Sweatshop


  • Currently 4.2/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.2/5 (75 votes)
| Comments (18) | Views (254)

DoraSweatshopHey buddy! Nice shoes! Did you ever stop to think about where they come from? And I don't mean "the shoe store" or even just your favourite designer... I mean how your shoes, and all the others that were sitting in identical boxes on the shelf when you bought them, were made. Sweatshop by Littleloud is a strategy simulation that puts you in the shoes of a newly appointed manager at a factory somewhere overseas. According to your boss, it's your job to make sure you meet the factory's quota on time, by managing the workers on the floor that struggle to create the items that come down the conveyor belt. Shoes, designer handbags, hats... they've gotta come from somewhere, right? The people you hire are willing to work hard for you... or maybe they've got no choice. And this isn't some home Etsy business, either; the production line has to be humming at all times, churning out dozens of items for the consumers overseas, or someone's neck is on the line. Will you be able to treat your workers well when the pressure is on to deliver the goods?

On each stage, you'll be required to have your workers complete a certain amount of items (displayed in green in the upper right corner) without ruining more than a few (the number displayed in red.) As unfinished items move from one end of the conveyor belt to another, nearby workers will attempt to complete it as it moves past them; you can hire more workers, some of whom are better at particular items, by clicking on their icon at the top of the screen and dragging them to where you want them to work on the line. This, as you'd expect, costs money, which you only earn when an item is completed. On the left side of the screen is an arrow button that you can press to modify the speed of the conveyor belt; click it once, and the belt will move faster, but your employees will have to work harder to keep up. Eventually, your workers will require watercoolers nearby, which helps keep them hydrated so they don't collapse, but costs a chunk of change each time you use it. If you're willing to spend the cash, you can also click on a worker and click "upgrade" to train them, which refreshes them temporarily and makes them work faster.

At the end of each stage, you'll be graded on a percentage based on how quickly you made your items, and how much cash you had left over. There are three factories you'll have to take charge of throughout the course of the game, and the conditions for success get more demanding as you go. You might even be tempted to hire a child laborer or two... after all, they don't work fast, but they're cheap, and more money means a higher score... which is what matters, isn't it?

SweatshopAnalysis: Sweatshop is easy as pie to pick up, but if you really want to maximize your output without sacrificing your workers' well being, it becomes a lot harder. If you're a high-score hound then it's going to become even more tempting to cut corners and push your workers harder just to boost your percentage. Littleloud has also managed to make the whole thing look great visually, with eye-catching colours, exaggerated characters, and catchy music. There's even a bit of humour to be found in your cartoonishly overdone boss who berates you and delivers backhanded compliments, his hairpiece flying askew whenever he's excited or angry. Some other jokes, such as cheerfully talking about eating the family pets, may make you raise an eyebrow. Is the cheery design and humour appropriate? That likely depends on how you think the game executes its concept and message. Sweatshop is, after all, one of those games where the premise makes you wince a little when you stop to think about what you're really doing.

I was initially fairly skeptical at Sweatshop's ability to deliver its message as well as, say, a game like Ayiti: The Cost of Life. With most of the gameplay's serious material handled in what feels like a cautiously cartoonish fashion, the majority of the important information falls to be delivered by the adorable moppet between stages, and unfortunately it fails to really have much of an impact since it sits on the periphery of the game itself. As time passes and you start to feel the pressure more and more from your employers, however, you do start to grasp just how difficult it can really be to maintain a healthy, productive work environment when the people you answer to really couldn't care less. The game is actually pretty good at representing the pressure that comes in from all sides to make the supply for the demand, and it's easy to see where the people doing all the hard work get lost in the shuffle.

Games designed around important but uncomfortable issues are difficult to make, or at least difficult to make well. Be too heavy-handed and the thing isn't fun to play, which means people aren't even going to be interested, but if you pull back on the tone too far you risk offending people who don't think you're taking the subject matter seriously enough. The thing here isn't to wallow in guilt, but to raise awareness and to get people to start thinking and looking into where the things we normally don't look twice at come from. (If you want to know more, you might want to check out the fairly excellent British documentary miniseries Blood, Sweat, and T-Shirts.) Sweatshop is a bit of an odd duck that doesn't quite nail the formula necessary to become as impactful as it could have been, but it's still more than worth a look.

Play Sweatshop

18 Comments

Anonymous July 19, 2011 2:22 PM

Is this a slave labour game?

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
SonicLover Author Profile Page July 19, 2011 2:29 PM

This game is quite reminiscent of the tower defense genre, which is odd for a game about making clothes.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Yeah, this is kind of morbid, especially those facts. I don't know anyone who would try to get all the bad trophies because that's just sadistic. Not a good thing to base a game off of.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

@Reece: making a game about a topic that forces you to think about your actions is a very good idea to base a game off of.

