Ever since I was a kid, I have been a fan of the simulation/tycoon genre. While the genre is not for everyone, I have always enjoyed it because I thought it was enjoyable creating your own business/factory and making it successful. In recent years there have been a number of factory video games that have been released most notably Factorio and Satisfactory which have become immensely popular. Today I am looking at one of the newest games in this genre Dyson Sphere Program. Dyson Sphere Program launched on Early Access around two weeks ago and I was excited to try it out as it seemed like the type of game that would be right up my alley. Despite only being in Early Access, Dyson Sphere Program is already a really satisfying and addicting factory simulation game that I can’t wait to see where it ends up.
In Dyson Sphere Program you play as a engineer who lands on an uninhabited planet in a distant galaxy. The game takes place in the distant future where technology has changed humanity forever. A supercomputer has been developed which has created a virtual reality simulation to push humanity to new levels. The catch is that it requires an immerse amount of power to run the supercomputer. Thus you are tasked with developing the new solar system to eventually build a Dyson Sphere in order to capture all of the power from the solar system’s star.
If I were to describe what it is like playing Dyson Sphere Program I would say that it feels a lot like a factory simulator. Basically you will control a mech that has landed on an planet with nothing on it outside of your landing capsule. Your objective is to use the resources on the planet in order to build towards creating a Dyson Sphere. Your mech has tools attached to it that allow you to gather resources from the various types of resource nodes spread around the planet. To begin the game you will have to utilize these tools in order to get the starting resources needed to begin your factory.
While it is necessary to do this when you first begin in a new solar system, the process is really slow where you will want to address it as quickly as possible. The good news is that the whole game is about trying to automate this process as much as possible. You will acquire buildings/machinery that will automatically harvest resources so you don’t have to do it manually. After harvesting resources you can transport them on conveyor belts to other machines which can further refine and combine them together to create more advanced resources. You will use these advanced materials to research better technology which will give you even more advanced materials to create. When you advance your technology far enough and gather enough resources you can travel to neighboring planets to set up even more factories. You will ultimately use all of your connected factories in order to continue developing your technology as you advance in your goal towards building a Dyson Sphere.
For those of you who have already played games like Factorio or Satisfactory you will probably already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Dyson Sphere Program. I am not familiar enough with the other two games to make a direct comparison, but the similarities are unmissable. Basically the whole game is built around creating a supply chain to automate the process of obtaining the supplies you need to advance yourself closer to building the Dyson Sphere. This involves a lot of planning as you lay down a lot of conveyor belts to transport resources between machines. Your ultimate goal is to make a supply chain that makes everything that you need while you work to expand it further to incorporate more materials.
Honestly your enjoyment of Dyson Sphere Program is likely to correlate pretty closely to your opinion of the premise in general. If you don’t think creating an advanced factory/supply chain sounds all that interesting, the game likely won’t be for you. If the premise interests you at all though, I think you will love Dyson Sphere Program. I have barely scratched the surface of the game, and yet I am already kind of obsessed with it. I have always enjoyed these type of factory building games, and Dyson Sphere Program does a fantastic job in this genre. It is just so satisfying when you create a well functioning supply chain that provides you with everything that you need without having to micromanage.
In a way Dyson Sphere Program kind of feels like a puzzle. Much of the gameplay revolves around figuring out how to transport and further manufacture materials that are needed for more advanced materials. There really isn’t a way to fail the game which gives players a lot of flexibility in how you play the game. You can play the game trying to create the most efficient system imaginable, or you can take a more laid back approach. The game has a pretty streamlined mission structure as you have a specific research path that you need to follow, but how you get there gives you quite a few options. There is a lot of flexibility in how you design your factory and thus it gives you reasons to go back and try to create a more efficient system on your next attempt. Honestly the whole gameplay loop is quite addicting where those who enjoy these types of games are going to have a hard time putting it down.
The gameplay is really satisfying, but Dyson Sphere Program also succeeds at creating a really compelling atmosphere. Each time you start a new game, a new solar system is randomly generated. Each solar system consists of several different types of planets with their own unique features. While you will spend most of your time on planet, if you look up at the sky you will see the other planets stroll across the sky. I was honestly surprised by the graphical quality of the game as it looks really nice for this genre. I was also surprised by how well the game ran especially since the game just entered Early Access. With everything that is happening on screen; there really weren’t any noticeable slowdowns in the game, and it didn’t overly tax my computer.
People can have pretty varying opinions of the Early Access process. A lot of this is due to the variety of quality in the games launched in Early Access. Some games are already pretty fleshed out when they launch in Early Access while others are not much more than a tech demo. In the case of Dyson Sphere Program I have played few games that feel more polished after just entering the process. If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell that the game was in Early Access. The game already has a lot of content and it shows a lot of polish. The game is expected to stay in Early Access for around a year and the developers have a lot of ideas of how to expand on the game. I am really excited to see what the game ends up becoming. Those that are leery about Early Access games don’t have to worry as the game is already worth the asking price in my opinion.
While Dyson Sphere Program is already a great game, I would say that the game’s biggest issue at this point is that it has a sort of learning curve. You could honestly make an argument that this is just part of the gameplay process though. Basically the first set of factories that you make are going to be a mess unless you are already an expert at these types of games. The game has a better tutorial than most games in Early Access, but there are aspects of the game that you will only really learn by doing. Thus you will make mistakes when you first start out which will lead to inefficient factories or other issues. You can recover from these mistakes, but you may want to just start over once you get a grasp of what you are supposed to do. On the positive side this adds quite a bit of replay value to the game as you can always try to create a more efficient system. It may feel a little overwhelming at first though as you adjust to the game’s mechanics.
I have played quite a few Early Access games over the years, and I have to say that Dyson Sphere Program is one of the best that I have ever played. In a lot of ways the game feels like a factory/supply chain simulator. Basically the gameplay boils down to extracting resources from planets and further processing them to improve your technology to eventually be able to create a Dyson Sphere. If the concept doesn’t sound all that interesting to you, the game probably won’t be for you. Those that have any interest in the premise though should love the game. The gameplay is just so satisfying where it can be quite addicting. While the game may have just entered Early Access, it is in a much better shape than most finished games.
Basically if the game’s premise doesn’t sound all that interesting, Dyson Sphere Program probably won’t change your mind. Anyone with even the slightest interest in the game though should love it. If you are leery about the game being in Early Access, I think it is still worth checking out as the game is already really polished. I don’t give out ratings for games in Early Access, but if I did Dyson Sphere Program would receive a very high rating. I can’t wait to see what the game becomes when it leaves Early Access next year.
Buy Dyson Sphere Program online: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Youthcat Studio, and Gamera Game for the review copy of Dyson Sphere Program used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.