When a management software arrives on the console it is always a special moment, and the same goes for Little Big Workshop, which is a very interesting, albeit simplistic title. Released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and macOS and developed by Mirage Game Studios, is the "living" proof that management systems can have their space even on consoles, if the controls are well mapped to match the comfort of the pad. As in all games of the genre, it will start from scratch and very slowly, then become of money grinder machines, almost at the level of the state mint. But let's see together what it is.
A small workshop for large operations
In Little Big Workshop everything will start from a table, with two little men who will find themselves having to work on it to start managing and expanding their business. Once they get started, there will come a short tutorial where they will come basic functions explained so as to understand how to best manage this great little workshop. In this place, in fact, we will not specialize in the creation of particular tools, but we will create what the market needs, from chairs to garden gnomes. Yet, despite the "smallness" and tenderness of the graphics, which we will talk about later, the production hides enormous potential.
As in all games of the genre, the cornerstone of the experience will be the happiness of our workers and especially of the customers. If the workers are happy to work, their efficiency will improve visibly, while if customers are happy with our products, then they will be pushed to come back to us to have more and more beautiful (and equally complicated) objects created. If everything it will start from a wood workbench, you will end up testing objects that they are created with heat and plastic.
Obviously, a company it is nothing without organization. Every single object that we want to build will have to be planned down to the smallest detail, from the selection of the station to the position of the finished product, passing through the materials and their cost. To increase the working speed it will be possible to link more banks, so as not to occupy a permanent one, which means a single worker who will have to manage and create everything by himself. The more an object becomes complex to produce, the more money you makebut that also means having to spend more time and having to hire more workers. As for our small and tender assumptions, these will be characterized by stars that will be very important to fill. How you do it? Simply by making them work, so that they can "level up" and, consequently, improve their performance and efficiency. The harder the object to create, the faster this star will fill.
But what is a company without the R&D sector? Yes, we will have to keep an eye on that too, because sooner or later we will need better machinery, and this is where they will unlock. But beware: you will also need space. If at first it is possible to have "phenomenal cosmic powers, in a tiny living space", at some point it will be completely impossible to manage the space. That will be the moment when you will have to literally remodel the walls, so as to be able to build other rooms. One of the funniest features is definitely the market; here we will have a series of objects to build and based on supply and demand (together with the cost of production), we will be able to decide what to do. Furthermore, it will be important to have standard customers to keep happy, so that they entrust us with particular challenges to be completed, which very often are reduced only to "build a certain object in a certain amount of time". A small wasted chance, that anyway manages to be fun (and stressful).
Despite being a management software, pad in hand is very easy to control, the mapping of the commands is excellent and allows everyone, even those who have never touched a title like this, to understand each mechanic without difficulty, especially because Little Big Workshop's difficulty is increasing and, therefore, offers all the time necessary to enter into the playful dynamics present, so as to be able to better manage the various situations that can be faced and make the most of their abilities.
The weak point
Despite being very pleasing to the eye, Little Big Workshop looks a bit gaunt, particularly for regarding the style used. Everything is very colorful, so much that it seems like a game within a game, as if children were having fun "being grown up" and organizing a company, but during our test we perceived a strange feeling of lack, as if the product appeared well done, but also a little anonymous. The music is of excellent quality and, despite being present in a rather small number, they never tire. The same thing happens for the sound effects, which succeed to put the right emphasis on the cartoon effect already triggered by the graphic style adopted by the developers. The peculiar sound effect chosen to give voice to the various small characters present inside Little Big Workshop is also very nice and fun, which it almost seems to come from The Sims.
So we come to the most interesting part for our portfolio. Is Little Big Workshop worth buying? The answer is yes, the title does exactly what it is supposed to do. The playful part is very complex, even if it lacks some details that could upset the most avid fans of the genre. What is certain is its potential as a first management game. Thankfully, the title appears easily also manageable on console and the infinite possibilities that you have in terms of gameplay make it extremely long-lived. Simply put, Little Big Workshop it is a title that is worth its price.