Management simulation games are often a guilty pleasure of mine. They allow you to playout what it would be like to run a successful business without any real-life repercussions such as crippling debt or bailiffs at the door. Little Big Workshop developed by Mirage Game Studios is no different as you’ll start your business endeavours in becoming a rich factory tycoon.
One of the first things I noticed about Little Big Workshop is the adorable visuals. From the onset, you’re thrown onto a busy work desk where several chunky yet funky office objects are scattered across the desk. These range from graph paper, an old-school red telephone, and my personal favourite, a calculator that spells out hello upside-down. These objects look oversized compared to your factory headquarters that takes centre stage in the middle of the desk.
Don’t let its delightful aesthetics trick you, as Little Big Workshop will require you to pay attention. If not, your business will go bust very quickly. From the beginning, you’re introduced to a very helpful tutorial that shows you the basics of the game. If you ever forget any details, there’s a handy help section that you can access at any time.
As you’re the new factory owner around the block, you need to build client relations. To build your reputation with a client they will request the factory to make a product for them. The client will ask for a certain number to be produced within a time-limit. From here, you’ll have to get your factory up and running, by purchasing workstations, hiring employees, and building zones to place production goodies.
To build the product in question you’ll have to enter planning mode that is basically a glorified blueprint. It looks really daunting at first, but I found myself adapting to it quickly. Basically, it’s broke down into two main parts. The first part is picking what material you will be using to build the product. Keeping in mind, that certain materials will cost you more money. Secondly, it’s time to choose what workstation will be selected, as only some material can be used on a few workstations. When all the finer details are decided it’s time to execute your plan.
However, client contracts are not the only way of making some dough as you can go to the market to see what products are on demand. Depending on the market prices you can decide to produce stock to sell. The products on the market can range from mountain bikes, skateboards to rubber ducks. I don’t know about you, but a factory filled with rubber ducks is exactly how I want to run my business. You’ll have to be careful because after a period of time the markets will refresh and not only will the prices change but the demand for the product could disappear entirely.
If you really want to make some serious wonga you’ll have to invest the majority of your time supplying the demands of the market. Although you can freestyle what products you want to tackle next, whether that’s from clients’ contracts or the market. There are also milestones you can achieve that will gain you more access to advance products. Ultimately, the aim of the game is to reach the top of the ranking amongst all the other factories, and how you achieve that is down to you.
Apparently, your workforce has no life outside of work hours, and the phrase nine to five doesn’t exist. So, they never leave the factory headquarters and are always in a state of employment. This is why a breakroom is important to build for your employees as it’s the only escapism they truly know. You can fill breakrooms with coffee and snack vending machines to help with breakpoint capacity. Whereas buying a foosball table and radio will help breakpoint recovery. If you don’t build a breakroom your workforce will collapse onto the ground. A bunch of fainted workmen on the floor doesn’t sound like it’s following health and safety guidelines.
Later down the line, you’ll earn points that you can spend on research and development which will unlock abilities. These include buying new plots so you can expand your factory empire, upgrading operators to specialists, and buying billboards that help distribute workload among workstations. I found billboards a real game-changer when it came to time management and managing the production line.
Every once in a while, unwelcomed visitors will head towards your factory that you’ll have to send packing. And I’m not referring to the taxman. The little blights come in the form of gnomes, rats, and thieves. If left unattended these menaces will cause havoc in your factory. How you address each one is different. For instance, you’ll have to shoot down the rats with a cannon that seems like a rather drastic action. Honestly, these intruders almost felt like a mini-game that was very off-putting and disrupted me from concentrating on what products were being made at the time.
Sadly, the game crashed on several occasions, which seemly occurred every time I expanded the factory. This was a shame because until this point I had nothing but high praise for the game mechanics. Hopefully, these issues can be fixed with patches but it’s hard to recommend the game in its current state when I’ve lost several hours of gameplay due to crashes.
My experience with Little Big Workshop was a mixed bag. The management simulation side was spot on. I really enjoyed building my factory from scratch, the planning around the products, and the market value fluctuating like the sea tide. But, there were several drawbacks. The intruders felt unnecessary and the number of game crashes that popped up made playing the game, not a smooth experience. It’s like there’s a fault line running underneath the factory itself. Nevertheless, if they can potentially sort out some of these issues with a patch, I could very much see myself returning to this game.
Little Big Workshop PS4 Review
Overall - Not Bad - 5.5/10
Little Big Workshop is an enjoyable management simulation game with a cute style to boot. Unfortunately, with the game crashes getting out of hand in the later parts – it hurts the overall gameplay experience.
- Adorable visuals
- Building the factory and products are fun
- The market keeps the game interesting
- The unwelcomed intruders felt like a weird mini-game
- The game crashes a lot in its current form
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.