Review – Rise of Industry

Rise of Industry was one of the most unusual games I played back at E3 2018. In between previews of games like Cyberpunk or Bloodstained, there was this little tycoon simulator that was all about analyzing supply and demand and building industries to make the most money possible in a cute low-poly setting. The E3 demo left a good impression and I was looking forward to the final release of the game, after more than a year spent in Early Access. It ended up living up to expectations, thankfully enough.

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I love watching the trucks come and go.

Rise of Industry is a tycoon simulator, but despite its obvious visual nods to Sim City, as well as the fact you can build a few roads here and there, this is not a city construtction simulator. This is a game about choosing a nearby town to place your headquarters, then analyzing what resources and products this town needs, followed by building the appropriate farms/factories/plants to supply the local populace with their demands. It’s the basic principle of trade: supply and demand. If you provide the nearby farmer’s market with stuff people want to buy, you’ll prosper. If you do the opposite, you’ll go bankrupt.

It might sound like a simple (and potentially shallow) premise, but Rise of Industry has some neat elements to spice up what could have been a borefest. You can focus on very specific market niches, such as becoming a juice producing mogul, but in order to do so, you’ll need to own orange farms, have your own supply of water, and research the specific production technologies on the game’s immense tech tree. If you do that way early into the game, you can basically create a monopoly and make bagillions out of it. You can also create an empire based off more basic resources, such as lots of lumber mills or sand plants if you decide to do so.

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Anakin might hate sand, but you can make a fortune selling it to people too lazy to bring a bucket to the beach.

In order to get your products from the factory to the consumers, you’ll need to establish trade routes. The whole concept of logistics plays a huge role in Rise of Industry. For every processing plant you build, you will need to create roads to connect it to your warehouses or shipment zones. You need to make sure that your product will reach the desired destination. You need to talk to markets and negotiate a set amount of resources delivered per week, for instance. Building roads is the closest to a Sim City experience that Rise of Industry will provide, by the way. While you can make a few roads here and there, as well as build your own factories, the city itself will grow without your direct involvement.

Another thing I liked about Rise of Industry is that depending on the difficulty setting you choose, you can’t just build a ton of industries without repercussions. There is a huge emphasis on environmental issues in here, so you always need to make sure that your plants will make as little impact as possible, or else you’ll either have to face an angry mob or be forced to hire a PR firm to ease the situation before the entire population of the city demands your expulsion.

The gameplay in Rise of Industry might sound a bit overwhelming at times, and while that’s not exactly far from the truth, the game does help you a lot with a simple yet effective tutorial mode, as well as a ton of hint boxes throughout your main campaigns. The game’s UI looks like a mess at first, but you’ll quickly realize that everything is more intuitive than expected. The fact that you can customize the game’s difficulty and level of depth as you please, is a welcome addition. You can make it one hellish simulator in which every single human being detests the whole concept of having a factory next to their house, or you can set things up to make Rise of Industry act more like a learning tool for logistics, of which it excels at.

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Don’t worry about building the actual city. The game will do that for you.

Rise of Industry is a very niche title that will cater to a very specific type of gamer, but that small demographic will rejoice with how deep and rewarding its gameplay is. This is a game that, if you know what you’re doing, will make you lose an entire afternoon playing it without even noticing. I was also very impressed with how well the game teaches you the basics of logistics and supply chain without boring people to death like my university teachers used to. This is not only a very good tycoon simulator, but also a neat piece of edutainment.

 

Graphics: 7.5

The game has a noticeable low-poly visual style that helps ease the user’s computer given how immense all maps are.

Gameplay: 8.5

The amount of menus and interfaces is frightening at first, but one quick trip to the tutorial section will ease things up considerably. You’ll end up realizing that the UI is actually quite intuitive.

Sound: 6.0

There’s nothing wrong with the soundtrack, but there isn’t a lot in here to actually praise. It’s a very calm and ambient soundtrack that does its job, but it’s far from being something as iconic as Sim City 3000‘s tunes.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Rise of Industry‘s niche core gameplay and mechanics are certainly not for everyone, but those into business simulators will have a blast with it. It’s also a great learning tool.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Rise of Industry is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Rise of Industry was provided by the publisher.

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