Survival games are one of the most popular modern video game genres out there. Ever since Minecraft dropped a decade ago (a decade?!), survival games have become more detailed and complex. But not all are created equal: for every The Forest there’s The Stomping Land, so where does Satisfactory fit into all this?
Well, it fits into a slightly odd place. You see, survival games are all very similar. Collect resources, construct buildings, eat, sleep and kill things.Once you’ve played one then you’ve played them all. Satisfactory is attempting to do things a little differently.
There are a few things that annoy players of survival games, even the staunchest fans must admit that having to eat and sleep slows down the exploration of the game. That, teamed with collecting resources, can be a dull and long-winded experience. Sleeping and eating are non-existent in Satisfactory at this stage, and while there is a chance that they could be implemented in later versions of the game, the absence of them here is rather liberating.
Eating is only there to refill your health, and there are no stamina bars of any sort. When night hits, the game remains pretty much the same, only darker, because that’s how night works. The only danger of the night is running into hostile creatures, and while they don’t appear any stronger, or more plentiful during night time hours, they are indeed hard to see, which feels like a more natural increase in difficulty. There’s not much in terms of enemies or weapons at the moment, with only a couple of hostile creatures living in the world.
Collecting resources feels very well balanced in this early version of the game. Hand mining doesn’t take too long and you will soon gain enough resources to start working on basic machinery, rarely did I have to stand and hold the E button to mine for long periods of time. It’s fairly easy to get machines up and running to handle mining for you, and that’s where the ‘factory’ part comes in.
It’s easy to link your mining machine to other machines. For instance, link your mining operation to various building machines, and you can build components such as wire, screws or metal panels. These items can be used to build new machines or items. Building machines can be linked to assemblers, which combine two items to make a more complex one, like motors.
Everything is linked via conveyor belts, which end up stretching all over the map, linking various mining sites with machines and storage at you base location. It doesn’t take long to set up your fledgling factory; with only a few hours play, I had a number of machines all making components for me.
Satisfactory is super early access at the moment. Despite its gorgeous good looks, it is still in early alpha but the fundamentals of the game are all there. The game moves along at a brisk pace for a survival game and that is most welcome and very refreshing, but it is very possible that this may change during development.
Some gamers may get annoyed with the lack content in Satisfactory, and may get a little annoyed at the size of the game world, which despite not being particularly small at all, is not as big as many survival games out there. Satisfactory is a lot of fun and I am looking forward to see what gets added to the game in the coming months. It looks like there’s a lot to be added in, but the basics are very solid and it’ll hopefully make the addition of further content easy.
Satisfactory is currently in early access now on the Epic Games Store.