Every now and then, a game comes along that can teach you more about the world than your average school classroom ever could.
For me, those games have been some of the best simulations ever made; Sim City, Transport Tycoon, Rollercoaster Tycoon and Theme Park to name a few. Despite how simple they are, they really made you think about strategy, planning and managing limited resources effectively.
Over Easter I had some time to check out new games that might capture the spirit of these old simulators. We’ve come close over the years, Planet Coaster gave it a good shot, and Cities Skylines is very enjoyable, but like most modern replacements of the games above - they lack a decent challenge. The games are fun, but its easy to win, instead focusing on a never ending simulation\building sandbox where anything is possible.
I was probably one of the few players that liked the possibility of failed cities and parks if I didn’t manage things properly.
But this Easter, I discovered Satisfactory! A game that also has no ending, death means very little and failure just results in wasted time - but it brings about challenges in its own new ways. It starts out as many other simulators; very little resources, low level tools and no knowledge of your local surroundings, it’s easy to die - and without knowing it, you make short-sighted decisions which will cost you later.
I know I’m late to the party, it’s been out for almost four years now (although still Early Access!). As a futuristic pioneer of humanity, you’re launched into space destined for the planet MASSAGE-2(A-B)b (yeah, we know, weird name right?). Your only possessions are basic tools for mining resources like iron ore, coal and oil.
Your mission is to create materials and products to be launched via a giant space elevator - for reasons I’ve completely forgotten by now.
While the story isn’t important - what makes this game is the challenge of managing resources. As you build bigger machines and factories, you need to handle all aspects of power management, distribution of materials (conveyor belts are the most common method, but other methods open up as the game gets going). The key is to feed enough materials consistently into your machines in order to have them operate at 100% output. This takes some serious considerations.
Because you end up creating a supply chain, you need to ensure your production rates match the input requirements of other machines. To begin with, this is pretty easy (and somewhat unnecessary), but as you progress through the game, it becomes essential to understand production levels and ensure you match the demands of your factories.
I’ll admit, I’ve spent a few all-nighters on this game - it’s incredibly addictive. If you like to focus on efficiency, all while being incredibly fulfilling when it comes to building, decoration and exploration - then it’s perfect for you.
Gone are the days of ‘Game Over’ - but that’s ok - occasionally a game comes along that still captures the challenges of old, and for me, Satisfactory has done exactly that.