This is a review I wrote on another website. This is just a not further commented report.
If you want to describe Factorio in a few words, 2D modded Minecraft or Minecraft meets SpaceChem would be the most fitting description. It is about starting with a bare minimum in a hostile environment and build a giant factory just to get back into space. This game is currently (September 27th 2015) still in early access with version 0.12.8 and it already has a lot to offer.
You might have read it through my descriptions. This game is about automation. You start with a few pieces of iron and 2 very basic machines. Harvest-able ores and coal can be found at the surface and it can be mined by hand or via machines, though machines are better, and more machines are the best. Mined ore is smelted in furnaces and then processed to other machines and science packs for research. To get items from one machine to the next, you also need to build a system consisting of inserters able to put items into machines or take them out, conveyor belts to move large amounts of items over medium distances and trains for long distant transport. Most of the time, you will be building and expanding your logistic system to be able to expand and feed your factory. It is simply great to watch your factory grow.
Especially in the beginning of the game, most of your resources will flow into science to research new technologies to expand your factory. Research itself is quite simple. It is about creating science packs and putting them in research labs. These science packs require differently complex systems to be build and again, it is not about being able to build them, but to build them fast enough to have proper progress. It requires some tinkering to get it done efficiently, but this is where the fun lies in this game, tinkering and improving your builds and always being able to build them larger, because bigger is better.
Bigger is better is also what the enemies are thinking. They are insectoid creatures attacking your dirty and loud factory as it starts to spread pollution over the surface and after some time they evolve to larger and more dangerous creatures. These natives shouldn't be underestimated. a small group of them can destroy a crucial part of your factory and they can easily kill you. Luckily, you are not defenceless. Turrets can be placed to defend your factory and you can engage the enemy with shotguns, machine guns and rockets. later in the game you can also drive a tank or build a powerful exoskeleton and let armies of small temporary drones attack the enemy base. This might sound interesting, and it is quite nice for a short while, sadly it gets a chore as those natives build their nests where your valuable resources are hidden. The game is still in alpha and fighting surely requires more balancing and a whole rework, but the devs have already announced that this will be one of their main issues for the next major updates.
Logistics, enemies, fightings and science. I have described a lot of stuff, many mechanisms like gears in a complicated machine and they need to be known to play the game well. luckily there is a 'short' campaign teaching you the basics of the game. Similarly to other sandbox building games, this is just the beginning. What I have described so far are around 20-30 hours of playtime. you're researched most of the stuff and you may have already finish a game in this time. But as I have mentioned before, bigger is better and after building your research base, you're ready to build a mega base. These are constructions you need to motivate yourself to, but it is the ultimate test of your abilities.
Worth mentioning is the great community. You get lots of great ideas on how to improve your builds as well as hints to improve. The devs are also communicating the state of progress weekly in their Friday facts the whole community can comment on. Some ideas have already changed the progress of the game. I really like their community management. Major updates are released every 4 to 6 months and I expect the next one before end of the year.
Factorio can be bought on http://www.factorio.com. There are 3 versions existing: the tutorial campaign and free game mode including multiplayer for 15€, the same as above with an additional challenge pack for 20€. Last but not least there is a version for 35€ will the full game and your name will be put in-game as name of research stations, train stations or trains. There is no steam version currently, but the developers are working on their Steam Greenlight campaign and Steam keys will be included after Steam release.
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