By Mario Wario
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to build a real-life local economy from the ground up, other than playing something like SimCity or Civilization? If your mind can’t stop thinking about this, then a strategic, single-player, tycoon PC game set in the early 20th century called Rise of Industry will give you an idea as to how the process works. This point-and-click game, which was developed by Dapper Penguin and published by Kasedo Games, will test a player’s economic knowledge and skills to no end, thanks to its huge world-building system. It gives players plenty of things to do when managing their world, yet is this game fun to play?
In Rise of Industry, players will have three main modes to try out: Career, Scenarios, and Sandbox. Career presents players with a small bit of money as well as three free items from the Tech Tree to get them going. From there, it is up to the player to create a successful enterprise/local economy. I never got bored playing this mode, due to the many challenges the game gave to me during my playthroughs. This is the mode players will want to try out first, before doing anything else, as it is a great introduction to the game. In contrast, the Scenarios mode lets players customize the game’s settings to their personal play style, while Sandbox mode allows players to go crazy, beginning with everything already unlocked, as well as having infinite money. (There is a Mod Manager in the main menu if anyone has mods to install.)
The in-game buttons are located at the bottom of the screen, while money information is at the far-left side. The other important icons will be at the top right. In my opinion, everything was placed perfectly; my screen never felt crowded. The game’s UI, meanwhile, does a fine job in providing players with useful information.
Each town will have its own characteristics, so take notice of that when gathering/creating/shipping products. Players, of course, must worry about cost when constructing a new building or even producing a road, yet the elegant Tech Tree menu will not display a player’s funds. I find this strange, because researching new items will cost players money. Researching also takes way too long to complete, so hopefully, these two features get tweaked soon.
Players can sell out of state, but they will receive less money for doing so. In addition, random events will pop up throughout each playthrough, that can either hurt or help the player’s business. It is also important to know how much pollution factories will produce, since townspeople will not like it; players will acquire a bad reputation if they don’t fix polluted air. I found this simple gaming mechanic to be neat, as it pushes players to be clean. We have to protect our planet, right?
Players must also watch out for traffic (which means that they must construct their paths wisely) as well as keep an eye on market trends, because these situations will interfere with growth. Oh, don’t forget about water because your farms, for example, will need it to prosper. Players can also do some “terraforming”, which I mightily enjoyed. Creating huge lakes and hills was fun as heck when using this feature!
I will say that going back and forth between towns, and remembering all of the details can be overwhelming at first. Trying to be efficient as much as possible will make the game feel somewhat tedious for some, but once players get a handle on the mechanics, their gameplay experience will improve greatly. To me, making money never felt so good as after solving an issue.
The AI, meanwhile, can only do so much to making things interesting/demanding, as I found it to be not aggressive at all against me. Yes, there are harder difficulty levels you can select, but even after playing on the hardest difficulty, I never truly felt that my business was in trouble from other businesses. Perhaps it is just me in thinking this? Rise of Industry also has no online multiplayer, although I do wonder if this game will get that later, in a future update. Facing a live player would make things very interesting, as well as extend the life of the game. (It should be noted that more in-game features will be added later through a series of updates, so we shall see what these changes bring.)
The game’s colorful/cartoonish graphics are lovely, which made the environments so enjoyable to look at during my gaming sessions. I loved how the trucks looked like small ants marching along the path that I set for them. Yet the game itself would sometimes freeze or crash on me. I’m not sure if it was my game or if other players were facing this as well. Do note that none of these issues prevented me from enjoying the game, but they were frustrating enough that I hope that these problems will get fixed soon.
Overall, creating an economic empire in Rise of Industry was a blast to do. In my opinion, the game is fun to play once you master it. Players will need to invest many hours to truly become the master of the game, so plan accordingly. It is, however, satisfying to see everything come together onscreen once you do, regardless of the above issues. My experience with this game was a positive one, so I suggest giving Rise of Industry a try and see what happens next in your town.
Rise of Industry is available on PC and you can buy it on Steam.
Have something to say regarding Rise of Industry? Then head over to the FoCC forums to keep the conversation going.