Factorio: Factories, aliens and guns


Mechanical Creativity

Factories stretching out as far as the eye can see. Conveyor belts feeding furnaces full of coal on one side, and iron on the other. That iron is then literally picked out and put into a more powerful furnace to produce steel. The end product? That awesome new gun, vehicle or piece of armor you’ve been hoping for.

But you’re only getting started.

If all of this sounds like a whole lot of fun to you, the you should probably head to steam now, on the other hand if you, like me, are a little skeptical, then read on.

Why skepticism then? Well, infinitely scalable, as the developers tout the game to be, led me to two immediate thoughts “So much machinery! Awesome!” and “All that micromanagement tho” and I wasn’t wrong on either account.

In Factorio you’ve crashed landed on an alien planet that, thanks to its incredibly convenient similarities to earth, is full of resources to help you in the task of growth and survival, though it’s also full of aliens that want to murder you. Other than that you’re left to survive in your own way and to learn at your pace. I will say this, I do NOT recommend you play the game without first going through the tutorials because, though the very basic mechanics are easy to capture, the advance mechanics are not, and the game is not going to stop to teach you.

Lonely Dude

It’s the difference between the advanced mechanics and the basic mechanics that can make the alternate between a micromanagement chore and an automated bonanza. Things like mining, forging, and item movement can be automated, but later down the road you have to start to get creative as to how to further automate things. Two easy mistakes to do are, for example, not using your new tech properly and not automating in a circular motion. If you’re mining a material you can immediately turn it into a refined version of itself, and that material can be used to automatically make items, but if within all of that you’re not automatically feeding these machines with power there will come a time where things will just… shut off.

It’s this kind of micromanagement that can be a chore. Yes, you can set up a system that is fully automated, but the concept of growing that system still requires you tinker with it, and this creates more problems. To make something better either you tear it apart, or you add to it. This is very much the case of Factorio and both of these things happen with enough frequency that it can become a little irritating. Which brings me to the second annoying factor: Unlocking research.

Mid Tier Close up

The only way you can make bigger and better things is by researching them, and research requires materials. This process can be bothersome because it just takes SO GOD DAMN LONG. You end up having to set up multiple research facilities to speed up the process, all of which you’ll have to automate, otherwise you’ll have to feed them the materials yourself, which easily the least fun thing to do in the game.

I spent a good chunk of the game just waiting, though there are ways to speed things up, it’s easy to loose motivation to actively participate in the game as you wait. I actually ended up spending a good chunk of the game on youtube whilst I waited.

With that said though, if you are a fan of micromanagement, or you really know your way around the logistics of automation then these drawbacks won’t be an issue for you. Though on the other hand combat might be.

The games way of challenging the player, other than providing technical obstacles, is by sending waves of baddies (freaky aliens) at him/her as he is building. These “things” are capable of doing some damage both to the player as well as his base, but in my experience this can be a little bit of a rare occurrence, especially in the beginning. As it turns out the amount of time you put into the game will affect the spawn rate and the strength of the baddies, but even after a while they weren’t enough of a nuisance that it became a concern. Though maybe in the higher difficulty settings and with more game update this will change.

Updates. That’s one important thing. This game is just getting started, the possibility for growth is still VERY much there. It’s a game ABOUT growth, and it within itself has a large possibility to grow further into a greater challenge and more awesome stuff to make.

Factorio is a game that gives you space to grow, but it’s on you how much effort you will put into that growth, and how much you’re willing to wrack your brain to find the logical answer to automation problems. Also, watch out for the freakishly fast aliens.

Disagree with me? Think this is a creative paradise and I’m just being a little b!tc#? Leave a comment in the section below!

Thanks for readin’. Have a wonderful day!