[Review] Little Big Workshop / Death Ray Manta SE – Nintendo Switch

  • Little Big Workshop
  • Developer: Mirage Game Studios, Massive Miniteam
  • Publisher: HandyGames, THQ
  • Price: £17.99 / $19.99
  • Release Date: 17/10/2020

  • Death Ray Manta SE
  • Developer: The Future of Videogames
  • Publisher: Thalamus Games
  • Price: £9.99 / $10.00
  • Release Date: 19/10/2020

A Rare Two-fer

Every so often there comes a time when there’s just so much to talk about in such a little amount of time, so we decide to take two bite sized reviews and mash them up in to one review. In this case, you’re gonna get the workshop sim “Little Big Workshop” and the twin-stick shooter “Death Ray Manta SE”. Now, you might be saying something like “Hey, that seems like a deal! Two reviews for the price of one? How can I lose?” The answer is simple: you can’t! This is bargain reviewing at its finest.

The Little Workshop That (Almost) Could


Do you wish that you could run a factory? What if I told you that entire factory could fit on the surface of a desk? Welcome to the Little Big Workshop, a tiny factory you get to run to great success as you learn to plan resources, navigate tight workspaces, and manage deadlines to work your way up in the world. Gameplay is pretty standard for the genre all things considering. You are given a pre-fabricated building and workspace to start from. It’s a humble beginning, but it does what you need it to. From there you are given tasks from the comedically large phone on the desk near your building and your job is to complete those orders in a certain amount of time. Like I said, pretty basic stuff. However, as more products come along, you find yourself working to manage several different pieces or manufactured goods and massive supply chains coupled with expansive webs of products you need to make other products. Things can get pretty messy, but not entirely unmanageable.

The art style is cute and fun with a pretty catchy little soundtrack to go along with it. You can tell that some solid work went into making this game. However, you can clearly tell that this was a PC game first and a Switch game about third or fourth. Menus on the Switch version are confusing to maneuver and not set in a way that makes a lot of sense for the use of a controller. On top of this, setting up some basic steps for getting your products to begin the manufacturing process aren’t clearly explained and made for some extensive frustration on my end. Could it be that I just suck at games like this? Perhaps. It’s certainly not out of the question. I simply felt that the tools given to me through the game weren’t enough to properly explain how to do some pretty basic and important stuff.

To give a better explanation of what’s going on in the gameplay department, essentially each new product you can make has to have a few things before it can start: A workbench to make it, materials to craft it, and an assigned job to put it all together. The issue comes with the increasing complexity of the products you make. If any one of the DOZENS of objects you need to make is missing a single part of this formula then NOTHING WORKS and you can’t get the project started. It’s really frustrating when you have 17 individual parts working and one thing is preventing you from doing it and the game refuses to tell you what part it is. Trust me, not fun.

Is it worth a play? If factory sims are your thing, maybe wait for a sale. The core game is alright, but that’s really about it.

Pros

  • Plenty to do and tons of content to go around
  • Fun art style and solid music

Cons

  • Definitely not optimized for Switch
  • Frustrating tutorials leave you more confused than anything (again, maybe I just suck)

Verdict
Little Big Workshop is alright if you need the quick fix for your factory sim, but the frustrating controls might leave you a little burnt out

Trippin’ on a Wave of Colors and Lights


Death Ray Manta SE is something I don’t see very often in the console world these days. When you play this game, you will know within 30 seconds if you want to play it ever again or if you want to immediately delete it from your system. DRM (as I will now call it) is a hyper-fast-paced twin stick shooter where you control what I can only assume in the Death Ray Manta as you blast everything around you to smithereens. Meanwhile, if you can actually get a hold of your bearings, everything you see on screen is trying to kill you. Your job is to not die and get as many points as you can. It’s a neat little arcade shooter.

Music is crazy and it controls pretty well, but MAN is it hard to figure out what is happening on the screen all the time. Like, I’m sure this is what the developers were going for: a super crazy Geometry Wars style shooter, but this is just too much. For the first few rounds I played I wasn’t sure what would kill me and what would score me some massive points. Thankfully, starting over again after you die is super fast, but it’s a crazy trip from start to finish. Again, after you play this for 30 seconds you’ll know if you want to keep playing or not. I decided to play more and it was fairly worth it.

I will say that a lack of variety and a dedicated power up system really keep this game from being super amazing or even really remarkable, but it’s about what I expect out of a budget title like this. Whenever you die, which is often, you are brought back to the exact same first lever every time. If this was randomized every stage it wouldn’t feel as stale and repetitive. Mash in some powerups and you might have something here, but for now, it’s just a kind of ho-hum little high score based shooter.

Pros

  • Tight controls and frenetic action
  • Absurd in some pretty good ways

Cons

  • My eyeballs hurt and I can hardly see now
  • A little much for the Switch port where the PC version is 2 bucks (which is a PERFECT price for this game)

Verdict
As crazy and colorful as this game is, it never quite clicks into that sweet zone. Pretty great for a budget arcade shooter though.

So there you go! Nintendad’s first double review! Did you like it? Do you want more stuff like this in the future? Let us know! This was certainly fun for me!

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