Factorio Review

factorio screenshot

Build and automate your base while being stranded on an alien planet.

 

Genre RTS, Base Building
Developer Wube Software LTD.
Publisher Wube Software
Platform PC, MAC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date February 25, 2016

Factorio is an RTS base-building game with a very unique twist and that twist is one of the reasons it’s on our list of the best pc games of all time. With all the flashy games that are coming out in recent years, it’s refreshing to find something like Factorio. A game with intuitive gameplay that combines base building, automation, and survival in a spectacular way.

The basic idea behind the game

Factorio Start

The game starts with you crashlanding on an alien planet. You have to build a base, protect yourself from the aliens on their home planet and build a rocket to escape. The premise seems pretty “lackluster” and basic, but the journey is where the fun part is. If you are encountering this type of game for the first time, it’s worth mentioning the idea behind the gameplay. It’s not a typical base-building RTS. The biggest difference is the automation factor that you have in Factorio.

Base building & Automation

Basic Factory Setup

The whole point and the addicting part of the game is the factory building part. You get to design and make your own system of how to turn basic materials like ore, copper, and iron,..into full-fledged rockets, guns, base defenses, cars, etc. You start off as having nothing and will quickly realize that in order to achieve anything, you need to build a system. Think of some regular crafting game where you need iron, wood, and branches to create an axe.

In Factorio, you can just program a Factorio to make infinite axes as long as you keep pouring the right materials into it. This is the most basic example. When you need to build a car, for example, you will need to build a system for an engine, then for steel bars, and metal plates. This can get more and more complicated. The real fun is actually figuring out how to do it the most effective way because there is a lot of freedom in making your factory. You can design the system in a very primitive style and then later figure out to optimize it more.

Research

Research in Factorio

Researching in Factorio is pretty standard as far as “Tech Tree” style goes. The main difference is that you will require “science materials” in order to research anything. These materials are created like anything other in the game (guns, rockets, cars). In short, you will need to create factories and mine resources to further your technology. Nothing in this game gets done without a factory.

Combat/Survival

Factorio Combat

At first glance, the combat doesn’t seem that engaging. But it’s really the stuff that you make and how you go about eliminating the aliens that are part of the fun. You can build defense systems, rockets, moving artillery trains, nuclear missiles, robots, etc. to fight against the aliens. There are three kinds of enemies: Bitter (Melee), Spitter (Ranged), and Worm (Ranged). The basic things that you need to know about these creatures are that you can anger them and make them evolve by using too much dirty energy like coal and oil.

Anything that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is not your friend. This forces you to develop a better way to create energy (tech tree into solar, wind, and nuclear energy). If you stay too much in the “coal phase” or you cut down trees mindlessly, you can evolve the aliens so much that the game seems unwinnable.

Pollution

Pollution is a big factor in this game since it makes enemy aliens stronger and more aggressive toward you. This means that it’s always more beneficial to produce clean energy (wind, solar, nuclear) and be in an eco-friendly environment with a lot of trees. The pollution factor can be controlled throughout the game, but you will still need to wander off enemies as they start spreading and eventually attack your base.

Mods

Mods can be a huge benefit to this game. We don’t usually like mods since they chunk up the basic game mechanics and it just feels like we are playing a different game. There are mods in Factorio that don’t do that and add A TON of more content. The most notable mod is the Space Exploration Mod which extends your playtime to around 500 hours, which is insane. Basically, if you don’t find the base game replayable enough, there are a ton of extensions.


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