I dived into Little Big Workshop expecting a charming tycoon game that would be easy and fun to play.
The graphics, animations, and texts are fun and light-hearted. The music is calm and relaxing. So your first impression is that you’re starting an easy and relaxing game and for the most part, it is.
Fast forward two hours …
A warning sign is flashing, telling you that you need to fire workers and sell machines or you’ll go bankrupt and lose the game.
You need to stop everything and find out which of your workers are spies before they break your machines.
Items are all over the place and you’re scratching your head looking at that medium level blueprint that requires several machines and more than 15 operations to make a single unit.
Little Big Workshop is light-hearted but good depth lies under the cute graphics. The systems are complex and there is a lot of problems solving and optimizing to be done. I was pleasantly surprised.
It does not have the depth of an Oxygen Not Included, but it is way more complex than a Stardew Valley. Players that expect it to be easy and simple might feel overwhelmed.
Let’s have a look at the gameplay.
You start with two workers, three small rooms and a loading bay.
From there, you’ll need to select items that you want to craft and sell on the market. Each of them is associated with a blueprint with a list of operations that need to be done in a specific order at the right workstations.
Blueprints start out simple. For example, a plastic duck requires only two operations. You mold raw plastic into a duck at an injection press and you then paint the plastic duck at a paint station and its ready to sell.
But soon, you’ll be tackling tables, barbecues, and chairs. And then minicars and robotics.
I don’t want to scare you but here’s a blueprint I just unlocked for a robot. I believe each unit requires 30 or 40 different operations and I have no idea how I’ll deal with it yet.
Logistics are getting real.
Something I like is that this level of complexity and problem solving is not forced on you. You could if you wanted to find success by keeping things simple and mass producing tons of easy products.
With the right choices, going all-in the plastic ducks becomes a viable strategy.
Logistics, storage, and morale
A good part of the challenge of the game lies in designing the room and placing the workstations in the right place.
You also quickly need to learn about storage zones. The way they work isn’t obvious but they are an incredible asset that helps to have an efficient flow of materials to the right workstations.
Getting good at designing storage zones saves tons of back and forth.
Another detail that you’ll need to monitor throughout the game is your worker’s morale. They’ll need a break now and then and head over to the closest break room that has refreshments available.
This once again requires carefully choosing the location and design of break rooms. Workers that can’t get refreshments will simply collapse on the floor for several hours, slowing down your production.
In my case, designing a workshop that worked well as a case of trial and error as well as little tweaks over time.
Getting a good flow after trying things felt very satisfying.
- + Fun to play
- + Good depth and complexity
- + Several viable ways to succeed
- + Great price for the amount of content
- - Mechanics aren’t always well explained
- - Events can be annoying
- 8.5 / 10