Recently I have been playing Rise of Industry on Steam. It’s a production line/resource management/strategy/economy simulation where you grow/create resources and then turn them into product which you can then sell. The idea of the game revolves around you starting up your own company. Your company then researches items to produce further, unlocking gathering locations, then factories from which you can make bigger and better products. The game is more than just a tycoon simulator though, as you need to manage production lines, build roads, help local towns grow and prosper as well as more importantly making money for your own company.
The game on the outset is pretty easy to pick-up, although the game does provide a pretty good tutorial which explains everything, except for that when you start a new game; the speed is paused (which took me a couple of plays to notice that; started games, built places, but wondered why there were no vehicles running around?). Anyway, starting up is pretty easy. Each area on the map requires permits in order to build on them, and your starting area/town has given you one for free, which is good as they can cost several millions to purchase. You get 3 free upgrade choices too, which allows you to choose which starting upgrades you want when you start the game. Choosing which starting upgrades you want is helped along by understanding what products local businesses are purchasing. So simple places such as Hardware Stores or Farmers Markets can be found in nearly every town, plus have a list of what products they are purchasing. So picking three of these objects is a good start as you can build gatherers/farms to produce these products, and then order the warehouses to send the products to these locations, and then when they start delivering you can start making money.
As the game progresses, you can research/unlock more products, which you can then produce by building in factories. More complex items require certain other objects in order to be produced, but to make this easier, the game provides ‘recipes’. These recipes tell you what objects are needed in order to make the product. It makes making things all so much simpler as unlocking them usually requires prerequisite items in order to be unlocked, plus recipes only need three items. More so, if you build a warehouse near all the producing factories that produce things for other factories, the warehouses automatically co-ordinate where the items need to be sent to.
Producing items is not everything with this game though, as you will also need to manage traffic and make sure there’s no backlogs of traffic preventing deliveries or collections. You will also need to keep an eye out on how much pollution your factories are causing, while also fending off rival productions, plus making sure that after everything is said and done, you don’t fall into bankruptcy. Nearly everything in the game costs money, and to begin with if you’re not too careful, you can find your monthly intake in the red and may have to take out some loans just to stay afloat.
Rise of Industry is pretty simple enough to play but can still be a tricky one to master as you juggle production, costs, delivery networks, what things to unlock and in what order. The game at the moment doesn’t really have much in the way of scenarios as it’s still in Early Access (at time of writing), so for the most part the game’s main mode is it’s career mode which has a set-up similar to that of Tropico as you make choices on the difficulty of certain actions which raise and lower the game’s difficulty. It’s not bad but is still pretty limited, much like other parts of the game itself. The only transport routes that seem to be working are roads and maybe some boats. Trucks don’t really seem to have much point at the moment as they can only do requests, and there’s no way to really unlock their use for general transportation. Trains are the same as they only seem to be able to do requests, and building railways at the moment doesn’t make all that much sense as somehow they’re not as simple to build as roads are.
The main issue with the game for me at the moment though is lack of things to do. Starting your company is easy enough and can be rough too as you juggle finances and rising debts, but when you start making a million plus, an hour; money isn’t really all that much of a worry. The towns requesting items is a nice piece as it does give you something to do, but if you are very quick in what you do, you can then be waiting around for towns to want to advance then advance before you can then make a fortune in bigger and better products. If the game moved at a similar or faster speed to you, or have the choice of how fast they move on, it can then be that bit more challenging for faster working players. Also, while you can buy out other operations, there is no real opportunity to sell operations other than demolishing them; such as selling shares in your company, or product lines/divisions, like in Prison Architect.
The game is still in Early Access and I am sure more things are going to be coming its way in time, but for now that doesn’t stop the game from being just as enjoyable. It really is a fun game, and a pretty easy one to launch into to.