ReviewsReview: Winkeltje: Little Shop

Review: Winkeltje: Little Shop

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Have you ever gone to your local store and thought I could do better? Well, now is your chance! Roll up your sleeves, put on your apron, and jump into a ye olde folksy world. Winkeltje: Little Shop lets you fulfil your fantasy of running a small convenience store from the comfort of your sofa.

Developed and published by Sassybot, this is a relaxed resource management simulation title. You must control every element of your business while trying to please every customer. It’s mainly relaxing and enjoyable. However, there are moments of madness and headache-inducing task juggling. In short, it is the perfect representation of owning and running a busy all-purpose shop.

Produce clothes, food, and weapons.
An interesting blend of weapons and bread.

Winkeltje: Little Shop uses a simple concept.

Like all great business sims, Winkeltje: Little Shop has a simple concept. You must start at the bottom and work your way upwards. Effectively, you begin with a tiny shop and you must expand, find new products, and make as much cash as possible. However, unlike its peers, this game doesn’t move from map to map. No, all the action remains in one key location. Therefore, the only way to change things is to begin a new game and increase the difficulty.

Now, you may think that is ridiculous, but it isn’t. The action is oddly addictive and the straightforward approach works really well. I started on the easiest setting and I’m glad I did. I was able to master the fundamentals without too many problems. What’s more, it allowed me to experiment without the fear of being penalised for too many mistakes. However, it would have been nice to adjust the difficulty as I went. This would have prevented the loss of data alongside reducing the repetitive nature of the gameplay. 

Spend your points and invest in a garden.
Grow produce and improve your profit margins.

Debt… oh, so much debt. 

Inheriting a shop should be a good thing, unless it’s up to its eyeballs in debt, that is. This is the start point for Winkeltje: Little Shop and the aim of the game. You must run your business effectively and efficiently to turn a quick profit. Each playthrough comprises 20 debt-ridden chapters and failure to pay up is catastrophic. Consequently, you must expand and purchase items within your means. If you do not, your game will end prematurely and your shop will fail.

Sounds brutal, right? Well, don’t worry as the action is balanced nicely, so it’s almost impossible to miss a payment. Thanks to a large array of goods on offer, as well as your ability to grow, forge, make, and brew items, you’ll soon be rolling in cash. As you progress, you must improve the appeal of your store and your level. As this happens, you unlock new recipes, furniture, and equipment. You’ll install a forge, gardens, cooker, and so forth. Using these creates more expensive items but uses basic resources. Subsequently, you must balance advanced objects with entry-level gear to ensure every customer is happy.

Winkeltje: Little Shop looks dated. 

As much as I loved the simple concept, the dated graphics weren’t great. Winkeltje: Little Shop’s old-school imagery works well with the theme and genre, but it won’t wow many gamers. Many of its peers are more realistic and much nicer to look at. What’s more, they have a larger roster of characters to interact with and the environment is more attractive. Sadly, the demand for a medieval theme means that earthy tones dominate proceedings. Therefore, much of the action is bland, repetitive, and understated. None of this simplicity ruins the game. I just yearned for variety and a better quality finish. 

Though the graphics weren’t great, I enjoyed the relaxing audio. The chilled folksy soundtrack is distinctly medieval and works wonderfully. Furthermore, it is complemented by simple sound effects. You’ll enjoy nice environmental sounds combined with typical shop noises. It won’t wow you, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.

Winkeltje: The Little Shop allows you to design the shop of your dreams.
A small but well-designed shop.

You’ll repeatedly select the wrong thing. 

Be prepared to sigh an awful lot! The clumsy controls make selecting tables, shelves, or customers a tiresome task. You’ll repeatedly select the wrong thing and find yourself shuffling from object to object. It’s annoying as hell and probably the worst element of this game. If Winkeltje: Little Shop was easier to play, it would improve the game exponentially.

The controls drove me insane, but I loved the special events and seasonal moments. As the year rolls on, items become less or more expensive and new customers visit your store. Therefore, you never quite know what to purchase. This mysterious element leaves you guessing throughout, and this was great. If you fall for its slow but ye olde charms, there is longevity and replay value. However, after my first playthrough, I wanted so much more and didn’t fancy returning.

Winkeltje: Little Shop is a nice little game, but it needs more depth. 

I don’t mind a simple and understated game, but simulation titles need some meat on the bone. Unfortunately, Winkeltje: Little Shop is far too simple to invest hours of your life. Unlike its peers, you’ll tire of what you see and do very quickly. This was unfortunate, as it really is a nice little game. I wished it evolved, but this wasn’t to be. All things considered, I recommend it despite its shortcomings. Can you clear your debt and run a successful business? Buy the stock, craft some goods, and turn a profit. 

SUMMARY

Winkeltje: The Little Shop is a fun and simple business simulation title. With a straightforward concept, you'll have the fundamentals mastered immediately. Sadly, repetitive gameplay and clumsy controls hold it back. I still recommend it even if it isn't as in-depth as its peers.


+ A straightforward concept.
+ Excellent folksy audio.
+ Addictive action.
+ The business management elements are easy to understand.

- Repetitive gameplay.
- The controls are clumsy.
- Not as in-depth as its peers.

(Rating: PEGI 3 Release date: 22/04/2022 Price: £12.49)


(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.)


Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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Review: Winkeltje: Little Shop<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Winkeltje: The Little Shop</em> is a fun and simple business simulation title. With a straightforward concept, you'll have the fundamentals mastered immediately. Sadly, repetitive gameplay and clumsy controls hold it back. I still recommend it even if it isn't as in-depth as its peers.</p><br/> + A straightforward concept.<br/> + Excellent folksy audio.<br/> + Addictive action.<br/> + The business management elements are easy to understand.<br/> <br/> - Repetitive gameplay.<br/> - The controls are clumsy.<br/> - Not as in-depth as its peers.<br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI 3 <b>Release date:</b> 22/04/2022 <b>Price:</b> £12.49)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.)</p><br/>