As always when I start these things, a massive shout-out to the guys and gals over at Wube Software for tossing me a copy of this one. I actually have a history with this game going all the way back to the PC version. Years ago a friend of mine wanted me to pick this one up and play with him when he played it, he often referred to it as “Cracktorio” because of how addictive it was. Truthfully he wasn’t wrong.
This is not about the PC version, it is about the Switch version. One I honestly did not have high hopes for. I didn’t think the controls could be done well, I wasn’t sure how it would handle graphically with the frame rates when things were getting busy on screen with so much going on, especially when it wasn’t docked. My concerns may be too many to list. We will get to all this later, but if you simply want the quick version I was absolutely amazed, and that doesn’t happen often.
If you don’t know what Factorio is, the concept is simple. You crash on a ship and your job is to build a sprawling factory and eventually a ship to escape. You will start small by digging up things like rock, iron, copper, and coal. This can be used to build things to automate small things such as mining these very things and moving them maybe into a box or into another furnace to make iron plates. These can be turned into armor for yourself maybe, or possibly sprockets for more important tools. You will have to decide what you feel is important or needed for you at the time.
Later you will be able to make electricity with steam for example and become more productive and research bigger and better guns and turrets. These are needed since the local life forms don’t appreciate you mining the place and polluting everything. The more you pollute the bigger and more dangerous these things become.
That is the basic idea, its easy to understand but mastering it, well I still haven’t managed that. You will be building cars and trains to move things along with robot spiders before you know it and you will still be finding out there were better ways to do it. All this means nothing if the game doesn’t function.
Earlier I mentioned being worried about the controls, remember this was a PC game made for mouse and keyboard. Playing the tutorials it wasn’t long before I felt playing on the Switch was pretty much as natural as on the PC. I never felt like I was truly handicapped playing on console. It slows the game down a little bit, but considering this game is a slow burn to begin with because you will constantly be planning, evaluating and doing it all over again this meant very little to me.
Graphically is where I was most astonished. Outside of one big loading time at the start which I clocked at just over one real time minute, there really aren’t any until you start running around a bigger map and even then they are barely noticeable. I never felt like there was some insane frame rate drop because I built a ton of conveyor belts that were moving stuff around or because my research plants were kicking into over drive. At one point I was being attacked by about 20 bugs at my power plants that had conveyor belts pumping coal into and my turrets were just cutting them down. My Switch didn’t lose a step, and this was in the hand held mode.
The sound is also great, I loved listening to my little factory tic away as arms moved things from one belt to another or as I would bang away with a pick axe on some iron. It has a nice calming feeling when things are going right, but gets a bit nerve wracking as things are going wrong and you hear something taking down your stuff.
There are a lot of great factory building games out there, Factorio however has pride of place at #1, and in my opinion it is not even close. If you ever wanted to try this out but never could, now is the time. If you simply want to play it more but on the go, now is your chance. This game is an absolute gem, 9 out of 10. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.