Since its early access release on Steam a few weeks ago, Dyson Sphere Program has been a huge hit with the base building and logistical puzzler crowds. Unlike most base builders where players are tasked with handling every aspect of growing your civilization on a macro scale, Dyson Sphere Program narrows your focus down to just the logistical side of things. You place factories, feed them materials, then collect the goods they produce. Those products are then used to build more complex items, which are in turn used in the production of even more advanced technology, and so on.
Although the multi-planet playground of DSP is a new twist, factory building games have been going strong for years. So when you are finally able to harness the energy of an entire sun in Dyson Sphere Program, we’ve already got your next challenge headed down the pipeline. Each of these five logistics games will are great fun and will have you mumbling production ratios in your sleep.
- Developer: Wube Software
- Release Date: February 21, 2016
- Platform(s): PC
After spending four years in early access, Factorio was finally released in August of 2020. It doesn’t take long to see that the factory building of Factorio is very similar to that of Dyson Sphere Program. Your factory may be confined to a single planet in Factorio, but there is a greater sense of urgency to your planning and build execution. You see, Factorio adds in a little survival into the mix by way of an indigenous species that isn’t too happy about your pollution-spewing factory infringing upon its space.
- Developer: Zachtronics
- Release Date: January 1, 2011
- Platform(s): PC, iOS, Android
With Space Chem, developer Zachtronics doesn’t go with the large scale open world factories a couple of the better-known games on this use. Instead, Space Chem takes your production line puzzles down to the atomic level. Don’t worry, though, these small scale production puzzles still require a big brain to solve. The premise is very simple – atoms and molecules are input on the left side of a reactor and then manipulated by you to create the correct output chemicals on the right side.
Each reactor is a 10×8 grid with four quadrants. Within that grid, you must design a workflow to manipulate each component to break down their chemical bonds, tear atoms apart, and then reassemble them for output to the correct quadrant. You start off with a single reactor, with later levels using multiple reactors linked together for greater complexity. You’re graded at the end of each puzzle; I wonder if you can pass the test?
- Developer: Zachtronics
- Release Date: January 19, 2015
- Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4
Infinifactory is another game from the puzzle wizards at Zachtronics (they have a bundle on Steam). This time around you’ve been abducted by aliens and put to work making stuff. To create the required number of gadgets needed for each level, you’ll place cubes, à la Minecraft, to create a production line. You receive a score at the end of each level based on your factory footprint, completion time, and the number of blocks used. And yes, that feeling of success at completing a hard puzzle will be wiped away when you see the scores that other players have for the same level.
- Developer: Hollow Ponds
- Release Date: August 29, 2019
- Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
If you thought managing an ever-growing network of conveyor belts was tough, just wait until you check out the monumental task of organizing Wilmot’s Warehouse. At the start of each shift, a truck drops off a pile of goods, each one represented by a block with a colorful icon. During this delivery phase, you must sort and place those items around the warehouse. How you sort them is up to you. Do you sort them by color, shapes, common themes, or something else entirely?
Whatever system you use, it better be easy to recall, because during the service phase you have to retrieve and deliver customers their orders before time runs out. You can only carry so much and you must navigate down the rows and aisles you have created, so it isn’t as easy as it may seem. And if it really is that easy for you at first, check back and let me know how you’re doing after 30 or 40 new items throw a wrench in your sorting system.
- Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
- Release Date: March 19, 2019 (still in Early Access)
- Platform(s): PC
Coffee Stain Studios puts their own spin on the logistics genre with their 1st person open-world factory builder, Satisfactory. Each of the starting biomes comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s up to you to conquer them all. Remember to take a break from building your sprawling, multi-level factory to explore the rest of the world. You never know what you might find that you can put to use back on the assembly line.