Simulators have been some of the most thought out games, and some of the most niche strategy games, which in itself is a niche genre. You simulate a farm, a city, animals (and even a dick *cough* *cough*) in simulators. The games have certainly come a long way since SimCity started the generation of simulations, and other games took it ahead. City management sims were some of the most popular games back then, with SimCity 4 giving birth to a whole different generation of sims. Then came Cities in Motion, which focuses on the transport organization in a pre-made city. Finally comes Rise of Industry, focusing on the industrial part of city-building (because after all, industries do pay the most taxes).
Rise of Industry is an industry-management simulation set in the early ’90’s. The game released in Early Access on Steam on February 9, 2018. The game is developed by Dapper Penguin studios and published by Kasedo Games.
Rise of Industry
The game’s concept is pretty simple. You’re an industrialist, starting out with some cash. You need to build an industrial empire, controlling the demand and supply chains. How you do it, is entirely up to you.
The game has only one mode of as of now : Singleplayer. You have to race against your AI opponents in order to create the greatest industrial empire possible. You can either go into Freeplay mode, develop your industrial empire of your own at your own pace. Or you can adopt the Career mode, which lets you progress gradually, as you move up the corporate ladder. You can customize the map, resources and restrictions in Custom Games, and play the game according to your wish.
You start off with a certain amount of money. With it, you have to rise up the corporate ladder and win the rat race. Yes, it’s tough. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be manipulating demand and control of markets with ease. That’s what this game is all about.
In the start, you’re starting out with only a few options for logistics, tapping of raw resources, and factories for turning them into finished goods. Keep supplying those, trying to maintain a positive income, and balancing as necessary. Construction of anything requires it to be unlocked from the tech tree. Depending on the performance of the stuff that you unlocked, you get more Tech Points, which allow you to further expand your construction arsenal.
There are several settlements of varying sizes around the map, which is randomly generated each time you start a new game. You buy a contract for construction from them, and start building your industrial empire, supplying resources to settlements in return for money. There are a wide variety of raw materials as well as finished goods to supply to settlements. Every bit of goods sold in the settlements earn you money, which you’ll need for upgrading infrastructure, improving the factories, farms and truck depots in order to ensure efficient production.
The tech tree has everything you can build, along with upgrades, arranged in chronological order. The tech tree is something where everyone should experiment, but it is always wiser to invest in products that have quite a demand, or ones that your rivals can’t produce at that moment. Upgrades are written in small boxes below the big boxes. Each upgrade allows additional customization for the buildings, which helps you manage your products more effectively.
The game has a relatively steep difficulty curve, and it takes time to get accustomed to it. Demand variations depend on global effects (which randomly trigger occasionally) as well as the balance between demand and supply. The unspoken rule here is to manipulate the delicate balance in the supply and demand by supplying stocks of materials at different times. While that cost resources temporarily (maintaining those industries ain’t cheap), it helps a lot in the long run. There is a lot of freedom in the strategy, which means that anyway can be used by the player for ascending the corporate ladder. However, you aren’t the only one who’s looking to making it big in the industrial scene, hence it makes sense to diversify the ranges of products, especially ones that your rivals aren’t producing. A strategy is seen even in the relationships of the industrial houses with the settlements, which varies depending on several factors. A good relationship does mean the settlement offers additional benefits, like cheaper raw materials for your factories, or higher prices for your finished goods and produce.
While the game is enjoyable while starting out, it can get very dull at times, especially when you need to wait for the demand for a product to go up again. Or wait till you have a positive balance, and the courage to open shop in another region. Settlements themselves expand gradually, which again depends on several factors, especially upon the demand and supply of products. Products are sold in the hardware stores, farmer’s markets at the wholesalers (the wholesaler allows you to dump cheap material into your factories for increasing the profits), so it is always wise to keep an eye on them and make changes to the industries accordingly.
Customization options are quite large, which means you can do a lot with your industries. Have a farm? Add two more fields to increase production. See a new crop increasing in popularity in town? Unlock it from the tech tree, and change the type of the farm to start production of the new crop. Find the demand of your products falling? Bench your drivers. Find the wholesaler selling water for cheap? Destroy those water pumps, and order your trucks to supply water to your farms. Find the movement of trucks very sluggish? Upgrade the dirt tracks to city roads. The possibilities are endless, and how you choose to ascend the throne of capitalism totally depends on you.
The game has an interactive tutorial for explaining the basics of the game to people new to the simulation genre. While highly interactive, the tutorial explains stuff in a pretty mundane way, which makes you fall off bored, skipping steps, till you realize you’re done. And then, when you’re in a game, you feel the need to revisit the tutorial to know how to set up a trading route, you’ll find yourself skipping portions to the part which contains the information you need. Maybe if the tutorial didn’t sound like a boring school lesson, people would be bothered to listen throughout?
The freeform construction modes allow you to construct freely and play with a large pool of money. This allows one to experiment freely, and see what works out and what doesn’t, especially when they’re playing with a large pool of resources. You can also design custom scenarios, by setting up the map, the amount and location of resources available, and the restrictions set by the player.
The game’s sound isn’t something you’d remember when you shut it down. In others, the music isn’t that iconic for a simulation which is over-focused on strategy. Despite that, the music manages to be something that soothes the mind, and does not hinder one’s thinking about what to do to reduce that outflow of money from your treasury.
The devs come up with a patch every time a number of bug fixes are required, or the implementation of features that players want to see in the final product. While Early Access is no longer what is supposed to be, with developers freely jumping from one project to another, Rise of Industry has progressed well in its time period, with detailed feature updates coming through occasionally. The game has extremely few bugs in its current state anyways, and none of which escape when an update comes through.
Graphics & Optimization
The game doesn’t score that well in the graphical sector. It almost looks like a hand drawing of the scenery. This was a considerable disappointment as compared to the introduction video shown before entering the game, which has some decent visuals (but then again, it is only a “cinematic”). However, the game outplays in the freedom of strategies usable what it lacks up in its visuals (and let’s admit it, you’ll be making calculations and stuff for deciding how to adjust the markets when you start playing it, so you won’t really have time to judge the graphics).
The optimization is pretty decent, running smoothly on high settings on the following system:-
CPU : AMD FX 8320
RAM : 6GB RAM DDR3
GPU : GTX 660 2 GB DDR5
The game pulled really well but has odd moments of lag when you zoom out and try to view the entire map. Otherwise, it runs smoothly throughout.
The game is a good one, but it is not really for everyone. Even for seasoned veterans of strategy games, the advice is to wait for a sale before you pick it up since you might end up refunding it the next instant. However, if you actually manage to sit down and put some hours in to learn the underlying complications in the game, then the game will definitely prove to be a time-sink – a purchase well worth it.