Have you ever been in the country side and just hated nature? You look around and take a deep breath of the crisp country air and think, “Yeah, this could use more smog”. Maybe you think fracking doesn’t just sound like a swear from Battlestar: Galactica and wonder how something that sounds so silly be bad?
Well, the people at Dapper Penguin Studios sympathize with your weirdly specific fascination in replacing the natural world with one of industry and conglomerates — and they’ve made just the game for you. With its Kickstarter launching on October 1st, Project Automata promises to deliver on an industrial tycoon game that will hopefully fill the void the failing SimCity franchise never did with its disastrous reboot.
The game is currently in Alpha, and is available for download on the Dapper Penguin site. Currently, the game is only a basic overview of features promised to come. Rather then worrying about building a city, you are instead engaged in regulating commerce for each area. Towns require products, and have surplus of other goods, so it’s up to you to help dictate trade routes between the cities to generate profit for yourself like the fat cat you are.
“…aside from the budget, you’ll have to manage waste, pollution, disasters, strikes and many other scripted events.”
— Alex ‘Mal’ C.E.O & Lead Designer of Dapper Penguin Studios.
The tutorial goes over some of the basics to a city planning game, such as road structuring, factory building, and the like. There is also the ability to dictate what products each factory produces. Right now, there is no in-game encyclopedia, so the only way to tell who makes what is to either make assumptions based on the product, (i.e. the paper factory makes posters) or just trial and error, rebooting your game while you try to figure out exactly how to make a hamburger.
The challenge comes from balancing your budget. Right now, that’s not very difficult once you figure out who makes what. In the full game, however, there will be far more random obstacles heading your way. The Lead Designer Alex ‘Mal’ said in a forum post that, “we have in store many goodies, like a campaign and several scenarios. Not to mention that, aside from the budget, you’ll have to manage waste, pollution, disasters, strikes and many other scripted events.”
The game allows for inputs of seeds for maps, and they also make mention of both player and dev made scenarios to be added, allowing for the game to be as creative as you and your friends want to be.
The game has a very Minecraft feel to it, with a soothing musical score while you eagerly gobble up the resources available to you, and a simplistic yet lovely color palette for the structures and vehicles. The art style is cute, and your assistant who guides you through the tutorial has an adorable design. Here’s hoping to see more of her frustrated face as I mess things up in the story mode.