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Wilmot’s Warehouse is a small piece of chaotic zen

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Everything zen? I think so!

A colorful image of a warehouse from Wilmot’s Warehouse Hollow Ponds, Richard Hogg/Finji

Bringing order to randomness can be incredibly calming.

I’ve been able to find that joy in the farms of Stardew Valley and even in the dismal world of Frostpunk. But sometimes the narrative of these games gets in the way of what I’m really after: an easy way to feel calm amid the chaos of life. But I recently stumbled upon Wilmot’s Warehouse, a charming game out now on Mac, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC, and it’s my new go-to destination for instant peace.

In Wilmot’s Warehouse, I spend each round of play sorting a truckload of various objects. In the first half of each turn, I must run around and organize my deliveries in a massive, empty warehouse. Once organized, the second phase begins and I must fulfill orders from various coworkers who request items from me. Each of my coworkers will request any number of objects in the warehouse, and it’s up to me to grab each set and run it back to fulfill their orders in a timely manner.

Nearly every bit of Wilmot’s Warehouse is black and white, except the 200 colorful objects that I am tasked with putting in some kind of order. Even my character is a simple cube to match the cube-shaped warehouse I work in, where I organize dozens of other cubes. All of the things that might end up taking mental processing power are simplified, so I can devote all my attention to organizing.

It’s that organization that’s the key to doing well. Since my warehouse is so large, and I only have so much time to store, retrieve, and deliver each order, I have to decide where each item belongs using whichever system I think will work best. If I can come up with a system to help me remember where everything is, then I can swiftly put together deliveries, and retrieve and fulfill order requests from my coworkers. It’s a simple challenge to describe, but it’s anything but simple to do it well.

My systems don’t have to be very complicated for the first few rounds of play, either. A shipment might come in with some red apples, a handful of trumpets, and an object that looks like a gate from a Japanese garden. Based on that, it makes sense to make a section of the warehouse for food, another for musical instruments, and finally a spot for outdoor decorations. I make three piles near the back of the warehouse so I can deliver the items as quickly as possible, which is how I earn stars that I can spend on upgrades like the ability to do a quick dash to move faster.

But the types of objects I receive as the game continues makes these decisions harder and harder. My next shipment has a symbol that looks like a skyscraper and another that looks like bricks. By association I put them near the Japanese gate and consider that section for anything related to physical spaces. I also get green apples, which naturally go near the red apples. But then I receive some martinis and pills, which throw me for a loop.

Since those are consumables, I guess they go near the apples? In my next shipment, I put telescopes beside the deep-sea diving helmets since those were the only “recreational” items I had at the time. But now another shipment came in that contains shark fins. Should I make a section for underwater items instead? Or just animals?

A chaotic screen of item orders and objects in Wilmot’s Warehouse Hollow Ponds, Richard Hogg/Finji

The red and green apples are easy to pair together, but newer items aren’t so easy to work with, which leads to harder decisions. Certain objects may not be instantly categorizable, like a white circle with a blue bird in it, so I set those off to the side until I can associate them with another object, or series of objects.

I have no in-game boss telling me the best way to do things; the only thing that matters is whether or not I can get to all the objects I need to as quickly as possible. Whichever organizational system makes it easy for me to group and remember objects is, in practice, the best one. My success in Wilmot’s Warehouse is all my design. If I set up my warehouse in a way that’s easy to remember, I can soar through my work space and grab items with ease.

I don’t always have the opportunity to make everything perfect in real life, but in each round of this adorably designed warehouse management sim, I get to be the master among the madness.

Wilmot’s Warehouse is out now on Windows PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch. The game was reviewed using a final retail download purchased by Polygon. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.