Whether you're tending to a hospital or theme park, management games can be quite a treat so here's the lovely Little Big Workshop.
Little Big Workshop has an innovative premise in that you manage a tiny workshop that exists on a desk. This imaginative setup immediately impressed me and watching little toy figures come to life as you hire new workers is nothing short of delightful. The point of the game is to manufacture items that you can either sell in a market or turn in to complete client-specific challenges. As you play, you'll climb the ranks on a leaderboard that's filled with goofy rival companies like Parasol which is a reference to Resident Evil's Umbrella Corporation and Cap'n Ohson's Ginger Soda which is weird because I'm literally drinking a can of ginger ale as I type this. Anyway, you'll also spend points on research and development in order to unlock new things and receive boosts as well as complete challenges that mark milestones which could be considered the main progression path. Needless to say, all of this is super-rewarding to do.
The gameplay loop of Little Big Workshop involves expanding your workshop by placing workbenches and machines, creating new rooms, and designating storage zones as well as hiring staff and filling out blueprints in order to dictate just how a product is manufactured. You'll have to consider things like using higher quality materials to create a better product at a price and splitting manufacturing between 2 stations to allow for a more efficient process. All of this is handled rather intuitively and watching the money come in as you expand your workshop is extremely satisfying stuff, especially when you begin to operate on a large scale and start making things like drones and bicycles which require enormously complex blueprint plans. Thankfully, following them doesn't require an engineering degree.
As you progress and expand, you'll discover plenty of intricacies that help make Little Big Workshop a varied experience. For example, using a billboard to link workstations so things can run more efficiently is quite clever and you may even have to exterminate invading pests from time to time. With that being said, some tasks aren't very intuitive and the in-game help can only assist you so much. For example, one of my machines was on the fritz and I couldn't figure out how to fix it even after I scheduled a repair for it. Of course, once you figure these kinds of things out, you'll have a much smoother experience. I just wish they were more self-explanatory.
Little Big Workshop is a very cute game and playing it can be quite relaxing, especially when you factor in the gentle piano-filled background music. I found zooming in to watch my workers up-close to be fun as they run around getting things together only to head to the break room shortly after for a coffee and game of chess. Plus, seeing all the desktop items outside of the play area is a charming touch. Oh, and the cast of clients and rivals is full of unique characters that add a welcome layer of personality.
Finally, one aspect about Little Big Workshop that disappointed me is that it only consists of a sandbox mode. This makes the scope of the gameplay rather small as all you do is grow your workshop. Sure, that's a fun and rewarding thing to do but it's a big contrast with something like Two Point Hospital which features many stages to master with each being its own distinct sandbox experience. This also makes the visuals become rather tiresome because you look at the same thing throughout with no environmental changes.
Management sim fans will find Little Big Workshop to be an enjoyable game to wind down with. Its adorable aesthetics and rewarding progression systems make for a wonderful time and there are a lot of clever intricacies to discover as you expand your business.
- + Comprehensive simulation gameplay that makes running a workshop rewarding and fun
- + Cute graphics and music
- + Plenty of clever intricacies
- - Scope is small with only a sandbox mode
- - Some tasks are confusing and unintuitive
- - Could use a variety of stages