Amongst all the games on the Steam Store, not a lot of things look like Factorio. Its description is vague, the screenshots and videos look super boring, the graphics look like a phone game from the last decade, and it has a $30 price tag.

However, there should be a reason that the game was overwhelmingly positive reviewed and in this review, we will dissect it.

What is this game About?

The premise of Factorio is pretty straightforward: You, a super engineer, crashed your ship on an alien planet with almost Earth-like natural resources, occupied with alien bugs. You have to use whatever resources you have at hand to create a spaceship to go home – that might sound easy, but the crafting menu would blow you and a few dozen hours away easily. There are a lot of things on the planet to explore and exploit, from mundane stuff like wood or stone… to uranium!

The main gameplay aspect is a top-down construction strategy. You have to focus on building automation later – as the micromanagement would become too much of a problem. Your facilities can be designed towards automation wholeheartedly, to the point that you can just watch as the game plays. This might sound boring, but it takes a lot of work to get to that point in the game.

Factorio: Just One More Hour

Despite its simplicity, the world of Factorio is very attractive and well-crafted. You start the game with just enough raw material to make a single pickaxe – and from that, you have to build an automation empire. Your starting location might be very ideal, with all the resources in an affordable range – or nothing at all. The two basic resources: coal and iron can literally be miles from each other, and in order to get things going, you would need both to be connected.

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This is what progress looks like

The basic gameplay is to work your way into building a resource line with multiple conveyor belts, which deliver needed resources into a coal furnace by mechanical arms. From the furnace, another conveyor belt would deliver the smelted ore into another assembler in order to create more parts, which in turn feed into another system of resources. All that works must be done for just one item out of many. You might think this type of gameplay is not that good on paper, however, you would be surprised about how it actually plays.

A factory in the late game

Unlimited creative potential – You have a planet!

With a whole world at your disposal, you can turn everything on the map into China’s latest industrial complexes. The game has an abundance of tech options at every level of playing – just open up the research section for everything to be listed. The size of the tech tree might be intimidating, but that’s the best part. Researching is the key factor during your factory playthrough, it is more or less measurement for the progress you made. Science packs are needed for researches, and the more advanced the tech is, the more packs you will need.

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The gigantic tech tree for you to explore

To produce all seven types of science packs, you would have to go through quite a few hoops. The difficulty to craft each steadily gets higher – as you will need technology to both create and maintain your production. However, with each unlocked technology you have from making science packs, the better your factory would be. Automated railways, an automated system of robots, advanced exoskeletons – the possibilities are endless. And everything you build would play a part if pushing you towards your goal.

Beware of alien attacks

The more you expand your “science”, the more you would pollute the planet. And because of that, the planets’ natural species would start to attack you. As you build more factories and energy plants, more pollutants will be released into the atmosphere, which in turn causes the creatures to evolve. They will gradually group together to form hordes, create colonies around your base, and rush to destroy your structures.

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Solve problems with deadly force

To counter all the creatures that the planet sends at you, Factorio provides you with more than enough firepower. Started with a basic pistol, you would then be able to upgrade to a machine, then a shotgun, and after that, you would get to cars, turret, and tanks – all with different options for shells. There are lots of options for static defense: you can build a lot of turrets, from gun to rocket and laser. However, be careful of your energy consumption. If you want to destroy your enemies on the move, you could build a tank/giant robot, with laser cannons and attack drones, all automated. Lastly, if the enemies are very far away, the Howitzer cannon is an option – you can just erase hives from the map with a single nuclear bullet.

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Deploying biological weapon on unsuspecting aliens

Everyone can play Factorio

The game has been play-tested by a lot of people, with various backgrounds, levels of creativity. Each person has managed to build their own bases across the planet, with all the complicated defense networks and energy systems. If you are not interested in the building aspect, you could just build some weapons and blow everything up. There are a lot of things for people to enjoy here – and with a game whose cap exceeds 150 players per server, there are limitless potentials.

Building gorgeous complexes of DOOM

In Closing

Factorio is not something that is common in the game industry these days. The developers managed to make even the most boring, most uninspired setting into something that a lot of people would be able to enjoy. It is an indie game masterfully crafted, for people who just want something chill to enjoy after works or during the weekend. The game also has no DRM and copyright protection: the only thing you need to access is an account (which also unlocks even more contents from community mods).

Factorio is one of the best choices for people who enjoy base building games. The replayability of the game is endless, or at least ten times the usual rates of gameplay: at least ten hours per dollars.