Coffee Stain Studio's Satisfactory has launched into Early Access on the Epic Games Store and it’s already a pretty remarkable game. Some Early Access games come out perhaps a bit too early to be accessed at all, but Satisfactory’s current state is fairly impressive. In fact, you could say the game is beyond "satisfactory."
But you shouldn’t do that. Because that would be lame.
The First Few Hours Of Satisfactory
For anyone unfamiliar with Satisfactory, it’s a game where you, an engineer working for the adorably - and somehow also ominously - named FICSIT Inc., land on an alien planet for the purposes of mining everything it has to offer. It’s kind of a strategic building game, where the goal is to turn some happy little planet that’s been untouched by the evils of the industrial revolution into a twisted wonderland of conveyor belts and factories. Humanity rules!
You have a handy dandy building tool that allows you to digitally construct automatic mining machines, power supplies and crafting benches. If you like crafting in your games, Satisfactory has it in droves.
You’ll probably spend the majority of the first few hours of the game running around trying to figure how to get things started. First, you'll need to establish a base of operations or "HUB". From there, you have to unlock things called “Milestones”, which are achievements that require a certain amount of materials to be mined and then inputted into your central HUB computer. Once you’ve unlocked the first few Milestones however, the game starts to really get going.
After about 7 hours with the game, I had multiple conveyor belts feeding raw materials into machines that would turn them into ingots. Then those ingots would wind up being fed into another machine that would craft them into parts. And to go one step further, those parts could be then fed into yet another machine, alongside another conveyor belt with another kind of part, that would then combine the two components into even more complex parts. Seeing all this happen is incredibly satisfying.
Seeing all this happen is incredibly satisfying.
The game’s progression system is pretty fair. Most materials are pretty easy to come by, and each Milestone you complete unlocks more things to craft that can make things move even quicker. You may unlock the ability to craft power cells so your machines can have their performance boosted. Or there are building blueprints for various walls and elevated walkways that can help you fortify your factory and get around the world.
Or you can just unlock a chainsaw. I would recommend unlocking the chainsaw.
Some of the early game can become a bit repetitive. Every machine needs to be connected to a Biomass Burner to power it on. In order keep the Burners going, you need to have enough biomass or biofuel to keep them running. Once they’re out of fuel to burn, they stop and shut down anything that’s connected to it. So eventually you’ll have a bunch of Biomass Burners all running at once to keep all your machines going, and finding enough leaves and wood to break down into biofuel can start to become a bit tedious.
Exploring The Worlds Of Satisfactory
There are three kinds of planets you can touch down on: a lush forest world, a barren desert world, and a strange, mountainous world with alien flora and fauna. Each kind of world offers different challenges for building, as well as different advantages.
The game's world is fairly detailed and beautiful, especially considering this is still just an Early Access game. The strange trees and plant life all look gorgeous, while the various machines look incredible while in motion. There are also various kinds of alien lifeforms for you to run into, most of which are primarily there to try to kill you.
The game has a kind of rudimentary combat, which basically involves you jamming a taser (or Xeno-Zapper) into the face of anything that tries to eat you. Combat isn’t really the reason you come into a game like Satisfactory, but hopefully, by the time the game has its official launch, there will be a little more to do when it comes to defending yourself.
And no, you can’t use the chainsaw to fight off monsters. Hopefully, that changes as well.
The world also looks like it will eventually have plenty to find as you explore. For example, while wandering around I came across what looked like a crashed ship. In order for it to open, it required a certain amount of power. Eventually, I figured out that it needed two generators (or Biomass Burners) attached to it in order to open up and give me a blueprint to analyze. It wasn’t the hardest puzzle, but hopefully, it’s a sign that there will be more things to find while trekking through the alien wilderness.
While the game is already pretty well made and fun to play, it is still in Early Access, and that means there are some bugs here and there. I noticed some audio and framerate hiccups that occurred during the game, but not very often and they were hardly noticeable.
The alien animations are still pretty rough in places, with many creatures getting stuck in walls or glitching under the world. In fact, my main strategy for fighting off one of the main enemies, a kind of bull-like armored pig monster, was to stand on a rock and let it ram its head inside of it while I shocked it to death. I was also able to build conveyor through walls and the ground, which made it easier to build, but probably breaks the immersion of the game a little bit.
It's also important to note that Satisfactory has a big multiplayer component. You can play with up to four different people and band together to build one giant, planet cracking factory. However, the game doesn’t currently have a public option, and according to the game’s wiki page, it doesn’t plan to have one due to concerns about griefing. Which is probably for the best. We didn't get a chance to try out the multiplayer, but hopefully, we will shortly.
Final Thoughts: A Lot Of Fun, And Promise For More
Aside from that, though, Satisfactory is a lot of fun. There is something incredibly mesmerizing about watching all your materials traveling through various conveyor belts so you can turn them into something useful for your burgeoning industrial empire. The game is currently available on the Epic Games Store, and if you liked games like Factorio or the recently updated version of No Man’s Sky, then Satisfactory should be right up your alley.
A copy of Satisfactory was provided to TheGamer for the purpose of this preview.