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Oddsparks: Pikmin on the Assembly Line – Preview from Gameswelt

Oddsparks: Pikmin on the Assembly Line – Preview from Gameswelt

The genre of automation games, previously seen as a niche field, is enjoying ever-increasing popularity. Titles like Satisfactory or Automation have a large fan base. Oddspark: An Automation Adventure from developer Massive Miniteam stands out from the competition on visuals alone. The early access phase has recently been given the go-ahead.

When you think of automation toys, images of assembly lines, large machinery complexes, and industrial equipment usually come to mind. This is not surprising, after all, the majority of representatives of this type present themselves with exactly this appearance – or at least with a very similar appearance.

Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure – trailer for the unusual real-time strategy game

In Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure, development studio Massive Miniteam combines real-time strategy with intelligent city planning. This trailer introduces you to the game in more detail.

The approach taken by Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure (henceforth called Oddsparks) is the most surprising: here the events take place in an idyllic and colorful fantasy world, which at first glance reminds us of games like The Legend of Zelda and Stardew Valley & Co. But the title was not only graphically inspired by the competition, but we will talk about that in a moment.

Pikmin factory

Before you begin your adventure, you must first create your character using the editor. Of course, you shouldn't expect the scope of a blockbuster RPG, but the game still gives you a lot of freedom in designing your hero. Oddsparks' special charm, which runs through the entire game, is already evident here: a comic-like style with endearing animation and a bit of sarcastic humour.

A short time later you find yourself in an idyllic village square. From here, the story of Oddsparks unfolds, initially interesting but not particularly deep: it all revolves around a mysterious monument, an equally mysterious prophecy, and above all, the Oddsparks that gave it its name.

The latter will certainly remind many players of the Pikmin from the Nintendo adventures of the same name. Small creatures that you can control more or less directly and let them work for you. Nothing works without these cute creatures: they fight for you, collect raw materials, transport items, and most importantly, keep your machines running.

Like many other automation games, Oddsparks is about creating and expanding logistics production chains. In order to be able to use cute helpers for this purpose, you must first create them, which in turn requires raw materials. Accordingly, the first minutes of the game revolve around production and commodity chains. This can be done in more depth, but on the other hand it is not so superficial. The combination of cute Sparks animation and the series' logistical expansion is what makes Oddsparks so charming. However, there are other special features.

A touch of role-playing

You build your machines in the wilderness of a fantasy world. However, you will always end up in the village, where you interact with the residents. Not only do they love to chat, but they also provide you with quests. Yes, you read that right: Oddspark has a hint of role-playing when you have to master quests and collect various rewards for doing so. This adds extra variety to the work, which can be very interesting when production chains are constantly being improved.

However, the whole matter has two crucial points. Above all, mission design must be noted: tasks never go beyond delivering specific goods or completing production specifications. The game could have benefited from a little more courage to get creative in this regard. In addition, the interface allows you to view only one task. To get a complete overview of current tasks, you have to navigate through some menus – which is inconvenient.

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This brings us directly to another problem with the game: the controls. You maneuver the protagonist through the fantasy world using the keyboard-mouse combination. This can be trivial sometimes. Especially if you want to throw sparks specifically at small objects. Also a bit annoying is the fact that the collision query sometimes works a bit imprecisely. Sometimes it's enough to be in close proximity to something. On other occasions, the figure must stand right in front of him to be able to interact.

In addition, developers waste a lot of potential because they abandon voice output. This would give the villagers more magic and thus benefit the overall atmosphere. But maybe that will come later in Early Access.