Genre: Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Linux, macOS, & Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Wube Software
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 7+
Price: US $30.00 | UK £26.00 | EU € 30,00
Release Date: October, 28th 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Wube Software.
Factorio was announced via Indiegogo crowdfunding and released into early access on Steam in early 2016. So here we are, more than a few years later, and it’s the turn of the Nintendo Switch to play host to this game.
Crash Land on a Primitive Planet
You’ve just crash-landed on a primitive and hostile alien world. Your goal is to ultimately build a rocket to launch off into space and get back home. However, you only start with a few tools and the knowledge of how to mine and smelt ore and build highly inventive machines.
At first, you will find natural resources to craft things. Then you can use those items to produce more goods, components, machines, tools, and weapons with even more natural resources. There is a constant need to collect natural resources to keep things ticking over.
Build a Factory Base
Your factory begins small by creating mining stations and some basic furnaces. Then you began to build a power infrastructure, steam engines and such. You’ll be using steam engines to power miners and automate the production of things. Before you know it, you use iron to make gears, plates, and conveyor belts. The conveyor belts allow you to move items around your factory.
Then the logistics challenge begins, creating a fully automated factory to produce science packs that can be used to discover new technologies. Add in trains, logistical robots, construction robots, solar power, laser turrets and powered armour; there is much to do.
Of course, there are consequences to building on an alien planet, the more you build out your factory base, the more complex things will become and the more pollution you’ll generate. However, you aren’t alone on the planet, hostile bugs present an exciting challenge as they don’t like pollution.
Unfortunately, pollution makes the aliens attack. Killing the aliens also makes them angry, so they attack some more. Killing the aliens also means they evolve and build their nests, making them stronger, and they attack more often in significant numbers, like a vicious circle.
With the alien bugs attacking, you must construct defences to keep the bugs at bay. You’ll build turrets and other defensive items and keep them supplied with electricity or flammable liquids and bullets. I could have done without the alien attacks, but I get why they are included in the game. It wouldn’t be much of a survival game without enemies to throw a spanner into your best-laid plans. I loved collecting resources and building up my factory, and watching my defences defeat the bugs was rather rewarding.
Factorio on the Switch
To shrink Factorio to fit on the Nintendo Switch is an achievement for the developers, but I was sceptical about how the mouse and keyboard controls would transfer to the console. However, for the most part, it controls pretty well on the Switch. I was slightly annoyed with the right joystick, used to place items on the ground, as it wasn’t as cooperative as you would expect. Often, it resulted in me placing a conveyor belt or something else not quite where I wanted it to put it.
With the size of the Nintendo Switch screen and thousands of small, fast-moving objects on the screen, some gamers with sensitive eyes may find themselves developing headaches or eye strain. I suffered from eye strain while playing the game, meaning I had to play the game in short sessions when what I really wanted to do was keep playing.
The music and sound effects, especially the noises of the bugs as they attack, all add to the atmosphere of trying to survive on a desolate alien planet.
It’s a game that can feel limitless yet pretty daunting when you first begin. The tutorial helps elevate that feeling as it leads you through the steps, and soon, you’ll have your base up and running.
Various Modes of Play
In the Switch version, you can try the free-play mode and challenge yourself by playing the scenarios. There is also a map editor where you can build your map and add enemies and entities where you like. Furthermore, Multiplayer is also available to play, where you can join other players in a cooperative factory building.
Factorio is difficult to recommend for every gamer as the gameplay loop would appeal to only some players. Though if management games are your thing, this one will suck you right in. In addition, Factorio is the most intuitive management game I’ve played for a long time, though I’d probably pick the PC version to cut down on eye strain. Fans of management games will fall in love with its easy-to-pick-up and challenging-to-master gameplay.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot