If there’s anything I associate with working in a warehouse (besides exhausted Amazon employees peeing in water bottles), it’s the image of tall shelves filled with merchandise, meticulously aligned, waiting for the smooth guiding hand of a pallet jack. I’ve always loved a well-organized environment; it provides a sense of order and routine and helps provide the structure I need to focus my own thoughts. In Wilmot’s Warehouse, a charming little Humble Bundle original from Hollow Pond and Richard Hogg, I’ve spent the past few days indulging that appreciation for tidiness, finding new satisfaction in the efficient use of space.
In Wilmot’s Warehouse, you play as a warehouse worker inexhaustibly organizing boxes of merchandise. At the start of each level, a batch of items is dropped off by a delivery truck; you must gather them in bulk and maneuver them into the best spot for retrieval along the building’s many walls. How boxes are configured and carried is the key challenge. As the variety and quantity of merchandise stacks up, storage space becomes limited, aisles are smaller, and it becomes harder and harder to move things around and distribute them in time. Once the initial timer is up, customers will request items in certain quantities, and they must be picked up and delivered to the service hatch as quickly as possible. The faster Wilmot goes, the more Progress Stars he is awarded, which are then used to add new abilities to his skill set, like dashing forward or carrying additional boxes. New merchandise is also unlocked with every level, adding to the visual diversity of the boxes while offering a light sense of progression and collectibility, enhancing the game’s themes of order and tidiness.
Wilmot’s Warehouse is very soothing if coordinating a cluttered space comforts you. Its bright iconography is easy on the eyes and makes for quick identification of the hundreds of different boxes of merchandise. I found it pleasant to slip into the repetition of matching every item and finding the perfect spot for it on the warehouse floor. There’s something very assuring about making a place for everything so everything has its place. While I don’t fully have a system worked out yet for categorizing everything, which I think would increase my efficiency, figuring that out has been an enjoyable part of the challenge. I may start to group things by background color and see how many seconds I can shave off the time spent searching for boxes.
Wilmot’s Warehouse is well-balanced. The calm of stacking and organizing boxes contrasts effectively against the frenzy of the game’s time-based elements. And like any good puzzle game, it communicates a lot of its ideas visually instead of verbally, which cuts down on confusion and allows the brain to form quicker response times. Add to that a mellow electronica soundtrack and it’s like a day at IKEA, minus the kitsch names and Swedish meatballs. If only actual warehouse jobs could be this relaxing.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.