A disclaimer of sorts; once upon a time I worked for a fleet logistics company. It was easily one of the most soul destroying experiences of my life. The only brief, fleeting pleasure was passing on fines incurred by our employees caught speeding in company vehicles. Yet I’ve always loved Tycoon, Logistics & City Builder games. Hell I’ve even caught myself enjoying a spot of sordid Excel Pivot Table action.
Rise of Industry, by Dapper Penguin Studios, is a hybrid of Industry Giant and Transport Tycoon style games, where the player focuses on both the production and distribution of goods. Typically this involves starting with harvesting raw materials (ie wood, coal, etc) and delivering them to the nearest local town’s market.
Once a basic revenue stream is set up, processing and production facilities can be built to produce more lucrative items that can then be distributed further afield via a system of warehouses, truck depots, train stations and even zeppelins. It’s all crisply satisfying once you work out the ratios of production along the chains so that you supply just the right amount of product without over saturating the market or clogging up warehouses with raw materials. And there really is a lot to make; I haven’t gotten around to producing some of the really advanced products like refrigerators yet, although that’s mainly due to the fact that I really do like making alcohol…
One of the really great things about Rise of Industry is the sheer level of gameplay customization. Don’t like how towns start producing the things you wanted to build? Turn them off! Want a huge wad of cash to start with so you can go nuts with production right from the start? You can. Don’t like hills getting in the way of your roads? Turn them off. You can really play the game with as little or as much challenge as you like, which is really refreshing. I’ve found my little niche of a very constrained starting budget but with no town activity, so I get to slowly build my business empire as I see fit. Which mainly means brewing and distilling lots of alcohol. Did I mention I like making alcohol?
Picking fault with Rise of Industry is a challenge all its own. Not because it’s faultless, clearly as a game in Early Access, that’s not the case. The problem is that the developer has been red hot at accepting and addressing problems. Not just knee-jerk reaction to critique, but carefully integrating playing feedback into updates, keeping true to his vision for the game, but still responding to the player base. As our Beloved Editor well knows, such has been the frequency of substantial updates that this preview has been twice re-written (Yup, damn those responsive developers! – ed).
The chances are that by the time you read this*, more updates will have been pushed. The developer has a publically visible roadmap for the game and is currently well on target. He also puts out youtube videos alongside major updates so he can add further clarification to the changes introduced and the logic behind the changes.
Should you buy it?
Is it worth investing in Rise of Industry at this time? It’s of course entirely dependant on how much affection you have for Tycoon/ Industry management games. It’s certainly hitting all the right notes so far. For me a combination of the sheer charm of the game and my personally configured slow burn gamestyle mean this has become a challenger to Euro Truck Sim 2 as my go to Podcast accompaniment (Hello to Jason Isaacs!). It’s a loving homage to the classics of the genre with a genuinely open, affable and committed developer. Early Access done the right way in this case.
*as predicted, the beta branch just automated warehouses, making massive logistic operations possible
Rise of Industry is available on: