In a welcome break from my usual “space themed games” I recently tried Blueprint Tycoon, a logistics management simulator published and developed by Endless Loop Studios. Endless Loop Studios have also previously developed Survivor Squad, Survivor Squad: Gauntlets, which are top-down survival-horror tactical squad based games and Gamecorp DX also a management simulator
Currently, there isn’t really a story but the basic premise is that you take the role of a Logistics manager given the task of completing various scenarios in the most efficient way, therefore, maximising profit. Whilst in the current alpha version (0.08) there only exists a tutorial and one scenario, it takes a fair amount of time to complete both of those. There are of course many more scenarios planned as well as a scenario editor with Steam workshop integration to extend those much further.
As mentioned the game is about making X product efficiently. In the main scenario, you are tasked with making a robot, however, to make that, you have to be able to make each of its smaller components. To do this you will need to hire various workers, researchers, engineers and experts to work in the various research/collection and assembly areas. All of your staff have a need for various food items, some of which require crafting. Every building requires resources either in the form of staff or resources in the form of a “token” which are dropped periodically but can also be crafted from existing raw resources.
You are also limited by space, so not everything has the ability to be built on the “main” island, one of my ideas was to move the worker and engineer housing to another island to create space on the main one, the issue with my idea was that they had no direct access to the aforementioned food. To assist with this, you are given boats that can travel around the various islands picking up or delivering various items from the available port. To build the various structures you have construction blimps that are able to travel the map, drop off the workers etc to build/staff the building in question.
Of course, you will need to build various storage that can serve as a “local” depot for your workers, which can then be collected by airship or boat. Airships are (currently?) only available on your main island so inter-island transportation is handled by the boats. Your main island holds your main platform that is able to build boats, airships, and tokens that are required, deploying drones in order to collect the required resources, from the “main” island storages.
Each of the research and assembly areas can construct the various components through the use of a “blueprint”, hence the name. Players are able to use either the default blueprint or can attempt to create a more efficient design, they are able to test the design to ensure it does what they want it to. Players will design routes around the different products to collect and deliver them where needed. They are also able, for example, able to set up a specific route for waste disposal, as much of the advanced crafting produces a fair amount of waste product that the player will have to deal with as a crafting building will cease production if it contains too much waste product.
There are a few bugs here and there, and the AI in some cases doesn’t really do what you expect it to, however, being as Blueprint Tycoon is still early in development so that’s to be expected. Endless Loop Studios will be aiming to address many of the issues currently available via a list from the main menu. There are a few changes that I would make however, I would incorporate the tutorial into the main scenario as there isn’t really much need for them to be separate anyway, and to that end I would have the first scenario broken up into smaller chunks so new players can get their head around the game a lot easier.
From a graphics standpoint Blueprint Tycoon is very simple and players of Gamecorp DX will find a fair amount of similarity there, let’s face it it’s a logistics/management simulator, the graphics do the job, that’s all that’s required here. I did feel like I was working with a kind of AutoCAD, this may or may not be intentional but I did rather enjoy that (what the hell is wrong with me?). The soundtrack is quite fun and has a rather happy/uplifting vibe to it. The whistled theme in particular, feels very industrious, and is rather catchy, I often found myself whistling along to it.
Overall, I have to say this is a very promising game, it has a fairly long way to go (0.08 remember) I definitely think Blueprint Tycoon is going to be a lot of fun, whilst currently, it feels very casual and could benefit from a form of multiplayer in the vein of Offworld Trading Company where you compete to produce X at the cheapest price at the fastest rate. There is a lot to love here, add to that a lot of people – myself included feel the game is rather underpriced at the current £1.99 price tag. I’m very excited to see what comes next with Blueprint Tycoon. Also, the former coder in me loves the various endless loops that the initial loading screen has for the developer splash segment.