Rise of Industry is a tycoon style game from Dapper Penguin Studios, which is currently in Early Access. While the company is based in Spain, the development team is spread around the world, communicating via the likes of Discord, under the management of the creator Alex Mochi. Gamers will be put in charge of a new city, controlling the full manufacturing process, driving production and delivering to the surrounding towns and villages.
Starting from the beginning of booting the game, the first place gamers should go is the tutorial. While the tutorial is on the slow side, those new to the genre will welcome the pacing, and it was extremely beneficial to get some learning out of the way. The step through tutorial will get players used to the very basics before gamers are thrown into the full experience, however it leaves a lot to still be learnt. This isn’t necessarily just a learning curve issue with balancing the city taking knowledge of the game, let alone how to get some decent selling products running smoothly. Nevertheless, it is for some reason a rarity that developers think ahead to include a tutorial in early releases of games, so it is a welcome step in the right direction. To extend the tutorial to include features or have one off tips pop-up might alleviate some of the difficulty, and experienced players could simply turn the help off.
Building placement is simple and intuitive on a grid based system, using green highlighting for valid placement making the process a breeze. Players can select a building type, snap-rotate it as they see fit and move the transparent building around until they find a valid location. Roads need to be connected to entrances, how else will buildings become part of your connected city? The roads are just as simple, dragging the road tool along the grid from a current road to the building’s entrance. Roads automatically link up into T-Junctions or crossroads visually looking nice and helping players get their cities going.
Players are going to want to dream big but be warned starting small and building up in increments, slowly but surely, is the way to go. Like with games like Factorio or the Anno franchise getting steps done in the right order aren’t as much better but vital. This creates a production waterfall, by this I mean players will need to do A before B is even a possibility and only then can C be thought of. This approach makes logical sense thematically and also enables players to work their way up to something. Take harvests as an example, players will need to be sending enough water to the farms to grow the crops and then have a demand for the product at the end of the process. There’s nothing more punishing than rushing ahead only to discover you cannot water all the crops or sell the end result!
Control is not exactly limited in Rise of Industry, though there are still some features needed to enable players to determine the best course of action. From the exact destination of lorries to what products you want to prioritize, with a decent list to choose from, choice is offered. The feature that instantly jumps to mind is the production panel, which is in the game but needs some work. This single panel holds the economic management aspects in the balance. Making the information clear, yet concise, it’ll make it easier to evaluate what is going in your city with only a glance whilst offering others the chance to deep dive in and grind every cent out of a good situation.
A simplistic, clear art design has been used to treat gamer to a visually pleasing game. The design gives each important type of building a unique silhouette to help players instantly distinguish what a building does, whilst adding to the feeling of a town growing over time into a sprawling city. Soon players will have trucks zooming around, a variety of buildings and a road network linking everything together. Alas, for all the visual appeal and cuteness, Rise of Industry is somewhat let down but the lack of 4K support/UI scaling. For the moment going down to 1440p will solve the issue but it is a shame with the game looking the way it does. This is something the developer has openly commented on though and is on the list of tasks to be done before the release from Early Access.
As an Early Access product, Rise of Industry gets both the opportunity to be in gamers hands sooner but forces it to battle the negativity surrounding the Steam feature. The developer is currently going above and beyond to communicate and learn from those whom play. Be it via Discord or actively reading and commenting on the Steam page, the dev is giving tips and asking how to improve the game. To the extent that it feels that players have the potential, given the right ideas, to influence the direction of specific features; something missing from a lot of Early Access titles.
The game in its current state does have an endgame plateau, but more content is on the roadmap. This includes dynamic events, 4K support, industrial parks, dreaded pollution and much more. With additional work and the completion of planned features Rise of Industry could, and should, turn what is a promising, gorgeous, solid title into a city/economic simulator which gamers will sink many, many hours into. It is certainly a game to follow the development of.
[Editor’s Note: Rise of Industry was provided to us by the developer for the preview.]