Rise of Industry, which is being developed by Dapper Penguin Studios and published by Kasedo Games, first showed up on my radar about a year ago, as numerous outlets started to shed some light in this seemingly unknown title that most people had never heard about. Despite that, some people might remember hearing about Project Automata, a game that failed its Kickstarter campaign back in 2016. After some changes, that game became what is now Rise of Industry. So, the question is, how is the game now after all this time?
Well, for starters, the game still retains its premise and remains true to its initial vision, it’s a strategic tycoon game which gives players the task of building their own industrialized empire that supplies goods to different cities and populations that adapt according to the law of supply and demand. Players will start out with simple things that require little initial investment, like building orchards to produce apples, or plantations for cocoa beans, until they eventually manage to start making money and are able to expand to bigger industries.
The player is thrown into the game with literally nothing besides a few million dollars to invest in whatever industry they see fit, but before getting to work, players should also probe around the randomly generated landscape and towns to see what kind of goods does each region is looking for, and what kind of natural resources are present in those very same regions. Depending on whatever the local populace demands, you should also start investing on making your way down the tech tree, exploring potential future investments and planning your next move.
Rise of Industry is by no means an easy game, mostly due to the constant changes in product pricing which directly affects your income. While the game might look rather simplistic at first, you’ll quickly realize that there’s a lot more to it, and it’s quite difficult to find a balance between the game’s systems, at least this is what I felt. Like I’ve said, different settlements will have different demands, and as their population grows, so does their demand. However, because of the way that the game follows economics, the market value of items changes based on how many items are consumed every week and how many items have remained in stock. This obviously means that if you end up oversupplying something, its price will go down drastically.
This might sound like something that is easy to handle, but given the way that the game presents its systems to the players, I found it to be quite a chore and laborious task to keep track of everything happening. You see, producing apples is not simply done by building orchards, because the game has a pretty complex recipe and logistics system tied to it. Pretty much everything that can be produced from land, like crops and livestock, require water, water which you must harvest from rivers and then transport by truck to wherever it is needed. Transportation of resources can be done automatically by placing warehouses near the locations where there are a lot of items that need to be handled, or it can be manually done by manually plotting destination routes.
This probably sounds easy enough so far, and quite compelling even, right? At least that’s what I thought at first… I don’t mind difficult games at all, games that put me to think, but the issue that I have with Rise of Industry is that it just doesn’t seem to convey information that should be deemed crucial to running a successful business in the scale that this type of game requires. Yes, the game does provide you with some tools that allow you to see if factories and farms are being efficient, and it also lets you see how much you spend on maintaining all your infrastructure and logistics, but the game does not show you, for example, which trade routes that you’ve set up are not making a profit, or which items are being produced at a loss.
The game only provides with you aggregated values for profit and costs that doesn’t help you in finding out where you need to improve your gameplay, what you should stop producing, or what you should be producing more of. Another thing that I believe to be at fault here are the menus. I will say without hesitation that they look absolutely great, very clean and slick, but they are often so small that the game has to provide multiple windows to show information regarding the game that should be able to show up on a single window. Things, like assigning a trade route or destination of a specific profit, and checking the stock of said product on that very same structure, is not possible without having to change back and forth between that building’s menu. I believe that everyone agrees that a pretty game is always a big plus, but I also believe that most people would not want to have that at the cost of a functional and intuitive game. There are way too many menus for my own taste, and therefore you have to click-through so many of them just to get something done.
To be perfectly honest, despite the 3 short tutorials that teach you pretty much all you need to know in order to play the game, and despite watching multiple videos explaining the game and a couple of playthroughs, I still haven’t managed to reach a point where I’m actually not only making money but also where I’m really enjoying my time with the game. The game does offer a sandbox mode where you don’t have to worry about money and competing with other businesses, as well as various difficulty modifiers that should make your life easier, but I feel like that is not really the way that the game is meant to be played. So, I am now at a deadlock, unable to properly determine if I’m just asking too much of the game, if this game just isn’t for me, or if the game actually should actually require a lot more quality of life improvements and tools that allow players to determine what’s wrong with the way that they play.
Overall, the game’s charming low poly visuals, the clean aesthetic, the complex strategy that is seemingly required to be successful, the enticing dynamic region system, the logistics, the supply chain management, the building, pretty much everything about the game just seems to not be good enough for me.
Perhaps it’s because I usually don’t play games like this, but I found the micromanagement to quickly get out of control and too laborious. I absolutely love this premise, but I found it too hard to make any profit, I just kept losing money. Maybe I was just doing something wrong the whole time I played Rise of Industry, so I must admit that, for the most part, I did not really enjoy it. Sure the game is mesmerizing to look at, and I have to say that it’s really nice to see you start out with the little things and move up to more complex industries, but there’s nothing enjoyable about barely scraping by and making little to no profit every month. Despite all that, the game deserves credit for being an ambitious project which, from the looks of it, a lot of people are enjoying. It’s just a shame that I am not one of them.
The game does show a lot of promise, especially when you look at the roadmap and the high level of engagement between the developer and the community on multiple channels, so I will surely visit this game in the future to see how it changes. If you are a hardcore fan that really loves challenging resource management games, economic driven games, or just tycoon games in general, this might be something worth your time. Nevertheless, if you’re like me and you’re just looking for a casual strategy game, something where you can easily get a lot of enjoyment, you might want to wait to see how Rise of Industry changes up until its final release.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this Preview. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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