I have often found myself wanting to play a game without the stress or tension of winning. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy challenging games a lot, but it’s good to sit down and play a game at your own pace every once in a while. Enter Satisfactory, a simulation game with just an open-world and infinite possibilities.
Satisfactory sees the player assume the role of an engineer far ahead in the future, working for a gazillion-dollar company called FICSIT (get it?). Players can choose their starting location, which is a pseudo-difficulty selection.
I say pseudo because it is possible to traverse to any of these biomes within the world, so it’s more of a decision of more resources vs more space for an organized factory.
Games like Satisfactory always maintain a heavy focus on the cleanliness and organization of the factory. At the same time, it is entirely possible to build an unclean factory with no organization; it severely limits the scope of progress for the player.
A factory built haphazardly without any thought put into future expansions would jeopardize the playthrough leading to frustrations or complete revamp of the factory. But, in my opinion, that is the beauty of the game. The more pause you take before your actions and get the order of things right, it makes for a pleasing experience.
The point of the game is not to beat it but rather to marvel at your creation. There is an end goal, and Coffee Stain Studios (the developer) added some enemies and vehicles to the game for variety’s sake, I suppose.
Still, the most incredible moment in the game was when I went up to the tower to look at my factory as it spanned the horizons; I could see the first machine I ever built far away, so tiny. There is an excellent sense of progression from mining copper to building a nuclear power plant.
The game was received well even though it’s still in early access; it’s one of the more polished ones and has a ton of content enough to keep players engaged for hours on, that is if they want a soothing and relaxing game to play. So let’s take a look at some games that share elements with Satisfactory.
Subnautica is an open-world survival action-adventure game developed and published by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. I think the most significant difference between the games is the survival mechanic. While Satisfactory has no hunger or thirst mechanic, Subnautica, on the greatest difficulty, is a true survival game.
As the name would suggest, it primarily takes place underwater, and the world is far less forgiving than Satisfactory’s; thus, exploration has to be kept at a cautious pace.
However, players looking for a more casual experience fret not. The game features a creative mode, but in my opinion, it gives a little too much freedom in creation and resources to the player; this makes any progress not feel like a creation in Satisfactory.
The game also has a narrative and an end goal, unlike Satisfactory. Still, it has hours of content and even a sequel released recently, which features more land to explore but is still primarily based underwater. Subnautica is worth it if you liked Satisfactory but would like more challenges in your games.
2. Outer Wilds
Outer Wilds is a fascinating experience, to say the least. Although I cannot say much about the game without spoiling it, I recommend not looking it up and going in blind. The less you know of the game, the more of an impact it has.
The game doesn’t feature any factory management but emphasizes exploration and completing puzzles. A particular mechanic in the game that is best discovered in the game and not on an article makes this game’s gameplay loop not so dissimilar to Satisfactory’s.
However, it’s not quite the same as revisiting a factory every day and working out its kinks while adding new pathways for more speedy and efficient production. Nevertheless, it does have something close to that.
Outer Wilds is sadly underrated and underappreciated drowned by the tidal waves of games like Valorant and CoD. I think there are undeniable comparisons here with the movies. Avengers is the same superhero schlock every year like clockwork that overshadows something like Blade Runner 2049, a better movie in every right but sadly fails in getting peoples attention over their love for superheroes.
But it’s a work of art, a genuinely underrated gem that might not give the same amount of content as some of the games on this list; it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that invokes all kinds of emotions in the player.
Factorio could be called a more complex Satisfactory. It doesn’t share the same first-person perspective, instead opting for an isometric camera, allowing for more complex machinery and mechanisms. Factorio was an IndieGoGo crowdfunded project developed by Wube Software and consistently stays on top in steam charts.
The core gameplay loop revolves around the player crashing onto an alien planet where they must salvage parts of their ship and make a factory to use the planet’s resources in an attempt to make a spaceship and escape the world.
The planet is inhabited by primitive species that mutates over time because of the pollution from the factory becoming more assertive and more hostile as time goes on.
The player must manage their survival and their factory, which will constantly be attacked by the aliens using technology ranging from a handgun to a mini-nuke; this is unlike Satisfactory, where aliens don’t display aggressive hostility towards the factory and only tend to be a problem during exploration. They will seldom come out to get you.
Factorio allows the game to be won by successfully building the rocketship; the gameplay enables players to stay on the planet and completely eradicate the alien populace.
Factorio is a no brainer if you can get past the isometric camera and the steep difficulty curve. I’d only recommend this to the more hardcore gamers.
Still, the game’s sandbox nature also allows the players to play in a peaceful mode with no hostiles, only focusing on factory management mechanics. I’d also recommend experiencing the game vanilla before adding any QOL mods to enhance the gameplay.
This title needs no introduction. Minecraft is a sandbox game played in the first-person perspective, emphasising survival and crafting mechanics.
The game has been critically acclaimed and is on the list of the best games ever made for many people, including me. Though I find Satisfactory to be a better game than Minecraft, that is entirely subjective. However, the impact of Minecraft on gaming and the streaming culture is irrefutable.
Minecraft features a procedurally generated world consisting of blocks that the player can farm to create complex or straightforward tools that further help the player in either farming more efficiently or in the player’s survival. The game has such an expansive community at this point that players can play it in a myriad of different ways.
Other than single-player or multi-player, the game has plenty of mods that allow for different playstyles. Some have managed to create their own competitive FPS game modes featuring iconic maps like dust 2 from Counter-Strike manually built by a player in the Minecraft world.
The critical difference between Satisfactory and Minecraft is the lack of automation. While there might be mods that bring the gameplay more in line with the factory management aspect, in vanilla form, Minecraft lacks the appeal of Satisfactory of building a vast base instead of focusing on making a more secure base.
Imagine a game that allows you to build any machinery you could think of, no matter how absurd it might be.
Besiege was developed by Spiderling Studios and was released out of early access in 2020. The game has a very active community that played a significant part in its development. The result is an enjoyable game with addictive gameplay that just never gets old.
Besiege is a sandbox game that focuses on allowing players to build medieval siege machinery from scratch. And when I say from scratch, I mean from the first nut and bolt that goes into the machine. The game might not feature large landscapes to build a factory on, but it allows players to create machinery and then attempt to destroy a building.
In addition, besiege enables players to experiment to overcome each level’s obstacles, which could be anything from landmines hindering the traversal of the player’s war machine or an out of reach target.
Once the player has mastered the offline mode, they can jump onto the multi-player spectrum and pit their creations against players worldwide. My experience upon looking at what everyone else was doing changed my entire style of playing the game.
Like in Satisfactory, I had to tear down my complete factory and rebuild from scratch because I did not consider a future challenge; Besiege has had me work on a machine of hours, bringing it to perfection and adding features for more efficient execution.
Besiege is honestly one of the best games in the sandbox genre and deserves more recognition for it.
I have always been fond of the management genre as a whole; it relies more on the player’s intellect than his flicking abilities to win. Unfortunately, satisfactory belongs to such a niche genre that finding games that accurately fit its criteria is problematic.
Still, I have faith that players looking for similar games will find something for themselves here. I also covered games like Outer Wilds not too long ago, which might have some titles that intrigue you if you liked the exploration aspect of Satisfactory.