Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?! is ostensibly a sequel to Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, but that isn't the first game that springs to mind upon playing it.
Yes, this is another isometric mid-core strategy-management game from Daylight Studios, and it's set in the same anthropomorphic vegetable universe.
There is one vital point of similarity with Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! that we haven't mentioned yet, though - it's really rather good.
Spud, the final frontier
The game stars a pair of space-exploring spud sisters, Cassie and Fay, as they scour the universe for their legendary hero granddad in their battered space cruiser.
In true FTL style, you're only given so much time in which to explore the current star system before an implacable foe catches up to you. You must use your limited 'sols' (essentially in-game days) wisely to upgrade your ship, hire new crew members, and research new technologies.
Mainly, though, you need to spend your time exploring and fighting in order to acquire the necessary loot - both in the form of raw crafting materials and currency - to progress.
There's a surprisingly involved choose-your-own-adventure story underpinning everything here, and plenty of random side-missions to embark on as you warp towards a resolution.
The tone of the whole thing is, as you might expect, very light and tongue-in-cheek. The writing is sharp and sassy, and the game is packed full of pop culture references and awful/brilliant puns.
Combat in HPWiS is essentially a simplified take on FTL. Unlike the latter game, you're not really concerned with the movement of your crew or the internal workings of your ship.
Rather, you're solely focused on trading shots with pirate pumpkins and looting leeks. The strategy is all in targeting the appropriate point of the opposing ship, either taking out individual weapons or going straight for the hull.
The most interesting point of difference here is the shield system. You only get one force field, which needs to be shifted each turn to protect the most vulnerable component, leading to some enjoyably fraught decisions.
All in all, then, Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?! is an incredibly engrossing yet highly welcoming strategy game. But it's not perfect.
Looking a little tatty
There are multiple niggly UI issues here. It's not super-easy to decipher individual ship components in the battle screen, for example.
Navigating the in-ship sections feels more laborious than it needs to be, too. The drag-and-drop system for researching or building weapons is a little flakey, while the press-and-hold information pop-ups do so right under your thumb.
Zooming in and out of individual rooms is also a bit of a pain. It's crying out for a fluid pinch-to-zoom system, while the crew side-bar feels like it could be put to much better use.
These are all the kind of minor annoyances that keep Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?! short of greatness, but they shouldn't dissuade anyone from giving it a try. This is a thoroughly charming, accessible strategy-management game that feels like an easy-going alternative to the stresses and strains of FTL.