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Satisfactory Review: A Factory Sandbox on an Alien Planet

Satisfactory is the factory building simulator concocted by the gents that brought us Goat Simulator….of all games. The gameplay loop is simple enough: mine valuable natural resources to build machines that help you mine for natural resources so you can design factories that expedite the mining of resources, ad infinitum. The joy is in the planning and exploration as you traverse lush alien planets in search of natural mineral deposits to exploit, developing small mining operations into enormous, mall-sized industrial machines to pump precious rocks and things from beneath the surface.

What To Expect

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There isn’t much explanation or narrative for what’s going on. A short animation plays at the start of the game offering a bit of information about who you are and what you do. You work for FICSIT, a massive, interplanetary corporation that apparently sends its employees – you – to distant, resource-rich alien planets to pump them empty of their minerals. You get the feeling that the people that pay your salary might just be the bad guys and you’re not much more than a cog in their well-oiled, planet-eating industrial machine. After landing with a dull thud on the planet’s surface (there’s a currently a choice of three planets with different biomes which you select before beginning a session), a brief tutorial offers a bit of guidance on the main mechanics of the game before leaving you to your own devices.

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Some elements of survival gameplay exist in Satisfactory, though they’re clearly secondary to the main mechanics of resource mining and machine building. Combat, in particular, feels floaty, with your hits lacking weight. The lack of visual and audio feedback makes battles unsatisfying and often difficult to determine if your attacks hit their mark. Aggressive creatures are clearly a balancing mechanic, acting as deterrence for new players hoping to immediately start farming the more valuable minerals from the get-go. Hopefully, plans are in the works to improve combat overall.

Descriptions of Satisfactory tend to reduce the game to a mere 3D re-imagining of Factorio. You spend much of the game either mining for resources or slapping together combinations of different processing and resource extracting machines to help you accelerate the mining of resources. Such comparisons, while warranted, are a bit unfair to Satisfactory. The additional dimension of play, the ability to add levels and height to your buildings, adds a refreshing verticality to the planning and construction processes, yet another aspect that must be considered in the chase for ultimate efficiency. The first-person perspective also introduces a visual sense of enormousness, of the world and of your constructions, that is notably missing when played from the top-down perspective of Factorio. I still often find myself in awe at the sheer size of some of my creations, metallic monsters of conveyor belts, smelters, and automated transport robots that consume massive swathes of the planet’s surface.

The Nitty Gritty

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The worlds you walk are gorgeously hand-crafted by Coffee Stain’s level designers, the team favoring carefully constructed environments to the generic creations that procedural generation algorithms tend to produce. This attention to detail can be found in the animations and texturing, as well, with a clean HUD and sharp, purposeful movements that communicate a polish and professionalism often missing in other early access titles. It certainly helps that the game, which runs on Unreal Engine 4, looks fantastic and runs smoothly.

The sandbox nature of Satisfactory makes it the kind of game that lends itself well to the share-everything Internet culture of Youtube and Twitch where talented individuals can showcase their planning and automation prowess to the world. This strategy worked for Minecraft – and, of course, Factorio – and Satisfactory seems to have been tailor-made to go down that route with built-in co-op play and the inherent potential for putting together some amazing factories several stories in height. The skybox is literally the limit. Even now in this early stage of development, players are sharing clips of some jaw-dropping technical achievements or proofs of efficient construction patterns. The community has already done some amazing things and it’s worth exploring the plethora of information available, if only just to sit mouth agape at some of the wonders born from the minds of others.

One unexpected side effect of making this game first-person is the issue of travel. Whereas in Factorio you only need to scroll your mouse to get from one side of the map to the other, attempting a similar feat in Satisfactory is guaranteed to be a significant investment of your time. You run at quite the brisk pace, but the utter size of the map is the challenge. This really becomes a problem a few hours in, after you’ve sunk your teeth into the game proper and begun putting together factories that are sometimes kilometers in length. Naturally, there are machines and transportation vehicles for automated ferrying of resources across long distances and even a jet pack to facilitate movement from floor-to-floor, but at some point, it feels like you can never move fast enough. I have my suspicions that this may not be entirely accidental; the slowness of movement certainly incentivizes co-op play, which is one of the primary selling points of Satisfactory. Having another person on your team can cut down travel and building time significantly.

Tying Things Up

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Satisfactory is a game that encourages experimentation and exploration. The real beauty of the game is in the potential for combining these simple, straightforward components into complex and intricate operations, rewarding dedication and, most of all, patience. The patience to travel from one end of your factory to the other, or to test and test and test again different machine configurations to maximize potential output or to build looming artificial constructs that kiss the clouds. Most of us will never find the patience or have the imaginative capacity to push the game to its limits, but there’s still a fun and well fleshed-out game for regular players. Its early access status has not held it back one bit, and even now in this early stage of development, Satisfactory is an enjoyable, challenging game with a polish and completeness that belies its early access status.

Special thanks to OffGamers for the guest blog submission! Read more by OffGamers!

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Most Anticipated Strategy Games of 2019

Greetings fellow gamers, 2019 has started and with it comes a plethora of new games. With the gaming industry booming, games are popping out everywhere, so how will you know which game to try out with the limited time you have to play them. This is not a ranking list, they are all great games and since they are not out yet, we can’t say for sure if they will live up to the hype and expectations, but we know that some of these will be the highlight of your gaming experience in 2019.

1. ANNO 1800

The timeline of this game is set in the 19th century era, the time of discovery, innovation, industrialization, allegiances and of course, conspiracies. You will develop metropolises and make efficient networks between them, settle on new exotic locations and send your expeditions all over the world. The more you progress, the more variables you have to take into consideration and strategize on how to manage your progress the most efficient way. The game is going to be released April 16th and from what we saw, it looks amazing. The developer really put in a lot of effort into details to make this into what is expected to be a great gaming experience. Show the world who is the most superior leader, be the best in all the aspects of leadership: diplomacy, trade and warfare.

