Hypothetically speaking, if you were to crash land on a remote foreign planet, how do you reckon you'd survive? Would you forage for food, build shelter and eventually draw a face on a discarded volleyball? Or would you mine resources, create machines and build your own multi-functioning warehouses, championing your own pseudo industrial revolution? Factorio [official site] is a game about designing and building factories that suggests you try the latter. After years selling alpha access directly themselves, developers Wube Software have now launched Factorio onto Steam Early Access.
Chris Livingston was quite taken with the version he played in 2014. It wasn't the first game he'd played to plop players on an alien planet to harvest resources and build structures, but it was certainly something new:
"It immediately feels different, though, because so much of the game is focused on creating automation systems. You build machines, production lines, and factories to do your work for you. Unlike Minecraft, where the early game requires you to manually chip away at resources for ages before you’re able to build anything of real use, in Factorio the automation begins almost immediately. There’s still plenty of work to do, but most of the work involves building machines to do your work, and then building machines to build those machines."
What starts off fairly crude quickly becomes decidedly complex as you expand and grow, and discover the means to produce advanced machinery and more efficient production lines. Although not the game's main focus, enemies are eventually introduced to the fold by way of unhappy natives who seek to reclaim their land, thus it's on you to turn your technological prowess to weapons manufacturing. It all looks fantastic, however I'm most interested to see if Factorio offers non-conflict solutions to these particular confrontations. Perhaps if you've dived in already, you can let me know.
Factorio currently lives on Steam Early Access, where it plans to be for the next eight to 12 months, and costs £15. Folks who've bought it before can claim a Steam key. Factorio has a demo if you fancy trying it first.