My summer in games, part VI: Factorio

In part VI of “My summer in games” I will discuss Factorio, a Steam Early Access factory-builder recommended to me a while ago by a friend.

Factorio

In the case of Factorio I am somewhat late to the party despite the game not being completely finished yet, as countless famous Youtubers have made huge in-depth Let’s Plays already. So I refer to them or the free demo-version on Steam if you want more details. My initial reaction was that Factorio were a top-down view Starbound, where you in a similar fashion mine resources, construct and research new buildings and weapons in order to mine even more resources and so on. Still I now feel that Factorio has a bit of a different angle. My impressions are based mainly on the free play-mode, which is what most people seem to play, but there are also scenario missions and multi-player. You start out by yourself on a planet your spaceship crashed on. By gathering some branches and digging up some iron you may construct a rudimentary hatchet to mine some more a bit faster and can soon construct automated miners and smelting ovens. You are always on the hunt for more efficient methods and soon a line of conveyor belts transporting ore to smelting ovens, raw materials to small factories, produce to research facilities and so on, is on the move all across your starting area. There are already plenty of reference guides online on how to construct things efficiently with respect to space- and energy consumption but I highly recommend to avoid that. The fun is to discover this by yourself by trial-and-error. One is rarely in a tight spot where enemies overthrow your base, in particular there is a “peaceful mode” that completely stops attacks by aliens annoyed by your pollution. Take some time to study the many available keyboard shortcuts and you will soon notice how well Factorio just works, despite it being in an unfinished state. Chances are that you will spend so long on finding better solutions to optimize your factories that already the $20 spent on an early access game turns out to be a bargain. My only worry is the end game which I am approaching in my main save, as many similar games tend to fizzle out a bit eventually. Still I have had more than enough fun already and look forward to play more e.g. in multiplayer.

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