Dyson Sphere Program – Preview
Follow Genre: Management simulator, Automation
Developer: Youthcat Studio
Publishers: Gamera Game, Shanghai Game Mirror Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd.
Platform: PC (Steam)
Tested On: PC (Steam)

Dyson Sphere Program – Preview

Good: Good graphics, audio and gameplay
Bad: Unexplained late-game mechanics
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Factory management simulators have recently been increasing in popularity. The feeling of making a massive factory run like a well-oiled machine might be niche, but still incredibly satisfying. Ready to join the ranks alongside older classics, more and more games in the genre have been releasing, with Dyson Sphere Program being the most recent even if still in Early Access.

Dyson Sphere Program takes place in a distant future where a supercomputer, capable of pushing humanity’s evolution even further, has been developed. Unluckily, the Earth doesn’t possess enough energetic resources to sustainably power it, forcing them to seek out other ways to do so. As a space engineer, players will be tasked with constructing Dyson Spheres and harnessing the energy emitted by stars, constructing planetary factories to achieve their goal.

The game’s graphics are made up of some really nice high-detail 3D models. All of the different pieces of machinery and item designs are unique and easily recognizable at a glance, with upgraded versions developing on the base models. The different available planets also widely vary in design and layout, featuring complete ice balls, deserts or even Earth-like ones. That said, a few things may seem “samey”, such as the different ores being merely recolors or the little amount of unique flora.

Dyson Sphere program also boasts of a pretty good sound design, both for its soundtrack and SFX. While little more than background music, said soundtrack is made up of a few well-made futuristic tracks which match the design of the game to the tee. The SFX are also mostly comprised of what one could expect from a factory, that being machinery sounds, which, understandably might become a tad grating after a while. That said, the game also features other different sounds that, while not as common, are more useful, such as alerts. Surprisingly enough, Dyson Sphere Program also includes full voice acting for all of its tutorials, which can be quite useful with several in-game tabs open.

As already mentioned, Dyson Sphere Program belongs to the factory management genre, being as usual largely focused on achieving an objective through large scale automation. Said objective is creating the titular Dyson Spheres throughout the cosmos while constantly expanding the harvest of planetary resources and production.

To do so, players will pilot a mech equipped with several tools, such as a built-in crafting system known as the Replicator or several building drones. With these abilities at their disposal, players will be able to start their factory and build their first pieces of machinery, which in turn will optimize the processes. That said, all this consumes the mech’s energy, requiring players to refuel it with different materials found throughout the planets.

Very similarly to the basic utilities the mech possesses, the first structures players will need to construct will be mining machines and power sources for them, alongside smelteries and assemblers. While at the start of the game players will be more than able to wade through just by using the capabilities of their mech, a basic production setup will massively speed up the progress.

In order to unlock more complex machines and improve the existing ones, players will have to delve into the game’s tech tree. Said tech tree offers a sprawling selection of unlocks and upgrades at a price, more often than not a material known as Matrixes. These Matrixes can be produced both in the built-in Replicator and in a special structure known as the Matrix Lab. By supplying the Matrix lab with specific resources, several types of Matrixes may be produced once unlocked. Said structure also doubles as a way to automate research, which can be done by supplying a Matrix Lab set to this task with the Matrixes produced by others.

After progressing enough, players might find out their starting planet to be lacking certain resources such as tungsten or ice. To obtain these resources required to progress, players will be prompted to abandon their original planet and explore the cosmos in order to find other planets in which to harvest these resources. By unlocking the “sail” mechanic for the mech, players will be able to take off and start traveling between planets, starting new factories and connecting them.

While Dyson Sphere Program offers a myriad of different machinery and resources, it ultimately has an issue with not explaining the more complex ones. Although the earlier parts of the game are filled with different small explanations to get started and certain later unlocks also feature them, certain important mechanics such as efficient product transportation and the workings of the Dyson Sphere are left for players to figure out, ironically so, due to them being the most complex.

Conclusion

Dyson Sphere Program is a very entertaining and absorbing intergalactic factory builder with well-thought-out mechanics. Although the later part of the game may become somewhat obscure, players will still be able to figure out the different systems and continue to expand their factories. Currently, at a price of $19,99/€16,79/£15.49, the game is seeing fast improvements and development, with the plans from the developers making it a worthy purchase even in its current Early Access state.

Personal Opinion

“I have a thing for games which allow me to automate resource production. Whenever I start playing one of them I end up getting sucked in for hours on end, which was the case with Dyson Sphere Program. Funnily enough, the qualm that mostly bothered me was the inability to use the already stored resources directly in my mech’s Replicator without first manually taking them out of whichever storage facility they were in. Seeing as I was able to access facilities almost all the way across the map, it seemed like an annoyance that could easily be fixed, but it is mostly nitpicking. As already mentioned, I found myself somewhat lost at the later/middle part of the game, when I had unlocked the systems to start building a Dyson Sphere and already required intergalactic travel to progress. Deprived of the tutorials I had been guided with (non-intrusively, mind you, they only appear as a pop-up) I ended up having to mess with the more finicky systems until I figured out their inner workings. Overall, I really enjoyed the game and it definitely turned on the same part of my brain that enjoys building elaborated systems in tiny areas with a modded Minecraft, seeing as the bulk of my factory was condensed into a small area I was reticent to leave.”

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Dyson Sphere Program - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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