Game Trailer




2. TOTAL WAR: THREE KINGDOMS

The Total War franchise took us to ancient China, where you will choose from the cast of 12 legendary Warlords and recruit heroic characters to help you conquer these lands. The ultimate goal is to unify China and become its undisputed ruler. Leave your mark in China’s history as the one who unified it and start a new era of prosperity and peace. Long live your dynasty! The turn-based campaign and real time battles look better than before and with all the new features and improvements from their last edition, we are sure it will live up to its hype and leave its mark on 2019. The game is expected to be released on May 23th.

Game Trailer




3. TROPICO 6

El Presidente is back! Whether you will choose to be a peace-loving leader or a classic dictator, the choice is entirely yours. Shape your tropical paradise as you see fit. With an added depth to the game in the form of different landscapes, this means that you will experience different environmental conditions with its own challenges.

Tropico 6 will see a new character called The Broker who helps you solve situations with shady solutions. Raids and heists, steal monuments from other countries to add to your collections, make them your tourist attractions to earn more money and show your greatness to the world. All of this means that the Tropico franchise looks better than ever. The game will be released on March 29th and we can’t wait to sink our teeth into it.

Game Trailer




4. AGE OF WONDERS: PLANET FALL

Let’s go far and beyond into a world far away, uncovering the history of a fallen galactic empire, to a planet which is inhabited with 6 different races. Each race has its own technology and unique unit line up that comes with customizable weapons. The game landscape features destructible environment and turn-based battles that will push your tactical capabilities to their limit. Players will have the capacity to build their own empire using all of the elements around them with the chosen playable race. This game, with all its features, great graphics and smooth game play will pull you in before you know it. The exact release date is not known but that makes it even more appealing and much sweeter when we get our hands on it.

Game Trailer




5. AGE OF EMPIRES 4

It’s been a whole decade since Age of Empires 3 was released, but as one of the most renowned games of this genre its successor must be on this list. The only thing is we don’t know a lot about it, the creators are keeping it under the ropes, even the game trailer doesn’t give us a lot of hints, but with their vast experience and great base line of its predecessor, we have high expectations. We are expecting the game to be released at the end of the year. To all the future emperors out there, a quote from the movie Gladiator: “We who are about to die, salute you!”

Game Trailer




6. STEEL DEVISION 2

If you like history and games revolving around historical events, Steel Division 2 is the game for you. This game is a real time strategy set on the Eastern Front during World War 2. You are in charge of dozens of historically-accurate battalions, hundreds of companies, thousands of men, in up to 150km wide maps. One turn represents half a day where you will have to manage their movements, combat and of course, secure a supply line. The multiplayer allows up to 20 players in 10 against 10 battles in 25 maps. Command your units to victory and become a general like none before you. History awaits you! Prepare yourselves for WW2 it is coming on April 4th.

Game Trailer




7. WARCRAFT 3: REFORGED

Warcraft Reforged is the ‘’remake’’ of WarCraft 3 one of the most renowned games of its time, a game that left a mark on millions. The story line is the same which is not a problem since it was awesome the first time around but the maps and campaigns are remastered, and the whole game is remastered in 4k resolution.  For the old school gamers that would like to experience nostalgia, this game is a perfect call back to the gaming past and for all you upcoming gamers, a chance to be part of gaming history and experience one of the greatest games of this genre ever made. The greatest heroes and villains of Azeroth are calling upon us once again. The release date is set to be close to the end of the year with no specific date mentioned. Whenever it is, we will be first in line to play it.

Game Trailer




It was really hard to pick out the best strategy games of 2019 since there are so many good games coming out this year. And we’re seeing a good variation this year, from new games to sequels, as wells remastered versions of great games. That said we only think it’s fair to give a shout out to games that may also be great.

Our honourable mentions are:

  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (released in January)
  • The Settlers: Heritage of Kings – History Edition (released in January)
  • Pax Nova (exact release date is not known, during 2019)
  • The First Man (exact release date is not known, during 2019)
  • Imperator: Rome (release date is April 25th)

Special thanks to OffGamers for the guest blog submission! Read more by OffGamers!

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Bloodstained No Longer Coming To Mac Or Linux

The upcoming side scroller Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, from the producer of Castlevania, Koji Igarashi, removed their support for Mac and Linux based operating systems. This news follows the developers' cancellation of the PlayStation Vita version, a delay into 2019, and adding resources from the developer behind the Shantae series, WayFoward.

Igarashi Breaks the Bloodstained News

This news was revealed by Igarashi himself on a post made through Kickstarter.

“Bloodstained will no longer be supported on Mac and Linux,” he wrote. “We have made this tough decision due to challenges of supporting middleware and online feature support and making sure we deliver on the rest of the scope for the game. We will be offering backers who planned to play the game on Mac and Linux the option to change the platform of their order.”

The post also included instructions on how backers can switch the platform they selected. Currently, the development team is set to produce versions of Bloodstained for PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.

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Kickstarter and Fans Made Bloodstained Possible

Bloodstained's journey began with a Kickstarter request that was able to secure over $5 million from 65,000 backers. The game was ranked 16 on the all-time top earners of the donation platform, grossing even more money the Dark Souls board game. Initially the game was supposed to release in March 2017, but delays have set it back to sometime 2019.

Unfortunately, the failure of Kickstarter video game projects to meet their own deadlines has led to a sharp decline in people donating money to projects. Funding fell from $42.5 million in 2015 to $17 million in 2018.

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We'll be keeping a close eye on the status of Bloodstained so be sure to keep checking back with us here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest on this controversial indie project.

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