Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen a rise in cosy, comfy games that emphasise relaxing gameplay and creativity. Littlewood is a charming addition.
Available now on Nintendo Switch after an initial PC release in August last year, Littlewood is a life sim game from one-man developer Sean Young, which sees you building a town, romancing the residents, and dabbling in activities like mining, farming and adventuring.
So far, so Stardew Valley. The twist here, though, is that this all takes place after the world has been saved. You play as a customisable hero who wakes up at the end of a typical fantasy RPG having defeated the evil dark wizard. Now you must rebuild your life in a cute little town brimming with potential.
With the help of a couple of townsfolk, you’ll soon be busy with a number of activities. Clear weeds, forage for fruit and chop down trees to collect resources. Build a marketplace to sell your wares. Add an airship platform to fly to distant towns, explore forest and mining regions for resources, and meet new characters.
Soon you’ll have a bustling little town that will attract new townsfolk. They’ll have their own demands you’ll need to meet, and with limited energy each game day, you’ll need to prioritise which activities and characters are most important to you.
Managing so many things to do may seem overwhelming, but in reality individual tasks are all very simple. You’re rewarded with experience just for engaging in activities, so you’re free to play the game in any way you like and will always be rewarded. There are plenty of customisation options to complement your play style too as you tinker with building placement, terraforming and town decorations.
One of the most important aspects of this genre of game is romance, of course, and Littlewood is no exception. From the beginning there are no gender options for the character creation; instead you choose from basic visual options and a personality type ranging from sassy or curious, to bookworm or even pirate. You’re then able to compliment and flirt with any townsfolk regardless of gender to raise your relationship level, eventually dedicating yourself to your chosen beloved. As with the rest of the game, it’s implemented seamlessly.
Initially the charming pixel art and multitude of tasks are immediately engaging. Yet Littlewood is a game with countless small goals that lacks an overarching objective. Sure, you can fill the museum, level up every activity, relationship and building, and achieve a top ranking for decorating your town. But these long term goals rely on much repetition and don’t quite tie together the potential of the RPG setting that quickly leaves behind any notions of plot.
Still, Littlewood is a colourful little game that rewards you for simply being yourself. It’s easy to play, and easy to love.
The game is available to download on Steam and Nintendo Switch.