Infinifactory – What We Think
From Zachtronics (creators of SpaceChem and IronClad Tactics) comes the good-looking and challenging Infinifactory. The goal is to create complex three-dimensional mechanical constructs in order to please your stern alien captors. This puzzling factory building game is every engineer’s dream, and every Johnny Punch-Clock’s worst nightmare.
Alien Ant Farm
On the way home from a shift at a factory job, you are beamed aboard an alien spacecraft. Awakening in a series of bizarre hallways, it’s clear that you aren’t in rural ‘Murica anymore. After a few rudimentary gameplay lessons, the abductors reveal themselves to you with great fanfare. The otherworlders make a brief speech (in their language, no translation), and open up a trap door that leads to a tiny holding cubicle. Welcome to your new bachelor apartment! From here you can eat food pellets and work.
If that last descriptor hits too close to home, fear not! You’ll also be transported to gorgeous alien landscapes. Which is to say, you’ll be confined to a platform above these landscapes. Each block of challenges takes place in its own unique exotic locale. Search each location closely to find your predecessor (the person doing your job until they died from boredom or an industrial accident). Playing each of the “failure logs” helps to deepen the story that ties all the madness together.
Burning Out His Fuse Up Here Alone
Each mission requires that particular items be constructed and transported to a collection node. Each of these nodes displays a transparent hologram of the item it requires. The rest is up to you. In the passive state, you can move about freely, setting up the machine that will get the job done. Raw materials will be produced, and your job is to place the right components to move, fuse, craft and ship them in their completed form. Once enough of the desired products are harvested, you can move on to the next stage.
You’re equipped with a jetpack, and it makes getting around in 3D space easy. This ability is quickly made valuable in the construction of complex factories. When there isn’t enough space to connect everything on the ground, building up is the only way to go. It can also keep you from falling to your demise should you “inadvertently” step off into the abyss.
This added depth also opens up the ways in which you can employ your imagination in each solution. There is never one “correct” way to do things, and as you can stack machines above or beside other tiles, there’s always a way to make use of all the space around you. While this free-flow approach to puzzle solving could easily fall apart in a different game, it actually enhances the feeling of being dropped in an alien world and having to solve a puzzle. It also naturally adds replay value.
My Life in Boxes
Once a stage is completed, scores for efficiency and effectiveness are presented, and compared to any of your Steam friends that have also completed the stage. At any time, you can go back to a previously completed stage and try to tweak your creations by cutting out any excess. Those food pellets aren’t free, ya know…
As a bonus, if you’ve created the ultimate Rube Goldberg contraption and you want the world to know, you can create an animated GIF of it in action. It’s a small touch, but sharing your genius with loved ones/rivals might just be the thing to get you off the cot for another day of toil. Think of it as the inspirational cat poster of the future.
I Owe My Soul to the Company Store
It doesn’t take Infinifactory long to sink its hooks into fans of complex puzzles. As more components are introduced, the solutions become ever larger and highly convoluted. Watching it all come to life is satisfying, and having it all actually work is positively thrilling. Unlike the player captive, you can punch out anytime. Don’t be surprised to find yourself doing some voluntary unpaid overtime.
Watch the launch trailer for Infinifactory below: