EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Bryson Hile
previewed on PC
RISE OF INDUSTRY
Rise of Industry takes the classic city builder genre and spins it on the head. Instead of creating the houses, hospitals, shops and entertainment hotspots, the game requires the player to develop the industries that will help the city survive. Water siphoning plants are the start of each production as water is essential to the development of new technology. Later on, lumber yards, coal mines and oil fields assist in the maturation of the city and neighboring towns. An in-depth technology tree gives the player a choice of what they would like to focus on. They can choose from different types of foods, to different modes of transportation, which all have required prerequisites. Dapper Penguin Studios have created an interesting and layered early access game that really succeeds in what it strives to be.
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF SOCIETY
As mentioned before, Rise of Industry tasks the player with creating the farms, factories, and warehouses to sustain the city you start in. There are a number of different industries to begin with, which are all broken up into categories. These groups are varied and simple to understand. For example, the gatherers include water siphoning plants, coal mines, lumber yards and a slew of other industries that assist in your production powerhouse. Gatherers are required to be within a certain range of the resource they are gathering, which is particularly easy to do with water and lumber, however it becomes a challenge when you focus on the metals and oil. Iron ore, copper, coal, and oil have resources pockets across the map that donít look aesthetically pleasing. Oil is represented in the water as a random black pool and when the mouse hovers over it reads oil. This representation of the resource felt poor to me along with the metals which looked like big rocks clumped together in a small area. Going forward, I would like to see these resources incorporated into the map a little more if possible.
Most, if not all games, start out the same because water is the basic building block of future technology, but what players focus on afterwards is completely up to the them. I really enjoyed this freedom because it was completely up to me what I decided to provide, sell or store away. This also meant that if I failed to make a profit then I would be required to take out a loan, which I would later have to pay off. Making money in Rise of Industry is the only way to progress to the end game. I learned the hard way when playing that I canít just create a multitude of farms and factories, ship the goods off and make all my money back. In this city builder, you have to take your time, methodically thinking out your next move so you can continue to make money without going broke. Fearing that I may spend too much, I found that thinking like a businessman helped me plan my next move. Meeting demand, having the shelves stocked and providing what the customers wanted, helped out in the long run. If you donít meet demand or provide something else then you have the possibility of other competitors entering the market. These will pop up randomly depending on what you are not supplying. Competitors served to be interesting challenges, but sometimes they felt like nuisances because of how much better they can play the market.
YOU CHOOSE HOW TO PLAY
In its current state, Rise of Industry has two different modes: campaign and sandbox. Both feature different types of gameplay. Campaign required me to act more like a businessman and plan out my strategy. I did enjoy the campaign because it served as a great challenge I was able to overcome eventually. Campaign also houses more numerous features than what sandbox does. The tech tree is excluded from the sandbox mode which I really missed when I played that mode. The campaign tech tree is another one of this gameís great ranges of freedom, however it does have a few inconsistencies I was not fond of.
Deciding what to research was a tough decision because I was not sure what would be demanded later on in the game, but ultimately decided on what I thought was best. Where I found the discrepancies in the tech tree was in its required amount of days for certain products. For example, beef stew required 540 days to research while a train depot only required 60 days to be researched. I felt the differences between the two completely different technologies were weighted wrongly. The reason they are weighted like this is because the train depot starts the advanced distribution tech tree while beef stew is at a later tier on the livestock tier. If the tech tree was weighted differently to reflect the difficulty of certain tech later on then I think it would be perfect.
Sadly, sandbox mode does not have the tech tree or a limit on how much you are able to spend. You canít go broke, you have no real mission and there isnít much of a direction to take. The main objective here is to just build. I have to say I had less fun with this mode because of the lack of challenges and difficulty. However, I did think this mode was a great way to practice for the campaign.
RISE OF A GREAT GAME
Rise of Industry is currently in early access and is getting constant updates to make it better even though it is already really good. This city builder breaks the genre norm making the players create the rising industries at the turn of the century. Creating farms, factories and warehouses to make a profit is such a great idea that Dapper Penguin Studios has really hit on the nose. I look forward to seeing what they do with this game in the future and its full release.
There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.