If you want to harness the power of manufacturing, Factorio is definitely the game for you. Stranded in a strange alien world, you must find a way to survive and escape from this place using the remnants of technology left over from whoever came here first, as well as your own innovations. This is a factory sim with a sci-fi aesthetic and just a touch of exploration mixed in. What starts simple turns into one of the most exciting management simulation games we’ve played.
It’s been more than two years since Factorio first landed on PC, and the Switch version offers an experience very similar to the original. There are a lot of different machines to build, outputs to consider, and there is always the danger of deadly aliens to keep you alert. It’s one of the best balancing act we’ve come across in the sim management genre, although there are some issues with how the port works on a Nintendo console.
There are times when the dialogue is covered by the cursor instructions on the left side of the screen, for example, causing us to lose essential information about our next target. Not a problem in Docked mode due to the larger screen, but Handheld mode caused some frustration for us. The other problem with this console port is that it’s sometimes difficult to select a single item in the sometimes messy factory setup. The joystick does not provide the precision of the keyboard and mouse. Touchscreen is supported, although we found it somewhat inaccurate outside of the list, in part due to our suboptimal layouts, perhaps. Regardless, we sometimes found it difficult to identify certain elements.
Other issues, like the initial title screen which takes a surprisingly long time to load, are less frequent and don’t get in the way of the very powerful and engaging game. Factorio’s open-world nature means that you’ll spend most of your time finding the perfect factory layout. Having a goal in mind, which can be as simple as building a defensive perimeter to create a missile ship to allow you to escape the planet, is the key to progress. However, even the best developed systems will need to be upgraded as new technologies become available, so you will be constantly changing and replacing older systems as you work.
There are some wild techniques available to players to research and build in Factorio. From simple conveyor belts to roaming death robots, everything has a purpose. Most of the items are either to defend your industrial zone or are meant to speed up the production of the parts you need to complete research packs and materials. The faster you produce, the faster your plant will produce increasing amounts of pollution, which will cause the local wildlife to evolve faster into something better capable of killing you. It quickly becomes a race against time, trying to master your industry fast enough to escape the planet without being wiped out by the hordes of powerful and aggressive monsters on your doorstep.
Factorio’s Freeplay mode simply takes you to a vast, randomly generated map with limited supplies. You start building your new home from scratch, generating energy and materials while staying safe. We found that ensuring we could protect ourselves, with plenty of ammo for our turrets and firearms, was the best course of action, but there is no real set way to progress through the game, and it would take a few dozen hours to complete. a play.
If Freeplay feels a little overwhelming or aimless for you, you can try out some of the specific challenges that the game offers. These missions range from timed missions with limited building space available to racing against other players to build their first rocket. Some of these programs felt like extended tutorials, but for players who have invested dozens of hours into the game, it can be a fun way to mix up the usual formula.
Factorio’s multiplayer lets you join their friends’ running games or invite random players to join their own game, although we had some issues getting multiplayer to work during our time prior to launch. We frequently disconnected from servers when joining public games, but once we found an online game stable enough to join, we really enjoyed the progress it made. The fact that there is an intersection with PC users means that some of these players’ games have lasted hundreds of hours, with complex systems on the verge of helping them escape from the world. The co-operative focus of the multiplayer means everyone is working toward the same goal, passing notes back and forth through text chat and giving advice on how to design the collective factory.
It’s easy to see how people have invested so much time and energy here. The tutorial alone takes at least five hours to play. It doesn’t do much to hold your hand, which gives you a vague set of directions for advancing to the next stage. We have died several times during the tutorial section of the game simply because we invested our resources in harvesting the wrong materials early and we ran out of ammo for our weapons at a critical point.
The music and visuals here are fairly simple but effective. Sometimes the music would cut out completely and just leave you with the noise around your plant to keep you company, which was surprisingly soothing. Simply the visuals, there is a sense of satisfaction watching your defenses fire as alien attackers approach or seeing a swarm of hoverbots offering products from one end of your territory to the other.
Despite some minor layout issues on the Switch, Factorio still does what it’s set to do on this port. It’s a very fun and complex game with dozens of hours of gameplay before you even start tackling the challenging maps or multiplayer mode. If you want a management slide that is more practical than others and will provide you with almost endless content, then this is one of the best out there.
Like the gears in an engine, everything on the Factorio has a purpose. There is not much in terms of extras here but what is in this factory management sim does its job beautifully. Despite some issues with the way the switch port and controls are presented, these are minor issues in an otherwise great game that will either make you grab the best possible layout of your plant or want to keep playing to see what the next quest tree opens.
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