Hello friends. This is the review of a cyberpunk city-building simulation/strategy game called “Industries of Titan” set on Saturn’s moon – Titan. The game’s developer Brace Yourself Games hails from Vancouver, Canada, and is the independent game studio behind Crypt of the NecroDancer and Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer as well as the Phantom Brigade. Led by game designer Andy Nguyen (Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine) & Ryan Clark (Crypt of the NecroDancer) we sure need to expect something special!
Developer: Brace Yourself Games Publisher: Brace Yourself Games Genre: Action, Indie, Simulation, Strategy, Early Access Release Date: 21 Jun 2021 Reviewed on: PC/Windows Available on: PC/Windows Link: Steam Discord Link: Discord Review copy was provided.
Set in a capitalistic dystopian future, the mysterious Council is backing up city corporations run by Founders like yourself. As a Founder, you get to create a new thriving industrial city, design powerful factories, compete with other corps for resources, territory, power, and fend off rebel attacks all while keeping the Council happy! So you get your hands full, and it is only your ingenuity to keep you afloat.
The game combines classic city building and management elements where precious materials and tech artifacts need to be discovered by surveying ancient ruins scattered across the map in order to be used to build and expand your city. To expand your city you will need to gather Xethane (an infinite resource used as a fuel) from pockets on the map and push it towards your Fabricators and Turbines keeping their energy output high. You get to construct roads and transportation, build homes (using minerals and isotopes) and jobs for residents and workers, keep the power up using energy and generate enough money to keep upgrading and expanding. But there’s still plenty unfavorable aspects keeping you from an easy victory – pollution, waste, weather, and even rebels that are after you! Having a powerful economy and keeping things as efficient as possible will keep the citizens, your employees, and ultimately the Council happy.
Aside from optimizing your city in a similar to SimCity style, some buildings (like factories and your Headquarters) offer internal grids that you can zoom in and change the layout and floor placement of devices to enhance productivity and efficiency. You can even build smaller and cheaper versions of the available building-sized counterparts within those factories that will kick-start your growth, especially at the start when cash flow is still low. This adds a welcome complexity to the game and offers more granularity in how you run your city.
But being successful draws a crosshair on your back. And that brings us to another part of the game, combat! Rebels will start attacking soon and you will need to defend your assets. To do this you will need to use battleships, tech advancement, political influence, money, or all of them combined! As a Starcraft fan, I usually opt for the battleship route where again you can dive into and design the interior of the ships by placing weapons, shields, engines, and more, strategically to enhance the battleship’s capabilities to nuke enemies. And there’s always the option to hunt and exterminate any hidden encampments across the map once you have bolstered your defenses.
There are 4 game modes currently in-game:
- Standard, which is the “intended way to play” according to the description where enemy aggression is based on your performance as a corporation
- Timed Contract, where you have a limited amount of time to get the highest corporate net worth and this includes a leaderboard among players
- Survival, in which enemies will become increasingly stronger as time passes
- and finally, Zen mode where there are no enemies to attack you.
Additionally to the above game modes, difficulty can be adjusted on some of them to your preference as well as Game Length for shorter or longer games. If you’re truly hardcore you can select “Hardcore mode” before entering a game disabling “pause” and allowing you only one save (and that, only on exit).
Gameplay is mainly “real-time” with the option to “pause” the action available as you think things through if you find the pace overwhelming. At the moment there are not many victory conditions in the game, basically, you claim victory by defeating all the rebel HQs on the map, but more conditions are added in future updates offering diversity on how to tackle each run.
The very nice graphics consist of stylish neon-lit low poly and voxel art – the art is coming from Sir Carma and Nick Gunn and they really add a great atmosphere to the game as it looks incredibly cool (this was mainly what drew me interested in it). The buildings and assets all look great in an isometric view and are very detailed. There’s also a nice Day/Night cycle, rain, and weather effects and on top of it a Photomode that lets you capture those great visuals or your brilliant factory designs. Music is from Danny Baranowsky and the full soundtrack will be released alongside the v1.0, after Early Access. To accompany the music on the audio front we have fully voiced lines that too add to the atmosphere. Controls-wise the game uses a keyboard/mouse combination and it supports custom key bindings. On the other hand, a controller is not supported as that would require a massive overhaul of the game’s UI.
The game is still in Early Access with constant updates every few weeks and a hefty roadmap up ahead planning to add more features, optimizations, and rebalances where needed. Future additions include a Campaign mode (really looking forward to this one), more weather effects (such as wind), advanced factory modules, more buildings (such as Clubs), new rivals, and enemy types among more interactions (such as Council, Spaceport, etc). Multiplayer is considered also but still remains a lot further down the road.
The developers poured a lot of care onto this game and it shows. From the great immersive atmosphere to the deep and thoughtful management aspect it is easy to recommend it to any city builder fans with a knack for future cyberpunky lore.
Graphics: 9 Sound: 7 Gameplay: 7 Fun Factor: 8 Final Verdict/Overall: 8,4