We call these types of games "persuasive" games here at JIG, giving a nod to Ian Bogost's company of the same name. You can find other games with a message in the archives under the tag "persuasive":

http://jayisgames.com/tag/persuasive

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Hi

You say in the review, "that puts you in the shoes of a newly appointed manager at a factory somewhere overseas". Just wanted to mention (in the spirit of sweat shop satire) that, while I don't know where you are from I can probably guess, and the overseas you refer to from some overarching center is where a lot of JIG peeps are from, sometimes where these sweatshops are. No biggie but wanted to remind you that internets is a beeg place and there are more than 7 seas to be over :)

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Anonymous July 19, 2011 10:48 PM

The manager's dialogues are really tedious and unnecessary as instructions have already been given. I quit by the 4th game.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Anonymous July 19, 2011 11:55 PM

Some of the language and blood in the game don't feel all that needed. I know they're trying make a point but still...

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I will echo the comment about the tedious dialogues. I missed most of the cues dropped by the manager because I was busy frantically clicking the button that skips to the next bubble. There's at least a dozen bubbles per level.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I really hate that there's tons of clicking for the dialogue... and then irreversible drag-and-drop in the game. Not sure someone kept the developer quite on-message either.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Now what's everyone fussing about? I thought the boss monologues were pretty funny, even though I felt guilty laughing. The gameplay is actually very good for a game that is trying to convey a message, and it is good at conveying that message. I felt real guilty having to hire all those children in the adultless level, and I immediately closed the window when the little kid got an accident (rusty tracks). I felt really bad for allowing it to be happened. Good game 5/5.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Nope, didn't like the dialogues either. So annoying, having to click every time!

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Evergreen July 20, 2011 12:18 PM

I like the boss' speeches before each round. I look forward to them, actually. Maybe it's just because I'm not a big tower defense fan, but what keeps me moving from level to level is seeing how the story unfolds, and the well-written dialogue is the reason I'm interested in the story.

That said, the dialogue isn't THAT well-written. There's a lot of jokiness that makes it feel like the game is straining to keep the tone light in contrast to the subject matter. The result feels what? Sarcastic? Something unflattering. It's jarring when the real-world facts barge in. Maybe that's the intention, but it seems like the Real-Life blurbs and the rest of the game are coming from two different sources.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
cyclops Author Profile Page July 20, 2011 4:03 PM

What are the list of achievement medals you can get?
(Just wondering what are they and how you get all of them.)

Currently stuck on factory 2.Tower-defence-style game really now my speciality.

I think the game-play is pretty good. I am not so sure about the message it try to put across(the game is too funny instead of making a serious point)

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Iconian Author Profile Page July 20, 2011 6:09 PM

3/5. Sorry, but it just seems like the game may be too focused on being something like a tower defense game. I got through the first factory and to about the 12th or 13th level before quitting. I just really can't stand the conveyor belt. The layout of these factories is terrible. Why did they even bother including the radio and the fan, since most of the time you can barely make use of them. There's just so much conveyor belt that it's too crowded.

Anyway, I think it is good to have games like this that increase awareness of various stuff like this. I really loved Oiligarchy and the McDonald's Game, for instance. I just think it's too bad that these games don't usually offer much in the way of solutions to this sort of thing. They're more exposes of the current state of affairs.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Problematic July 21, 2011 1:11 AM

The gameplay was nice, and I love a good satire. Still, it misses the mark on some notes, particularly the rape joke and the homophobia (I played until about level 12 or 13).

I'm noticing a trend among some games lately that aim for satire but only repeat harmful ideas, thereby reinforcing them. I get the boss is supposed to be a scumbag, but I don't need to play a game where a character conveys that queer people are inferior through hateful language.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
Hempuli July 22, 2011 3:52 AM

I'm quite sure the point is to take on serious matters and actual problems while presenting them in a light-hearted manner to avoid too heavy-handed condemning.

I'm not a big fan of the TD genre, but I sure thought the message was well-made and the game did a great job making me feel bad, despite the seemingly cartoony and light-hearted look.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I want to know what the medals are so I can get them. It's impossible to not get World's Best Boss I and complete the game right? (I got world's best boss 1,2,3 and world's worst boss 1,2,3)

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

    Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • PLEASE UNDERSTAND SITE POLICIES BEFORE POSTING COMMENTS
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
4,166 Views
19 Comments
Rogue Legend> Dora Fantasy farming meets Minecraft-style building and action RPG in this rough but promising game made in just two months. Plant crops, care for livestock, fight monsters, and build your home block by block!  ...
How About Taking a Break> Dora Weird, silly, but not a little bit clever, this escape game may look simple, but a few coded locks you'll need to change your perspective to deduce and a whole lot of cuteness make this a short treat well worth heeding the title for.  ...
2,875 Views
6 Comments
Facility Z> Lori.h Waking up with no memory? Check. Underground abandoned facility? Check. Creepy mutant monsters wanting to nibble on your face while you have limited ammo? Check and check. Facility Z is ready to play.  ...
5,292 Views
25 Comments
Maplewood Junior High> Dora You've got a school assignment to finish, but all the computers are absolutely ancient, and you're totally unprepared! Despite some strange, out-of-place political talk, this point-and-click puzzle from Carmel Games offers a significant upgrade in several areas from their previous work.  ...

Recent Comments

 

Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Casual game of the week

Haunted Hotel: Death Sentence

Your Favorite Games edit

add
Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives

Legal notice

All games mentioned or hosted and images appearing on JayIsGames are Copyright their respective owner(s).

All other content is Copyright ©2003-2014 JayIsGames.com. All Rights Reserved.


Visit our great partner: maxcdn!