Game Review: Littletown, Early Access

Littlewood is “a peaceful RPG” game by Sean Young of SmashGames. Set in the time just after your character saved the world from a dark wizard, Littlewood is all about rebuilding and the calm that follows the storm. According to the Kickstarter, Sean’s influences on this game are Animal Crossing, Dark Cloud, and Runescape.

Story

The game begins with you waking up at your friend Willow’s house. You apparently saved the world from a dark wizard, but have no memory of the events before waking. Willow names you the new (pick your own title) of (pick your own town name). Having free control of your title is fantastic. Want to be a King and rule on high or just a simple, small-town Mayor. It’s up to you.

As of the current build (July 6, 2019), there does not appear to be any personal story elements in the game (yet) aside from the introduction.

Gameplay

Just like your favorite farming sims, like Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and Stardew Valley, Littlewood returns with all the expected mechanics – in a surprisingly chill way.

Mining & Wood Cutting: Exactly as you expect.

Town Building & Decorating: Any time someone requests to move into your town, you can build them a house. Place the house wherever you feel like. You can terraform your town with three ground heights. Add water where you want to, and decorate your town with statues, shrubs, and flowers. The amount of decor pieces you can place is limited at first.*

Inside houses, you can decorate. Build a desk within each house to learn the person’s wishes, and decorate accordingly.

Farming: Put down tilled soil and you can select crops to plant. You start with a limited number of plants, but you can increase the number when you upgrade your town with perks. The same is true for fruit trees. Put fruit on the ground to place a tree – no waiting a month for it to grow. You also start limited and can unlock more.*

The best part about the farm – crops are not dependant on season, they all grow in two days, and if you want to move your whole garden, you can pick it up and do so. Deleting plants and fruit trees put the crop in your inventory for planting again later. No waste.

Caring for animals is less tedious. No daily milking or feeding. A dark yellow exclamation point means the animal wants to eat something. Providing that fruit or vegetable (or another item) levels it up. The higher the level, the more likely a gold version is produced. When a lighter yellow exclamation point appears over the animal, you can collect your animal product (milk, egg, mushroom, fleece).

Fishing: Talk to Dudley after you build his house and you’ll get your fishing rod. Drop your line in a square next to the fish. As soon as it splashes, pull it in. Simple. *Scoffs at Stardew*

*Town Upgrades: From the Town Hall, you can upgrade your town by increasing the number of spawn points for bugs and fish, prices of goods, and the number of town decor, fruit trees, and farming plots.

Each building and most locations have upgrade options as well. Increase the spawns of rarer materials, bonus crafted goods, and unlock new shops.

Relationships: Relationships don’t degrade! To improve relationships, you can talk to each person once a day, compliment one person per day, and select someone to follow you around while you work. Taking someone with you improves your relationship periodically and grants you bonus currency.

Energy: There is no clock. Day and night cycles depend solely on the amount of energy you have.  If you max your energy, you get prompted to go to bed. Work any more and you’ll fall asleep where you stand, costing you 25% of your energy the following day.

My Thoughts

I (*expletive*) love this game. It takes all the best parts of Harvest Moon and distills them down into the essence that makes it most enjoyable. All tedious chores are gone – except the ore and wood farming, which may not have been so bad if I leveled my areas in a better order.

You can care about or not care about who or whatever you fancy. Never want to talk to Willow again (after you get her buildings, of course) – you don’t have to! Never want to fish? Don’t! And for the completionists out there (ahem… myself…) watching those percent bars rise is thrilling and completing collections and maxing upgrades feels rewarding.

Speaking of rewards… completing house decorations for your neighbors is anticlimactic. It’s tough work to find all the recipes and craft all the items, and getting a small monetary sum is a letdown. Maybe it’s still early.

So far, I’ve caught every fish in the game and all bugs except 3 goliath beetles. I’ve finished house decorations in all but two. All of my skills are 75%-95% completed. I’ve purchased all decorative items and learned all but 6 cooking recipes. I’ve maxed my personal journal quests and all buildings. I’m stoked for the next content installment and for this game to be completed.

 

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