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Learning Factory Early Access
Source: Steam

Reviews

Spinning A Yarn in Learning Factory Early Access – PC Review

Fusing cats and machines without a Robocat in sight, Learning Factory Early Access is an informative insight into automation. And cats.

Learning Factory Early Access has very much been a learning process as it was a game I’ve struggled with. Let’s make it clear, and this isn’t me being nice for the sake of it – it doesn’t seem to be for me, though can see where the positives in the game lie.

As an automated game from Luden.io and Nival, you set up numerous components to complete a production line. On paper, it sounds as dull as paint, but in application, these games can be very addictive and rewarding once you get to grips with them.

The closest comparison would have to be an Early Access title I reviewed called Gunsmith. These type of games are always pigs to review. Not because of the games in question, but the time required to get into them and present a fair score. As I’ve dropped scores at the time of writing, these reviews aim to convey how they felt to play and what is required to get them to third base.

Learning Factory Early Access is one of the better-presented games in this genre. Apologies in advance if you’re sensitive to machinery criticism, but it’s hardly an exciting medium to work in. Here, the assets appear to be hand-drawn with a familiar Eric Carle approach. The characters, textures, and general vibe are a warm one. But we aren’t choosing wallpaper here; what’s the game about?

Learning Factory Early Access - Efficiency
Efficiency. Source: Steam

Perhaps it’s the cat bias in Learning Factory Early Access that sub-consciously threw a spanner in the cogs as you’re catering to felines, producing goods for them like it’s nobodies business. I’m not anti-cats and have warmed to them since U27RA R3Z0NANC3 and Inspector Waffles, but they’ve wound this little engineer around their paws.

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Usually, Learning Factory Early Access would be right up my street as it’s about analysing data and optimal production. While the first is an interesting subject, I’m not one of the best people for optimising a workflow, often overcomplicating things, hoping to learn something along the way. Wordplay unintentional.

Ironically, I found the tutorial to be a little complicated unless that was me again. You can directly control your engineer with the keyboard and interact using the mouse. Initially, there was no need to move him about as you could stay put and click on materials to feed the machines, but before you know it, you can explore the rather large floor spaces and create literal production lines, connecting each piece as if lego.

The presentation helps as if it had a more clinical aesthetic, I may have bailed on it early. The relevance? The visuals have a calming presence and mean you take more time with the game. I managed to clock in a good half a day in my first sitting. Also, between sections, you’ll get a friendly comic book panel telling the story.

Learning Factory Early Access - Buy, sell, er..
Buy.. sell…err.. furballs! Source: Steam

As can be expected of the style of gameplay, you have to research numerous machines and products in a step-by-step process. Your engineer has a backpack that depicts your inventory; then there’s a crafting menu and shop where you can shift between parts to make and purchase. It’s more to do with exploration in the early stages as you have to search the area for yarn and metal. As mentioned, it’s just a case of clicking on them to source them – no pickaxes or licking off your fur.

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Even though this is in Early Access stage, there are heaps of items to choose from, but it did feel like trial and error. As you might surmise from my tone, Learning Factory Early Access didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t dislike it; I just couldn’t get into it. That said, I’ll be dipping back into it when time permits to get a better understanding. Hopefully, an update will include dogs. That’s a joke.

If you’re a lover of cats and act as their servant more than a person studying them, then Learning Factory Early Access might be a good bet. My issue is purely down to having enough time and relating to the gameplay. Objectively, it’s very interesting and engaging. Sure, the controls aren’t so intuitive, but if you stick with it, you might learn something. *mic drop*

Pros

  • Charming presentation.
  • Educational and informative.
  • Lots to unlock/research.
  • Plenty of depth for hours of play.

Cons

  • An abundance of cats.
  • A slow-burner (pro/con).
  • Not so intuitive.
  • Couldn’t quite connect
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