A retail sim, but a quirky one. Winkeltje: The Little Shop lets you manage your very own store, surrounded by lush greens and a white picket fence. Currently in beta, this indie title has you staying on the store floor from dawn till dusk.
Being this such a new game – it was only released 20 February 2019 – I was surprised at how many features and mechanics Sassybot had already incorporated that make it feel fleshed out.
But what does Winkeltje has to offer? Let’s find out together!
It’s All Yours – Hooray!
You start out small with a tiny shop, with a few dollars and a lot of debt… You can thank your relatives for that. When given the shop by your father, he tells you that the family business is in a lot of debt, and he has run off leaving it to you to pay it off – thanks, dad!
But don’t worry about that! Well, worry a little. Your shop starts simple: a few small tables, a counter and some items to sell. Furnishings can be placed anywhere you please, with snap on placement or free movement. I personally preferred not to use snap on, I liked having more control.
There is a plethora of furniture to buy, ranging from barrels, elegant tables, a painting of a cat, to bins. So much to choose from and you can buy them all, provided you have the money and space!
Shop Appeal Means Everything
Each item has value, use and appeal, which will bring in more customers and level up your ‘appeal bar’. The more appeal, the more money you make. Space is also a huge factor. Expanding your shop costs a lot of money and the price increases every time you purchase a tile.
I kept my shop relatively small and placed many shelves and tables around the edges, allowing me to restock items easier. The game also gives you the freedom to change the appearance of your store as you please. Walls, floors, even doors can be changed. Would you like stone walls? Perhaps more windows? There are so many cosmetic options to choose from, go nuts!
If you don’t want to buy everything, however, you don’t have to. All you must have in the shop are workstations to create your own wares. Use these when you can, because it’s usually cheaper than buying the items. You will also need to purchase the required materials to make anything.
Currently, this version of Winkeltje: The Little Shop lets you have a forge, tailoring station, beds and a stove. Be sure to build the tailoring station and planter as soon as you can. Sometimes it will help you to complete objectives, like harvest 30 plants.
Along this line, also remember that storage is a huge factor. Placing two pallets at a time will keep you ahead of the demand, especially if you buy large pallets. And constantly watch your stock. You will also have to keep your shop stocked by trading with other merchants.
To help you with that, a trader will you visit every day. Their stock varies day-to-day and the prices are usually better than buying from a wholesaler. They often saved me from having some very unhappy customers, which can lower your store’s appeal – so be sure to check what they have!
Beware The Cold!
A big thing in Winkeltje: The Little Shop are seasons and events; which affect stock demands. For example, King’s Day creates a demand for clothes and Spring makes food cheaper to buy, but tool prices increase. You must stay aware of what is happening in the world, you don’t want upset customers.
In saying this, it’s a shame the tutorial didn’t cover this or explain currency more, specifically demand and change. Usually, you’ll have positive and negative change amount, i.e. -25 or +8. I found this to mean the demand – red means there’s none and green means there is. I would have liked them to explain this more at the start.
Interestingly, I found you can make something of a specialty shop. A few hours into playing, I started to put out more tools and clothes and I noticed fewer people wanted to buy produce. As you progress, new things are unlocked but if you don’t buy/make any, customers won’t ask for them. I liked that they made it that way, it didn’t force you to buy things. It really allowed you to run your shop your way. You feel so much more in control.
Overall, I really enjoyed playing Winkeltje: The Little Shop. For a game in Early Access, it has so many available features. It’s clear the people at Sassybot have put a lot of effort into it – a very fun game that you can bury hours into.
You can find more information about this indie game and purchase a copy of it directly on Steam.