Learn To Run A Small Shop

Learn To Run A Small Shop

Spellgarden Games and Assemble Entertainment have released a surprisingly fun, cozy, and casual sandbox game called Sticky Business. At first glance, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it and that it’ll be one of those “simple” store management games without much depth but to my surprise, this relaxing game lured me into playing for hours. So here’s my Sticky Business review of what this game has to offer.

Presentation

The game’s premise is simple. You basically run a small sticker shop business and you have the essentials to get you started which is well laid out in my opinion. Here’s what you’ll find on your screen:

Sticky Business Review: Main Screen
Sticky Business Main Game Screen
  • A tablet that you can use to create stickers and shop for additional designs
  • A PC where you can set up your online shop and customize it a bit according to your taste
  • A packing area where you fulfill customer orders and later on deliver them to the post office
  • A printer where you can arrange the stickers you created on a piece of paper and produce them by batch

I personally love the soundtrack of Sticky Business. I feel productive whenever I hop in and play a quick session like I’m listening to lo-fi hip-hop while I do “real” work.

Also, I realized that I need to click on the Keyboard on top to access the Shop from around Day 3 onwards because I got too excited with playing around the screen.

Gameplay

I haven’t had this much fun in a management-themed cozy game in a long time. The way the devs implemented Sticky Business into this interface is spot on. You won’t feel any stress of micromanaging compared to other complex management games where you need to overthink about optimizing your operations.

Sticky Business Creator Screen
Sticker Creator Screen
End of day summary screen with one failed delivery.
You can see here that I actually had one failed delivery.

For Sticky Business, the challenges that you’ll need to face are executing deliveries on time and not missing out on what kinds of stickers your customers want. I actually had some failed deliveries on a few days because I didn’t notice that I was giving the wrong stickers or I felt short in packing the right amount.

Sticky Business Review: Screen Pack
I can imagine the confusing back and forths that I’ll be experiencing once I get more than 15 stickers in stock while scrolling.

One minor quality-of-life improvement that I would like to suggest in Sticky Business is to display the number of stickers available in the Shop section.

Although you can see the number of stickers that you currently have printed in the Pack menu, it can be annoying to horizontally scroll through the stickers that you have, especially once your Shop grows. But I guess this is how the devs want to challenge us by being attentive to the things we pack.

Design to Your Heart’s Content

The Creator canvas design in Sticky Business looks reminiscent of Gartic Phone in terms of colors. As for the canvas, you get the essentials when designing your stickers. You can resize, rotate (15 or 45 degrees), change the outline colors of your stickers, and even re-arrange layers. It actually feels like you’re working in a simplified version of Photoshop.

Designing a relaxing sloth on the Creator screen
May I interest you in a relaxing sloth sticker?
End of Day Summary Screen
Sticker designs gain EXP based on the generated sales for the day.

The game also lures you in pretty well to encourage you to play for hours. This is because each sticker design has a corresponding EXP that you want to grind out. You are also encouraged to complete customer stories (more on that later).

For instance, if you get sales from selling a Shiba Inu mixed with a hotdog sticker, those specific designs will get EXP until these reach five stars. Every time a sticker levels up by one star, you get a corresponding amount of hearts that you can use to unlock additional customization options.

Sticky Business Review: Printing stickers on paper
Try to optimize every space to make sticker printing worth the money.

They also did a good job of simulating how printing stickers work in a simple way. I enjoyed properly organizing my stickers on a sheet of paper.

labeling stickers
Try and find the boba tea from this chaotic design.

The more I played, the more it started to like I had my very own Etsy store. At one instance, I got so bored I tried bombarding animals and inserted a hidden boba tea in one sticker design, and to my surprise, someone actually bought it.

The Wholesome Customers You Meet

Another aspect that will get you hooked on Sticky Business which I really like is how they made their customers feel like real human beings.

Sticky Business Review: Customer Interaction Screen
This customer even had the time to post a picture of her experiences. That’s nice.

These aren’t your ordinary customers. They have stories to share and you unlock Steam achievements for every short story you finish. It’s like you’re playing a simpler version of Stardew Valley which has a similar character interaction loop.

When you read through their messages, you’ll sometimes feel like you’re actually connected with them. If a customer sends a personalized message, I make the package special by adding extra stickers and other special wraps.

Sticky Business interacting and packing stickers for a customer
This is what I meant by being extra. I swear the dialogues sound like I’m interacting with a real person.
Sticky Business: Message from a troubled customer
I know the feeling.

There are also times when I read messages from a customer that they’re sad because their friend got fired from a job or they’re having burnout from work (my God, I can totally relate to this), In addition to extra stickers, I can also give them treats, which you can also buy in the Upgrades section of your sticker store.

Unlocking new customers in Sticky Business
Pay attention to what some of the customers want to unlock new stories.

Sticky Business also has a subtle puzzle mechanic when it comes to reading messages from customers you haven’t encountered yet. Catch hidden clues such as a customer preferring dinosaur-themed stickers or another customer that likes a food-themed design. You have to pay attention to what the customers want, which is a nice touch.

Order screen for Twitch viewers
In this example, I can accommodate orders for up to two Twitch viewers and it varies per business day.

Adding Twitch integration to Sticky Business puts the icing on the cake. This is where the high replayability of the game shines. Grab this opportunity to interact with your viewers if ever you feel like going into chill live streams.

Summary of the Twitch viewers who bought your stickers.
You can also see a quick summary of who bought in your store and give them a shoutout while you’re streaming.

More Ideas & Suggestions

While I have mixed opinions when it comes to in-game monetization, looking at this game from the indie developers’ perspective, I think that they should consider releasing DLC ​​if they want to sustain their Sticky Business (pun intended).

Sticky Business Review: Screen Upgrades
You can purchase upgrades in this menu including freebies that you can give away to customers.

I can see possible future updates for Sticky Business in the long term such as interacting with internet celebrities like Alex Hormozi, Shroud, or Mr. Beast. Imagine having a short back story that they discovered your fictional sticker store.

They may need to ask permission from these celebrities if they want to be in the game and that’s a possible expense on the dev team’s part, but that’s for another story.

pandasal sticker design
One of my viewers on Twitch told me to name this Pandasal sticker. 😂

I’m not good with drawing but another suggestion to improve Sticky Business is letting artists upload their own sticker designs into the game. Or perhaps add Steam Workshop features to let modders improve Sticky Business further.

Regardless if the devs will pursue these suggestions in their next updates, they’ve already created a pretty great title.

Honestly, the stickers in this game are passable Twitch emotes. I could imagine myself using Sticky Business to make my own emotes from my own sticker designs.

The Verdict

Sticky Business inspires you to create your own business and it’s very accessible to all ages. You can spend plenty of hours creating different kinds of stickers that you want. Not only does this game give you a relaxing sandbox environment to have creative freedom but also it introduces you to the basics of starting a business.

Sticky Business save pop-up
Sticky Business lets you save your stickers and papers on your desktop giving you the freedom to share your works in your socials.

I can imagine myself as a kid playing this and eventually becoming curious about how to actually do this in real life. I would even go as far as imagining myself in a scenario where if I had kids one day and they want to become an entrepreneur, I would boot up this game and watch them learn the process of running a business as simple as this.

Watch this short gameplay that I was able to capture from my last Twitch stream as well.

What do you think of our review of Sticky Business? If you like this game, feel free to get it on Steam, and share your experience in the comments section.

This review is based on the PC version of Sticky Business. The key was provided by Spellgarden Games and Assemble Entertainment.

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