Satisfactory PC preview: A relaxing building simulator you can play for hours

Games with building mechanics aren't super rare to see on the market these days, but it's uncommon to see titles that make the process of creating your own factories the core element of the gameplay. This is how Satisfactory, a new Epic Games Store game on Early Access, has made a name for itself among its peers — while exploration and combat are present, they both ultimately tie back to your main goal: creating a massive, autonomous complex.

It may sound a little boring at first, and if you're a player that craves action, it will be for you. But if you love letting your imagination run wild and you enjoy working on projects, then you'll find Satisfactory, well... quite satisfactory.

Break out the blueprints

In many ways, Satisfactory is a zero-to-hero story written by you. You start out with nothing but the clothes on your back and a futuristic-looking stick, aimlessly wandering the environment and snatching up whatever you can find. Soon after, you come across an ore deposit of iron, and you can use your stick to mine for some. Once you have enough, you can finally build your main hub structure, and from here on out, the sky is the limit. The hub comes with a crafting bench that lets you turn ore into rods and ingots, which can be used to create new structures, which can then be used to create automated resource collectors. You get the idea.

This cycle of upgrading to autonomous systems is the core feedback loop of Satisfactory, and it's incredibly relaxing to experience, mostly because the game's pace can be as fast or as slow as you want it to be. You have the ability to make your factories in whatever size and shape you want — Satisfactory will always support your style with various types of systems. At times, the sheer amount of possible builds can feel overwhelming, but if you're an incredibly creative person, you'll see that as an opportunity. And whenever you decide that you're done with your project, you can either sit back and watch your machines work or start over anew with a new plan in mind.

What else is there?

While building your massive structures is going to be what you do the majority of the time, there are some other activities that you'll likely want to do, too. Some forms of alien life don't like humans, and they'll make sure you're aware of the fact by trying to headbutt you to death, so you'll need to be prepared to fend them off with a weapon, which can be pretty intense. On top of this, the worlds that you're building on are as vast as they are beautiful, and if exploring is your thing, there's nothing stopping you from taking a stroll around the gorgeous landscapes. You may end up finding valuable resource deposits or interesting types of creatures if you do, and in some cases this is required if you want to delve into complicated upgrades. Vehicles are in Satisfactory too, and while their main purpose is transportation of yourself and materials, they double as a fun means to take a safari-like ride.

Overall, Satisfactory's extra content is limited, yet intelligently designed. If you don't want to always be building, then these other mechanics offer enjoyable breaks from it without infringing upon the game's core design.

Final thoughts on Satisfactory

Satisfactory is looking like it might end up being one of the best building simulator games ever made, and I can't wait to see what the full game looks like down the road. Currently, the game has plenty of visual glitches and performance oddities, but that's to be expected of a title that just entered Early Access, and even with those problems, the game is a blast to play. If you're looking for an addictive and relaxing building game, Satisfactory is right up your alley.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.