Factorio Early Access Review

Factorio is a resource management game which tasks you with creating factories complete with assembly lines, electricity and raw material extraction. Is it a gem or will it leave you feeling empty?

Graphically the game looks good. The theme of the game is brilliantly portrayed by the art style. A 2.5D perspective and an adjustable zoom allows you to see large areas of the map without having to move your character long distances. This saves time when building up to very complex structures which are essential to patrol to make sure that everything is functional and adequately fuelled.

The gameplay revolves around collecting resources and using them to build machines to manufacture, aide and power a supply line. Efficiency is the main objective and achieving this should be a top priority. The beginning of the game will see you manually gathering material for your first tools and machines before progressing to automated mining, smelting, packing and beyond. Creating a supply line where your interaction is minimal and demanding peak performance will yield the best results, of course this also demands more resources to create and much more fuel to keep operations running.

Similar games include city skylines although Factorio allows you to move about in a top down, isometric view. There are some big differences however, such as combat and slower progression due to having to move your character to new locations to build, rather than a god mode. The change makes it more personal since you need to tend to the content yourself instead of simply flying around. Even when your factory has progressed into automation, there is always something to be doing. Attending to matters and dedicating time to doing it is much more rewarding. Walking through the factory also gives a better sense of size as your walking time increases.

The campaign is more of a tutorial of how to play the game than a story. The objectives revolve around building new machines which are slowly introduced as you progress through the levels. There is a light story which tells of you crashing on a mysterious planet and needing to attempt to get back home. This is all told through written dialogue, however, given the art style and nature of the game I found this to be fitting and reasonable.

I found the combat to be boring and too simplistic. The mechanic only involves moving the cursor closer to a pack of enemies and the auto targeting system will hit the enemy which is closest to you. Ammo must be crafted using iron, a common resource, keeping an eye on your ammo pool is crucial in case you are attacked, or you need to defend your structures from attacking creatures. While the combat isn’t the main objective of the gameplay, I found it to be disappointing. There was no skill requirement whatsoever, a dull system that felt forced.

Factorio is an early access title which has used the system right. There were no problems mechanically and had I not looked at the store page, I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a full release. While elements could be improved, but nothing felt overly broken or flawed. If you’re looking for a game which both keeps you interested while also looking for problem solving and continuous improvement this is the game for you. If you’re looking for a game with a good story and campaign, then unfortunately this game might not be for you. A recommendation for players who like world builders. According to some who have reached endgame, there are some very good goals and objectives to set for yourself.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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