Have you ever felt the uncontrollable need to work in a mail sorting facility where the sorting machines constantly break down? No? Well, I have the perfect game for you anyway!
Automation* of Sorts is a multiplayer action/puzzle game where you try to keep up with the never-ending maintenance of the automated machines in a variety of poorly-optimized sorting facilities. And when I say poorly optimized, I mean it.
“Let’s give 110% effort for 85% pay due to our lower cost of living!”
This game is 18 levels of pure blissful hell, all wrapped up with the label of “fun for the family.” Play with up to four people in this challenging game built for couch co-op. Using Steam’s Remote Play, you can play online multiplayer, but it can be tricky to set up. We had three people playing, and once you get the hang of where you need to go and what you need to grab or repair, it is actually quite zen-like. My OCD brain was really digging this game. FIX ALL THE THINGS! SORT ALL THE MAIL!
“Hurry up! Your shift is almost over!”
The difficulty scales the more people you have playing, which means that the mail bags or boxes come faster and more machines break down. The more broken machines, the more screaming right? Right! You are equipped with a portal if you decide you would like to play by yourself for a challenge (you psycho). This allows you to get around much faster. So you would place your portal in a perfect location of your choosing and port yourself back and forth to get the perfect score. Outstanding!
“Please schedule all breaks for when we are not busy.”
I had the extreme pleasure of being able to chat with the developer, Adam Prack (Adam Creations), while we played his game. The first thing we noticed was how incredibly catchy the game’s music is. We felt like it had a bit of an Incredibles vibe. Adam himself created all of the music for the game! As a matter of fact, he made everything for the game from the ground up. He had no official training and decided that this was something he wanted to do and taught himself game design. There was a lot of sketching to design each level, and when you see the levels, you will understand why. Each level has a slightly different angle, so you have to figure out where your characters can go to get to other sorting machines or the mail hopper. The level design is one of the things that Adam enjoyed the most about making the game.
As you run around and the machines break, you may notice that the mail starts to bunch up. You have to fix those machines fast, or you may end up with letters flying everywhere. You will also hear “HR lady” as we affectionately started calling her over the loudspeaker giving all kinds of unhelpful advice.
“To the owner of the gray, self-driving car, please tell it to stop intimidating the other cars.”
Here’s a fun little tidbit of trivia. Adam’s wife did the voiceover for “HR lady.” She does a fantastic job. Adam’s children were the game testers, so you could say it was a family affair. Kids tend to be able to break a game faster than anyone (unless you are Louie). Fellow contributor Louie Reza was playing while we spoke to Adam and managed to break the game not once but THREE times. This is a callout to indie developers who need people to break your game to find the bugs. Message Louie.
“Please do not bring personal items into the sorting facilities. There is a chance your lunch could be sorted incorrectly and sent to another location.”
We had a lot of fun running through the levels and passing mail bags back and forth like a well-oiled machine (which, ironically, this game does not have). If the machines were well oiled, they wouldn’t break as much? Just a thought. At the end of each level, you get a grade, but it’s not a letter grade like many games have. It’s positive reinforcement! Well done!
“We are speeding up the line to help you!”
This game is a bit like Overcooked with the way things are set up, but it’s much less frustrating. The positive reinforcement at the end of each level makes you want to keep going and do better each time. This game definitely scratches that OCD itch. You will WANT to fix all the machines and get all the letters sorted. If you enjoy puzzles and working together, you will have a good time with this fun little indie game. It’s currently on Steam for a low price and remember that the more you purchase indie games, the better for these small developers. There are so many indie games on Steam now that it’s hard to get noticed, so if you find a game you like, make sure people know about it! Getting an indie game on console can be very difficult if the developer doesn’t have a publisher. Unfortunately for most indie developers, getting that publisher can prove challenging if they don’t have a known game. It’s a bit of a double edge sword. So many games end up lost in the sea of indie games on Steam.
I did ask Adam what his next project will be, and he is beginning work on an action RPG-type game that is Zelda-esque. So keep an eye out for his upcoming work! For the full interview with Adam, check out the video below!
“Please complete all of your work prior to clocking out!”
What kinds of indie games do you enjoy? Is there any game you would like to see us take a look at? Let me know in the comments!