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Little Big Workshop

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 13 - 2020

There is a factory on my desk.

 
Management sims are one of those genres that very successfully made the jump from being a PC genre to working very well on consoles. While the whole keyboard and mouse control method remains the most precise for these types of games, plenty of titles have made a very good job of adapting to a controller, allowing the genre to flourish on home consoles. Hospitals and theme parks may be the most popular businesses to manage, but recently the production line sim has been gathering players, and Mirage Game Studios’ charming Little Big Workshop has recently arrived on consoles. Challenging players to build up a thriving production business, Little Big Workshop brings both relaxing gameplay and impressive depth to console players looking to flex their management skills.

 


 
It is the visual charm of Little Big Workshop that will initially attract most players. I am a sucker for games played in miniature, and the fact that this game is entirely set on a desk really appeals. Much of the gameplay will see the player focused on what is going on in their little factory, but occasionally glimpsing the world beyond the factory and spotting a large coffee stain for example quickly reminds that this production business is really little. Watching the workers go about their business with their cute, exaggerated features is great, but when a new worker is added as a model that then comes to life creates a real sense of joy. Of course, the bright, colourful visuals and smooth animations all add to what is a very nice looking game.

 
When it comes to the gameplay though, players will have to put their serious hats on. A solid tutorial will guide the player through most of the basics, allowing them to get their business up and running. Of the control scheme, it all works nicely as pretty much everything is assigned to radial menus and while it may not be as precise as a PC control system, it does come close.

 


 
Little Big Workshop is all about the production line. Once the player decides what they are going to make, the raw materials are delivered and stored in the factory, and then workers will take the materials to the workbenches and manufacture the individual parts. These will then be placed in storage for another worker to gather up and put together into the finished product, which will then be picked up and taken away in exchange for cash. However, there is a lot more going on, and as the player starts making more and more complex products, things will get much more difficult.

 
Things to think about include the fact that there are different workbenches for different things, depending on whether the product requires working with wood, metal, plastic or fabric for example. This will mean placing multiple workbenches within the factory. Taking into account that there needs to be dedicated places to store materials or part built items, placement of the benches will also have to be aware that the little workers will need to be able to move around. They tend to slow down a lot if movement is difficult, delaying the whole process.

 
The little workers also need to be looked after, as they will get tired through all of this hard work. Setting aside some space for the workers to sit and rest, maybe have something to eat and drink, is important as without it they will get worn out. A worn out worker will collapse on the floor and remain there for quite some time, leaving the player down one worker and with everything else being delayed.

 


 
Being as efficient as possible is the name of the game, and this will all start in the planning phase. Here, the product is broken down into steps where the player can choose the material they want to use for each component before assigning its production to a workbench. A shelf may only need a couple of parts to be combined for a finished product, but more complex products can have many different steps before a final product can be sold.

 
The player can take a look at the market to see what is selling well before they choose what to produce from the impressively large catalogue. Of course, this depends on what equipment they have in their factory, and both buying new equipment and expanding the size of the factory will come down to how much money they have available. Other than choosing what to make, the player will also be given orders from a variety or very quirky characters. These orders have a time limit, but the rewards are worth it. With milestones to reach and other businesses to compete with, there is always a reason to keep producing.

 


 
There may be a lot to think about in Little Big Workshop, from planning the product to placing the equipment, but it still manages to have a laid back feel that never gets frustrating or overly stressful. Mistakes do not punish the player too much, and the charming visuals and sense of humour keep everything light hearted. It may be slightly niche, but players looking to manage a production line will be able to happily lose hours in Little Big Workshop.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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