Check out Oddsparks, which is something like Pikmin by way of Factorio

So what if you took the single-leader, many soldiers third person real-time strategyy concept of a game like Pikmin, added a dash of the crafting genre, and then spiced it up with a bunch of path-based automation and cooperative play?

That'd give you the recently-released Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure, a delightful and whimsical little game from Massive Miniteam and HandyGames. In it, you gather up a whole posse of whimsical little wooden golems and put them to work both fighting bad guys and building up automated infrastructure to produce not just things you and your village of friends need, but a ton of copies of themselves to boot. Self-replicating machines being of course something which has never, ever gone wrong in the history of fiction.

It's got all the little tricky battles and funny controls of Pikmin, but it's really delightful because of the approachable, fun logistics puzzles of its automation. Rather than conveyor belts or grabby arms to transport stuff, your little Oddsparks have to be traffic controlled as they follow paths with signs, instructions, and smarly-constructed branches and mergers.

I first heard of and played some of Oddsparks back during this year's Steam Next Fest, when I played 50-something demos and subsequently lost my mind. Forget that last part, though, the takeaway is that Oddsparks is something surprisingly fresh and complete given that it's made of two things you've seen before. It was definitely my surprise favorite of the whole event.

"I found the loop really great: Grab a mission, explore the wilderness for resources, then fulfill the mission by automating a product or two… which rewards a new blueprint that you'll need to go find some resources for and get to automating," I said at the time.

Oddsparks is pretty well-received so far, if a little underplayed: It's sitting at 91% positive of 239 reviews on Steam as of press time.

You can find Oddsparks: An Automation Adventure on Steam. It's developed by Massive Miniteam and published by HandyGames.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.