Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure First Impressions: Fantasy Factory


Oddsparks An Automation Adventure

By: Jason Siu


5 min read

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Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure First Impressions

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Some of the best games I’ve ever played didn’t exactly introduce anything new, but rather, they took existing concepts from other games and blended them masterfully to create a unique experience. You can see examples of this throughout gaming history, like the Orcs Must Die! franchise, which combines third-person shooter with tower defense, or Borderlands, which brings the idea of Diablo loot to a first-person shooter. More recently, there are games like Hades that manage to combine concepts from multiple genres to create a masterpiece. While I’m not ready to crown Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure a masterpiece just yet, the creativity in combining the concepts of Factorio with the strategy-lite mechanics of Pikmin was something I didn’t know I needed in my life.

It’s easier to understand Oddsparks if you’ve played both Factorio and Pikmin, because it simplifies the core concepts from both games and combines them into one creation. It’s a combination I never would have expected to work, but it works surprisingly well. The combination isn’t exactly a 50/50 split; I would say it’s 80 percent Factorio, 20 percent Pikmin. Considering Factorio is on my list of the best games I’ve ever played and I gave Pikmin 4 a glowing review last year, it’s not surprising that I quickly spent nearly 20 hours in Oddsparks and mostly enjoyed it.

For an Early Access game, Oddsparks feels quite polished. It’s far from feature-complete, as more than half the map is empty and there are only two biomes to explore, but we didn’t encounter any serious bugs or issues during our 20-hour adventure. However, the game does have several annoyances and peculiar design choices that could use some refinement. Based on what we’ve seen from developer Massive Miniteam, we’re excited for the future of the game and its (hopefully) eventual release.

Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure First Impressions Gallery, FullCleared

After creating your character with standard customization options, Oddsparks starts with a generic introduction, dropping you into a town with some NPCs that give you quests to get you started. As of now, the game does a fairly average job of explaining certain things, and this can be improved. If you have experience playing games like Factorio, you can fill in the gaps, but newcomers to the genre might get confused and lost. The gameplay loop is what you’d expect from an automation-type game: start by gathering resources, refining them, and progressing down a tech tree to make more complex items.

Oddsparks differs from existing games in the genre with the introduction of units called sparks. Instead of building treadmills, you place paths to move materials from one location to another with sparks. Even during the initial Early Access launch, which is the content we’re basing these first impressions on, there’s a good variety of sparks, ranging from units that specialize in transporting items to those that explode to deal massive damage. These sparks are your companions and act just like Pikmin if you’re familiar with the series. If you’re not, they’re basically creatures you can command to harvest a tree, break a rock, gather materials, or attack one of the many interesting creatures in the game. It’s like a basic form of managing units in a real-time strategy game, and you’ll need to micromanage your sparks to minimize losses in combat.

The robust pathing system is something we really enjoyed experimenting with in Oddsparks. Your sparks move along the path in a certain direction, but you’ll unlock various ways to handle the traffic. This allows you to create complex setups while ensuring your sparks can get from one point to another, delivering goods where they need to be. This becomes increasingly important as you progress, as you’ll need to move materials cleverly from one part of the map to another. Currently, progression in the late game involves making hundreds of items to complete quests, as you progress from harvesting wood to stone.

Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure First Impressions Gallery, FullCleared

Oddsparks does have some interesting design choices where certain materials cannot be fully automated, or if they can, it’s very late in the tech tree. There’s some micromanagement required for certain materials, and in some instances, we can understand why. For example, one item is best gathered, at least initially, by killing some of the easiest enemies on the map, forcing you to use your sparks for attacks. While this seems like a deliberate choice by the developers, I wonder if the game would benefit from allowing players to automate those materials sooner. I understand having to endure an hour or so of gathering materials to get started, but having to collect one specific material manually after 15 hours seems odd for a game with automation in its name.

Another frustrating design choice is confining us to build in specific locations on the map. To keep this first impression as spoiler-free as possible, certain buildings can only be built in specific areas on the map. It feels a bit constraining when you’re trying to plan something, especially when it involves a large area. For those who want to keep things neat and clean, it might be frustrating to know you are restricted this way. However, some people may actually find this aspect of the game fun, having to plan around the constraints of the landscape.

Overall, Oddsparks is a promising Early Access game, especially if you love games like Factorio and Satisfactory. We would describe it as a cozy version of Factorio, with a more laid-back approach. There’s a satisfying level of complexity later in the game when creating assembly lines and finding the best way to automate processes, and we’re excited to see what develops during Early Access. Honestly, we’re surprised that at the time of publishing, the game only has 459 user reviews on Steam. Without a doubt, it deserves more attention, and we highly recommend it for the price if you’re looking for another automation game to explore. Just know that right now there’s about 15 to 20 hours of content, and it remains to be seen how quickly the developers will add more.

Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure entered Early Access on April 24, 2024 on PC. These first impressions are based on a purchased retail copy of the game on PC. While FullCleared does have affiliate partnerships, they do not influence our editorial content. We may, however, earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.

Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure First Impressions Gallery

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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