I’m a big fan of RPGs, but I’ve always been curious about what happens to the heroes once their adventure is over. Do they start a new journey? Do they pursue fame and fortune for having saved the world? Or do they simply retire to a quiet community and live out their days in a peaceful homestead?
Littlewood takes many of its cues from life simulators such as Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, putting you in the role of a hero adventurer who has just saved the world and has decided to become mayor of a peaceful community as a retirement gift. You build up the town from nothing; constructing buildings, collecting resources, and ultimately accommodating new residents as they join the town.
Unlike Stardew Valley, which I bounce off every so often due to how tedious some of the busywork can feel, Littlewood’s daily activities often feel a bit more streamlined. Rather than focus on profiting from your farm or defeating monsters, the activities are more involved with you speaking to the other townsfolk, completing requests and generally being good friends with them. It adds a higher degree of sociability to Littlewood, more so than other games of that type do.
These tasks are also not very tedious. Resource management and crafting is a big part of Littlewood, having you collect the right materials to build a new house or piece of furniture for another resident, but the necessary requirements to fulfil these needs are often minimal and don’t take too long to accomplish. It does actually feel like you can make lots of progress in such a small amount of time.
And while the Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing parallels are obvious, I will say the day-to-day system actually feels a lot better for the casual gamer here. In Stardew, you’d only have a limited amount of time in the day to complete all the activities you wanted to do, meaning you could easily run out of time if you took too long. Animal Crossing, on the other hand, can be too slow in its busywork. It can take you real days or even weeks just to build a nice area of your island because you can’t quite get the right materials yet.
Nonetheless, Littlewood does this better by only making the time of day move when you perform certain tasks. You can spend forever just talking to your friends or being creative in Build Mode, whereas you can advance time by chopping wood and exploring the wilderness outside of the town.
This ultimately adds up to how much of a relaxing experience Littlewood can be. The lack of a timer means more time to relax, but there’s never a point where you feel pressured to be working on a new project. If you want to earn money, there are a dozen ways you can go about doing it and it never feels like missing a day has drastic consequences on your productivity. I think I spent a couple of in-game days just building up relationships with the other villagers, and was able to get back to my crafting much later on as if there was no interruption.
Sometimes Littlewood doesn’t go as deep as its genre siblings; in particular the character interactions aren’t as compelling as they are when talking to your neighbours in Stardew Valley. It does feel nice to build relationships up with them, but on the other hand it feels like these interactions only serve the gameplay rather than the feeling that arises while playing. In Animal Crossing, I talk to my villagers because I like them. But in Littlewood, I talk to them because they’ll give me new items or quests.
Despite some flaws, Littlewood is a solid entry into the life simulator genre. Tying it in as an afterparty to some big grandiose RPG adventure is a fun idea the game continues to run with for its entirety, while the different systems you can level up in presents a great amount of depth. It should be proud to sit alongside the games that inspired it.
Tested on Nintendo Switch
Also available on PC
Developer Sean Young
Disclosure a copy of Littlewood was provided by SmashGames
*NA Switch eShop price. Littlewood has not released yet in other regions.