What’s this all about?
The world of shapez.io is an infinite grid and your task is to deliver certain specific geometric shapes to your hub at the center.
You do this by building small factories, the most basic of which is:
- An extractor that continually extracts (duh) the shape,
- A series of conveyor belts to your hub
As you progress, you’ll be required to deliver more complex shapes. In some cases, you’ll need to cut up the basic shape, rotate and color it to match specifications.
The main game loop is just that: building small factories here and there to deliver specific pieces.
If you focus solely on the main product, you will take ages to reach the required quantities. That’s why early on the game warns you: “do not delete old factories”. There are «secondary» goals that, when met, will allow you to improve your factories, essentially improving the processing rate of all your parts (e.g. makes your conveyor belts faster, painters can process more tiles per second, et cetera).
Why would I do this?
Believe me, if you try the game (demo link above!) you’ll almost immediately know if this game is for you.
Some people—like yours truly—enjoy the planning aspect of these resource management / base building games. The more complex shapes will require you to put some thought on how and where to build your bases to maximize efficiency. Eventually, you’ll go back to an old factory only to find it clogged, and that’s a different and interesting problem to think about: how to fix this particular setup? How to manage parts with different input/output rates? Would it be easier to demolish and start from scratch?
Useful features for the prospective shape engineer
Game features that I enjoy, in no particular order
- Most features can be accessed with keyboard inputs,
- Most critical parts have mirror images to reduce frustration,
- The grid is—for all intents and purposes of playing—infinite. This is to encourage the directive of never deleting factories (because there’s always more resources out there),
- You can easily put down specific markers on the map, name them and travel between them with only one click,
- After a while, you can copy/paste entire blocks (for a cost…),
- There’s a handy HUD to keep track of precisely what shape you’re expected to produce. This HUD can be turned off,
- There’s a very handy page to track precisely what parts you’re delivering to the hub, what intermediate products are being produced, what shapes are «stored» and how many of them, general production rates… all for the nerd/completionist inside…
What do you think, Andy?
I enjoy games that let me chill and I enjoy games where I take definite steps towards a goal. shapez.io has both.
The game was pitched to me as «Factorio without monsters», but I cannot attest to how true this is because I’ve never player Factorio. What I can say is that shapez.io is incredibly chill: there’s pretty much no way to actually «lose» progress, as you’re continually delivering pieces to your Hub.
Granted, this means that there is little «active challenge» or adversarial elements to your game. Once you’ve built a factory that produces the needed part, there’s no real reason to come back to it except to upgrade its efficiency (and mind you, this is by design: you’re much better off never deleting old factories).
But if you’re like me and want something relaxing, this could be the game for you. I myself use it as a relaxing space where I can listen to my podcasts/audiobooks without the game distracting me. I can just focus on the music and be lazy, or pump Kraftwerk to my eardrums and really work on space-economical, high-rate factories. The choice is yours.
Seriously, if you’re intrigued, go play the demo. I love devs that put out demos, regardless of the game. I love devs that believe in their product enough to give a bit of it away to be battle tested.
You’ll know if it’s for you in just a few cycles.