“Behind it’s potato-covered exterior, Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! is a game filled to the brim with fun.”
I want to start by saying yes; this game is about as loopy as it sounds. But what else would you expect from a game called Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?!? Thankfully, Daylight Studios (creators of Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!) have put maximum effort into making their game as entertaining to play as it is silly to perceive, putting together a title that is much more than just a gimmick. With publishing direction from the veterans at Daedalic Entertainment (Deponia, Memoria) on board as well, this is one that you might want to strap in for.
In short, the game is a heavily FTL-inspired intergalactic adventure game. As opposed to its inspiration however, which largely focussed on strategically attempting to even survive the journey, Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! is heavily story driven as well. If the crew management side of the game provides the game’s strong skeleton, the story is the flesh on top. It follows that your captain has been lost in the vastness of space following an epic battle, and through flyaway mini quests and unrelentingly quirky references you must travel the galaxy to find him and get him back. It’s a space opera story as old as time, but in this bizarre new context it still manages to hold up.
The story isn’t all that substantial on its own, and it relies on A LOT of random nonsense along the way, but the game’s characters make any weaknesses wholly unnoticeable. With wacky, contrasting attitudes, each person on your vessel and those that you meet along the way make up an epic but unlikely cast of protagonists. Ignoring the fact that most (if not all) are some form of vegetable, you can really connect with the humour and simply let your hair down to enjoy it. The two central characters, Cassie and Fay, have one of the most fantastically silly relationships that I have ever seen in a video game, and obnoxious as it is to start with it eventually becomes inexplicably entertaining anyway.
Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! will have attracted a lot of its player base through its gameplay. FTL was a well-loved title, and rightly so, and this game offers a similar experience. Personally however, I felt that there is much more than just that at play. Crew organisation, critical decision making, combat gameplay and systems management on your vessel each feel very similar. Trading, researching, crafting and and story however stand out in Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! as being something extra on top. These features feel much like games such as classic space adventure game Freelancer, or more recently Elite. They are not as “serious” as in those titles, but are still solid in the wider game experience.
To keep your adventure trundling along, you must hire crew, improve your weapons, research upgrades for your ship and ensure you have the necessary fuel and resources to make each trip. Whilst all of this is very easy to manage in the game, it gives it the depth it needs to hold up amongst its competition. Ultimately, these systems are what takes the game from the silly romp realms into the fabulous space opera that against all the odds it manages to be.
There is also a level of intensity in the game that keeps things grounded in the story. The chase is on as the enemy continues to catch up with you throughout the course of your many adventures. You can only spend so long in each system you visit, meaning that managing your time and activities efficiently is key. This threat never feels overwhelming, but the knowledge that it exists encourages you to keep up with the pace that the game is intended to be played with.
Behind it’s potato-covered exterior, Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! is a game filled to the brim with fun. It has a solid story, albeit surprisingly so, and intense, exciting gameplay where one wrong move can quickly make or break your mission. And whilst the game isn’t intrinsically hard, the developers have created something which always leaves you feeling lightly challenged as you play. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised by the game, but at the same time I was also entertained and impressed. I don’t believe that anyone could play Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! and not have fun with it. For the gamer looking for a more casual example of the FTL model and with an open minded sense of humour, I’d even say this was a must have!