Hi everyone! Joe here. I’m flying solo this week while the other guys take a short break. Anyway, as the planet burns and the cost of living crisis takes hold, I thought I’d allow myself some escapism in the form of space capitalism sim, Dyson Sphere Program. Here’s what I’ve been playing this week.
Dyson Sphere Program
Playing on PC via Game Pass
Despite the awful title which sounds more like a market research scheme for vacuum cleaners than a video game, Dyson Sphere Programis actually a ton of fun. Currently in early access (and free to PC Game Pass subscribers), Dyson Sphere Program is a sci-fi simulation game combining adventure, exploration and factory automation to allow you to create your own galactic industrial empire. As the universe procedurally generates, each playthrough should offer a unique distribution of stars, planets and resources. Yes, this is Capitalism in Space™ and yes, you drain a planet of fossil fuels at an alarming rate but I can’t help but love it.
You begin by landing a giant AI controlled mech robot on the surface of a random planet. As you explore the immediate surroundings, you can use your mech suit to harvest resource nodes that appear on the surface and craft rudimentary items with the in-built processor. After amassing enough processed metals, you’ll soon be building your first automated ore extractor and using the skill points gained to unlock new technology blueprints in the skill tree. Fast forward 30 minutes or so, and you’re setting up long lines of complex conveyor belts that spit out circuit boards and electromagnets by the second.
I must admit, it’s my first venture into the factory automation video game niche, and I was thoroughly anticipating being bored to death. But the thrill of connecting a series of separate, complex processes into a finely tuned production line is addictive. As your factory grows, so too does the challenge of re-routing conveyor belts and streamlining bottlenecks for the greatest efficiency. And while the ultimate objective of the game is to build the titular Dyson Sphere (a planet-sized energy source), Dyson Sphere Program gives you the freedom to approach this task however you want. What results is a fine example of emergent gameplay that constantly throws up surprising logistical and strategical puzzles to solve.