I adore stickers, though I’m super picky about where I put them. As a kid in the early ’90s, I had one of those books (okay, many of them) of stickers that let you stick and peel and stick and peel; it was a huge playground pastime to trade. Smelly stickers reigned supreme, though puffy stickers were a close second. Now, unfortunately, there are no smelly or puffy sticker options in Sticky Business; what you do get is a game about designing, selling, and packing a variety of stickers to customers. It’s relatively simple, but also quite fun. I became obsessed with the game for several days, as did my spouse.
Sticky Business doesn’t have much of a backstory past “let’s start an online sticker store.” Honestly, I don’t think it needs one. The stories that are told are through the eyes of the customers, who will write to you about life events that shape their reality and how stickers are incorporated into that. Sometimes they’ll make requests that need to be fulfilled before continuing on with their story. There are just over a dozen people that you’ll get to know during the course of the game. I love that their stories aren’t as simple as “I like to stick things on stuff.” There’s one about a stepson and a stepdad bonding, and another about a police detective trying to figure out who is sticking stuff all over town. You’ll even sell to what is certainly not a frog.
The game’s parts are all accessed from the desk. Here, you can choose to look at your shop, design, upgrade, print, package, and ship. It’s all very pink and purple, which is basically my style, so I was pleased as punch with the visual aspect of it. I spent equal times designing and packaging, because I liked my packages to be meticulous. They don’t have to be; I’m just a weirdo who likes things to be perfectly lined up.
Designing stickers is an absolute blast. There are hundreds of options to choose from, and they can be layered together to create some pretty whacky things. My pièce de résistance was a green tyrannosaurus with the words “calm, cool, crunchy.” Does it make sense? Not a bit. Does it make me laugh every time I look at it? Absolutely. The variety of illustrations to choose from is astounding: there’s everything from cats to race cars to so many flags to witchy stuff (a great bonus for me). Text colours can be changed, and the outline of the sticker can be changed in colour or in size. It really is a nifty thing, basically an entire sticker designing app contained within the game. As an added bonus: you can save the sticker designs and print them on sticker sheets yourself!
When you design a sticker, you choose what kind of paper it will be printed on; there are options like plain white and cardboard, but also ones that get really sparkly in different ways. Once I unlocked the sparkly ones, everything I made was sparkly… why not?! You can print one or many designs on a single sheet, but they have to be made for that style. For example, I can’t design something to be printed on a normal white sheet and try to combine it with something designed for holo love. Fitting stickers on the sheets for maximum profit is a game unto itself. A single sheet always costs the same (depending on the type) regardless of how many stickers you can fit onto it. There is an auto-place but it’s not always the best, and often leaves room for things to be squeezed in. The more stickers on a sheet, the more possible profit there is to be made.
While designing and printing is fun, I really loved the packaging part. If you play like I do, it’s almost like A Little to the Left; things need to look pretty and line up perfectly before I’ll send them off to customers. It doesn’t matter if you just throw everything in, but for whatever reason I flat-out refused to because I wouldn’t like to get a haphazard package. Never mind the fact these aren’t real packages for real customers, I want them to be perfect! When packaging, you can choose the paper colour and filling colour/style and place in the ordered stickers, yes, but you can also toss in extra stickers (I made one that said Thank You for this purpose, though people apparently love to order it too) and candy to make more hearts from that order. Hearts are one component needed to buy upgrades, the other being cold hard cash.
Upgrades basically make more things available to customize stickers, the store, and packaging. New sticker illustrations cost hearts, whereas packaging options cost money. The prices are all reasonable compared to what customers pay, and while I was sometimes impatient to buy something specific it never took long to save up (generally just a day for a single heart item). The only time I started to think I’d never make it was when I was upgrading slots in my store; those costs add up quickly!
There are some really nice bonus aspects to the game. My favourite is there is day speed options: normal, relaxed, limitless. Even the normal is quite reasonable, but because of my super slow packaging I chose to go with relaxed. When I started designing more complex stickers, I went limitless. It’s easy to end the day and go to the next, just click on a little bed icon. That leads to another nice feature of the game: auto-save. It saves at the end of each day (and there’s an icon stating such), which means even if you quit halfway through a day, you don’t lose much work. Sure, a manual save would be nice, but it’s also not necessary.
While I did really enjoy the game, there are a couple parts that I feel are lacking. One is the storefront. You cannot manually arrange the stickers, they just go up as you make them. But when you delete a sticker then make a new one, it moves back to that spot. It makes it difficult to package because I kept losing track of what I needed, expecting it to be around stickers I made at about the same time but finding it much earlier in the list. Another part of the game that lacks – actually, it doesn’t exist – is marketing. It would be fun to be able to place ads and reap the benefits!
I’d describe Sticky Business as a wholesome game. It looks like one, and it plays like one. It’s lovely for there to be no violence, no conflict, just stickers and stories. It’s not a terribly long game (it took about ten hours to get all the Steam achievements), but it was super fun and exactly what the marketing promised. I’d love to see it on Nintendo Switch, but that’s mostly because I want everything I love to be available on that platform. The sticker design and packaging processes were almost soothing, and I oddly did love trying to fit as many stickers onto a page as possible. If you’re in the market for an innovative cozy game idea, Sticky Business just might scratch that itch!