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Delightful new sandbox building game is a perfect Factorio alternative

Oddsparks An Automation Adventure is a mix of building and management games and real-time strategy, and it’s out now via Steam Early Access.

Oddsparks is an adorable new Factorio style game with cute pals, and it's out now on Steam - A Spark, a small creature resembling a short log with a mushroom growing from its head.

Constructing the perfect automated industrial complex is one of the most satisfying feelings in some of the best sandbox building games. For the hardcore, the likes of Factorio and Dyson Sphere Program offer some of the deepest systems, while slightly more casual-friendly approaches like Satisfactory and Hydroneer offer an easier path of entry for newcomers. Oddsparks An Automation Adventure is an adorable but detailed new take on the genre that blends it with a little real-time strategy, with co-op for four players or more, and it just launched on Steam.

Whether you’re a Factorio fan looking for a colorful holiday that will still tickle those buildcrafting neurons, or someone who’s automation-curious but typically avoids the genre for fear of its complexity, Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure is well worth a look. The whole core of this sandbox game from developer Massive Miniteam revolves around its Sparks – a horde of cute little Pikmin-like creatures that you can lead around the world or assign to tasks in your base.

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Rather than using conveyor belts, your Sparks will ferry all your resources between workstations, and you’ll have to make sure you lay out things as efficiently as possible to maximize your production potential, facing logistical challenges such as Spark traffic flow, long-distance transportation, and building your base across landscapes of varying heights.

As mentioned, you can also take your Sparks out into the world, where they’ll help you handle some of the more weird and wonderful threats you’ll encounter. Many of these are fantastic little fusions of real-world fauna, such as the giant Beelephant. And yes, because it’s the question that’s on all of our minds right now, you can absolutely pet the Sparks – they love it.

Oddsparks supports both single-player play as well as online co-op. Up to four players are supported officially, although the developer says the feature is uncapped if you want to invite more friends into your game. Three big updates are planned to follow the game’s launch in its first year, beginning with ‘Trains and Trades,’ which is currently scheduled for August and will introduce variations to the existing biomes, shops, new logic toys, and those titular trains.

Oddsparks An Automation Adventure - Screenshot of a player building a 'Stone Workshop' in their base to assemble stone items.

Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure is out now on Steam in early access. There’s also a Steam sale discount giving you 10% off if you buy it by Wednesday May 8 – expect to pay $17.99/£15.74 if you buy it before then, or $19.99/£17.49 afterwards. Massive Miniteam says it is planning for early access to last “about a year,” but that it wants to “be flexible in reacting to feedback” and “make sure the game is in a great state for the final release and take time to reach that goal.”

Alternatively, here are more of the best management games on PC in 2024, each offering you a different way to test your organizational skills. If you’re just on the lookout for something cozy and fun, we’ve rounded up all the best relaxing games as well.

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