Developer: Dapper Penguin Studios
Publisher: Kasedo Games
Review Context: I am generally drawn to try city building games and tycoon type games, especially when it is something new.
Date of Playthrough: May 2019
PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU 540 @ 3.07GHz
RAM: 8 GB
Video Card: GeForce GTX 950 2GB GDDR5 ACX 2.0 SC+
Resolution: 1280×800 (Borderless)
Disclosure: This review is based off of a review copy.
Rise of Industry, developed by Dapper Penguin Studios, is a game that initially caught my attention because it stood out from the pack of many other tycoon and city building games. The game doesn’t just stand out because of it’s premise, but everything about the presentation of the game and visuals are instant eye-grabbers. This had been in Steam Early Access for a little over a year prior to release, but only near and after release did I manage to discover this, thankfully.
Imagine you are an early 20th-century industrialist, how would you go about your business? What would you sell or specialize in? That’s where Rise of Industry comes in, a fantastic setup of a game where you can choose how to expand your industrial empire. This is a big choice for a new player, as I jumped into the tutorial mode to learn the mechanics of the game. The tutorial is separate from the main modes, a choice that I think is a mistake for a game like this, as easing you right into the full game in an integrated tutorial is preferred. The tutorial did do a good job of showing the basics of the game, introducing you to the many menus at your disposal, but only a sliver of what there is to do.
After completing the tutorial I chose career mode. The game does provide you a sandbox mode, scenarios you can set yourself (or copy), and a mod manager. Dappy Penguin provides enough bells and whistles of options for every type of player, as you can tweak the game to your liking or difficulty level. Given that this was my first go, I chose the basic career mode setting. Jumping into the maps, you are met with a randomly generated map and soon enough you have to begin building. Rise of Industry has a skill tree and you are given two free choices to pick a specialty. I personally found this a bit overwhelming because I did not know what to pick, so I just chose a few things I thought would be generic enough to fit with mostly anything. The skill tree is large and is organized by categories of goods so the player can easily find things. Skills cost money and take time to research, but the game does something extremely efficient and that is a research queue so you don’t need to take your eyes off the game.
To say Rise of Industry is complex is an understatement, as the game has a user interface full of menus. I found the overabundance of menus to be both a good thing and bad thing because the tutorial doesn’t even scratch the surface of every menu at your disposal, but they are not too difficult to figure out either. Not every player will like this. As someone who chose lumber to specialize in, I placed my lumber mills and harvesters, followed by a carpentry mill, and eventually some warehouses. This is where the complexity of Rise of Industry can rear it’s ugly head. A lot of Rise of Industry has to do with managing routes.
Given that you are an industrialist, you have to sell goods to businesses to make profit and this is the ultimate way to climb your way up in the game, by building and selling more expensive goods for profit. Although the game provides many means of monitoring your business, the routing of goods has to be the most difficult and intricate part of the game. For example, you have to tell your lumber yard to move goods to carpentry, warehouses, or anywhere else. This can get confusing to keep track of, even with what they give you to keep track of movement of goods. Each building has a menu of destinations you can send goods too, but as you keep adding buildings to your empire, things start to get more difficult to keep track of. The most confusing and frustrating thing about the game is the use of warehouses, as most of their actions seem automatic depending where you place them. They have some toggles, but movement of goods within their radius can make things even more confusing.
As I play more of Rise of Industry the complexity of the game completely noticeable, but admittedly will probably become easy over time. A player would probably need to invest in a lot of trial and error in order to truly master this game. Given that I was playing easy mode on career mode, I encountered a lot of special event auctions where you have to bid on contracts. This is probably one of the more cooler elements of the game, as you bid against other companies for things like financial benefits in a specific towns radius. I encountered an event where a town wanted a specific type of lumber product in exchange for a lot of money that I gladly accepted because I was currently making lumber products, likely tailored due to my choices in the game.
From a visual standpoint, Rise of Industry doesn’t have sharp complex graphics for anything, but the graphics are done well enough in this smooth polygon type aesthetic that make the game look good for what the game is trying to. That’s not to say locating certain resources on the map to build near can’t be better with slightly better visuals, but the map is generally presented well and easy to zoom in and out with ease. The game audio is also pleasant and not annoying, but not a major thing either way. I will however give an honorable mention to the nice announcer for the trailer and introduction video of the game because that was great for the game.
Rise of Industry is one of those games that does a lot of things very well, but also requires patience and plenty of playtime to figure everything out. Given all the modes that Dapper Penguin has provided, this game has infinite replay value when you also take into account the different ways to play the game by specializing in many different types of goods. This is a definitely a game I will continue to play when I can, as this unique industrial tycoon experience is one I want to really learn and figure out to the fullest potential.
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