Impression: Factorio

I was gifted Factorio from one of my friends whom I had gifted Rimworld. We’re cruel like that. Given how much I enjoyed Rimworld and Oxygen Not Included and other resource-collecting/crafting games, it seems like Factorio should be right up my alley.

For some reason though… it’s not.

I am in the very early stages of the game. The tutorial, in fact. And while I very much enjoy crafting/survival-esque games and colony management games, Factorio is neither. It is an automating and stand-around-waiting game. You directly control an engineer and initially collect resources 1 at a time until you build machines that can do it for you automatically.

For example, you discover an iron ore field. You can mine it yourself, one nugget at a time, until you can build a Stone Furnace to smelt the ore into an Iron Plate. Use those Iron Plates to build a Burner Drill, which will automatically mine whatever you set it on top of, e.g. iron ore. Then you build conveyor belts so the iron ore can fall out of the Drill and be moved elsewhere, where you build robotic arms that can place iron ore into Stone Furnaces and more robotic arms to place the Iron Plates directly into a storage box. Or onto other conveyor belts to move it to Assemblers which can convert them to Iron Gears, which are necessary to produce the next dozen things down the tech tree. You will also need a similar setup to mine/process copper, stone, and coal to power everything.

In principle, this is the same sort of thing you’re doing in Oxygen Not Included. But that game… is fun. I’m not sure what Factorio is yet.

There’s a rather annoying part of the tutorial in which you are specifically tasked with creating 50 gun magazines per minute while also consuming 12 technology per minute. I get that the point of the exercise is to push the player into understanding you can build a dozen Lab buildings to accelerate research, and same with the mass-production of magazines (to feed turrets to fend off hostile wildlife). That said, I was the closest to quiting the game outright at that moment. All prior tutorial steps were “build X, which takes a half dozen steps,” which was fine. The magazine/tech thing was arbitrary though, and I was a little worried I would run out of technology to research before I successfully built enough Labs. Nevermind how many extraneous magazines were crafted as I trialed-and-errored my way to figuring out how to achieve that, again, arbitrary rate.

At this point, I may abandon the tutorial altogether and give the “real” game a try. Not having any express goals is not something I typically enjoy in gaming generally, but is not something that bothered me in Rimworld or Oxygen Not Included.

We’ll see if I have the same sort of success (read: fun) in Factorio.

Posted on March 3, 2020, in Impressions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I could never get into Medieval Engineers for exactly this reason; I never found it fun, because it never felt like a game to me; it was just a building kit in front of you and you had to ‘build your own fun’. I get that works for some people, but not for me.


  2. I love this game, as it has occupied my last 3 months of very rare gaming time – new dad here.

    2 things :
    – the tutorial is a bit different than the ‘real game’ as exploration is a bigger part in the tutorial than the real one
    – the ” 50 gun magazines per minute” requirement is a real requirement : you will be confronted by bigger and bigger wave of enemy, and you will need to supply those turrets with lots of magazine.

    @Syncaine : In the main game, depending of the starting options, this game can be relaxing without any pressure ‘ build your own fun’, to a survival race VS the enemy wave where you barely survived – similar to ‘they are billions’.

    The heart of the game is the freeform puzzle game of building an efficient factory within the constraint of the map. It will pleased people that love to resolve issue ( engineer, programmer, ..), but is light on Adventure, Story, Exploration or Skill. But there is a lot of “power progression” through the different technology you unlocked ( from a weak and very inefficient guy, to a mass killer with a factory behing him/her).


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