Hey there, hero! You’ve saved the day once again. Evil has been defeated. Way to go! But what happens next? When the credits roll, what becomes of the world left behind? Littlewood, the debut title from Sean Young, explores that very question, as you trade in the life of a hero for one of city planning, left to rebuild following a great battle with no memory of your previous life. It’s a novel idea, and although it borrows heavily from other, more complex town sims, it’s an utterly charming, uncomplicated affair that this writer hasn’t been able to put down for days.
For those of you familiar with Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, you’ll recognise features in Littlewood immediately. Gameplay is seasonal, with 30 days per season and special events taking place throughout. Every day, you’ll be free to tackle activities that use up your daily supply of energy. Mining, fishing, farming, gathering, cooking, woodcutting, crafting, bug catching, and plenty more mean you’ll be the handiest and dandiest of mayors. You’ll start by building houses, but soon you’ll be fixing your town up with a shop, museum, coffee shop, tavern, forge etc., all of which can be upgraded with materials to improve their performance. A hot air balloon will whisk you off to nearby areas like the endless forest and the dust caverns, where rare resources can be gathered quickly.
However, unlike Stardew, there’s no real combat mechanic here, and it’s more a case of avoiding the enemies until you can gather what you need. In fact, everything in Littlewood feels like the “lite” version of more complex town sims already in the gamingsphere right now. Farming plays a role, but with no watering required or different growing times or prerequisites for each crop. Town layout can be adjusted with easy-to-use tools allowing you to alter any terrain at any time, including lifting and moving any buildings or decorations without penalty. For me, someone that finds the micromanagement of Stardew just a little too much, Littlewood is the perfect solution, offering an idiot-proof experience where mistakes can’t really be made.
But what’s the good in rebuilding a world without friends? Fortunately, your life in Littlewood is full of them and they all play a key role. Some have known you for a long time, having fought beside you against dark forces. Others have made the pilgrimage to meet the fabled hero that saved the world. Others simply have nowhere else to go, blacklisted from other towns for one reason or another. Regardless of who you meet or how they come to be there, every character has a distinct personality, and although dialogue can repeat after some time, the writing is fresh and funny, and I found myself talking to them all every day. Romance options are there and completely unrestricted across gender and race too, which is lovely.
Everything is tied up nicely in a delightful pixel art presentation, and a soundtrack that provides just enough variety to satisfy, though it would have been nice to see Sean develop a full, varied OST in the same way that Concerned Ape did for Stardew.
Littlewood is heavily inspired by some big hitters in the genre and, for some people, what’s on offer here won’t go into enough depth to keep them satisfied for long. But for those who enjoy the most casual of experiences, Littlewood delivers it with charm and personality: a perfect pick-up-and-play experience that never punishes the player for not paying attention.
Littlewood Review £11.00
Littlewood will charm the pants off you with its delightful world and characters, but mechanically feels like the lite version of more established management sims out there. Providing that’s what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with this little gem.