Smart Factory Tycoon
Reviewed by: Jack Phillips
From a developer and publisher that I've never heard of; comes a 'Mostly-positive' reviewed game on steam; Smart Factory Tycoon. Unlike, seemingly the entire, genre that the game is in; Smart Factory Tycoon did not launch into early access but rather it leapt into full release. Though, somewhat deceptively, the game remains in development and is constantly having new features added to it. Whilst some see this as a positive some, myself included, might find themselves a bit concerned that the game is considered a 'full release' despite the fact that such fundamental changes to the game are being made semi-frequently. Only recently a difficulty setting was added to the game.
The premise of the game is rather simple; build a sustainable factory. This factory needs to be sustainable in both profits and in terms of the environmental impact. As you fulfill contracts you're able to invest back into your factory; either by purchasing new rooms or by unlocking new technologies. The game handles this self-investment by encouraging you to either focus, with each project, on either maximizing profit or maximizing experience from the project. The more expensive the base goods you use; then the more XP you generate but less profit. This is the cornerstone of the game, where larger projects require more development and sustainability.
This feature is what makes the game unique, but I also feel that it is where it is let down the most. As my gametime increases so too does my dislike for the needless complication that I feel is the sustainability system. It is, frankly, just a cash sink. That is the only purpose as far as I can tell; just a feature tacked onto the game in order to ensure that player's spend their money more frequently than they otherwise would. Planting a tree can set you back a fair amount, for a minimal return when all of your machines reduce your sustainability, which results in you having to take more profit-centric projects before you can start focusing on your total XP gain and unlocking the new features that the game offers.
Machine upgrading, one of the first researches I got, was a rather blunt let down. I was hoping for something rather interesting and simply all that was unlocked was the ability to right click something and give it a flat stat-boost at nothing more than a minimal cost. There was no min maxing the system, there was no need to consider the options, it was a minimal sum and a flat upgrade; disheartening to say the least.
Despite my dislike of these features; the game is charmingly simple. Whilst the tutorial doesn't explain everything, such as needing to use right click to interact with objects, it does help you get your first project underway and from there it is very much just more of the same.
For people that want a nice, simple, but still challenging game focused on maximizing profits then I can see the appeal. Yet, sadly, the game just isn't for me and I feel like a lot of needed complexity is missing. As much as I do not like to describe a game this way; it will certainly appeal to extremely casual and laid-back players who are looking to dip their toes into resource-management tycoon games rather than leaping into the deep-end by trying out something such as factorio.
A few more patches here and there and the game will be worth a 4 out of 5; however I remain firmly on the fence due to the simplicity of the title and its inability to hold my attention for terribly long. For that reason I give it a 3 out of 5, thankfully you can try it for free with the demo version that is available on steam.
Reviewed by: Jack Phillips