of the tracks can become a little irritating during long play sessions, but overall they are still enjoyable.
The story is simple but is the right amount that this sort of game needs in my opinion. It is just enough to set you up with the premise and give you a clear end goal.
Even though the start can seem a little rocky, Nora: The Wannabe Alchemist is a fun little game to while away a few hours and is highly recommended for those looking for a low-stress farming/crafting game.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot