If a total walloper like Ian Tesla can run a car company, I'm sure we'll all do just fine in Production Line, which left early access today. The latest from Positech Games will has us designing cars, researching advancements, and meticulously designing and optimising factory layouts to churn out cars and turn a profit. It's very much the fine-tuning sort of manage-o-tycoon 'em up, a game for people who'll agonise over which type of brakes to put in their new coupé as much as a bottleneck meaning frames wait an extra seven seconds to have doors put on. Fun bonus: there are no legal consequences to posting tosh on Twitter while playing Production Line.
So here we are, Ian Car, setting up a car company and trying not to go bust. Build the production line, design cars from oodles of components to create distinct models, research new parts, market your cars, buy new toys to build your production line, optimise that layout... good luck. It's a fair bit like Big Pharma, a game which Positech also published (but didn't make - that was Twice Circled), except cars.
Our last look at Production Line was way back in the ancient year of 2017. A lot will have changed since those early days of early access, but I'm guessing our Brendy is still right with this assessment.
"It's for efficiency obsessives – which is exactly what it sets out to be – but it won't hold much for lovers of more gentle sims. This isn't about watching your little workers get cross or giggling as teenagers vomit when they step off a rollercoaster. It's mostly about layout. Putting the right tiles in the right place and operating them at the right speed. I might be at a disadvantage, having not played Factorio or Big Pharma, but it definitely feels like the same sub-genre – a sim for coffee-gulping tweakers and tongue-clicking micro managers."