In the distant future, mankind will be an avid explorer of not only our galaxy but the entire universe. Our technology will see mass innovations that are only seen as pipe dreams in our current day. While many of us likely won’t see the fruits of this labor in our lifetime, the world of media and entertainment is the perfect place to delve into the “what if?” scenarios. The latest game to pose this question is Dyson Sphere Program, a resource management simulator from the developers at Youthcat Studio and publisher Gamera Game. Does it truly provide an engaging experience that showcases that true potential though? Find out in our Dyson Sphere Program review.
Dyson Sphere Program is available exclusively on PC through Steam.
Mankind’s First Foray to the Great Beyond
Most of you can likely guess that Dyson Sphere Program takes a very basic premise for its story. In this distant future, mankind has entered a golden age of science and technology. Much of the population has transferred over to virtual universes, as the endless supply of resources is much better than our real-world counterpart. With a project that expansive though, it requires a lot of power. That’s what you’re here for. As a member of the Dyson Sphere Program, you must traverse to the “Actual universe” and work with natural resources in order to progress towards the construction of Dyson Spheres. This powerful sphere harnesses the solar energy of the sun to provide near limitless energy, something perfect for humanity’s survival in virtual worlds.
While the developers don’t spend much time explaining this, I can appreciate the background guide for those who care. It helps to immerse yourself in the world, especially when the furthest extent of any other interaction is a robot giving you guides as to how to utilize certain technology. He’s definitely quite helpful (even if some of his usefulness was lost in translation), but him combined with that info helps you to realize the true potential you’re giving humanity as you’re tearing apart a planet’s ecosystem. But hey, when it’s in the name of science, who cares?
Dyson Sphere Program and How to Craft an Industrial Empire
Like any great resource management simulator, Dyson Sphere Program starts you out with very basic amenities. These include mining away at resources and building simple mining equipment. As you get more and more invested in the game though, spending questionable amounts of hours, you unlock more advanced technologies until you’ve crafted your perfect industrial empire. While the game very much sticks true to this formula in an engaging and enjoyable way, I found that much of the early game was a lot harder to get into than many other titles out there. This is largely in part due to your mech upgrades being locked to the same progression, meaning you’ll be moving at a snail’s pace for much of your empire’s humble beginnings. It may drive some of you off, especially those looking to enter the genre for the first time.
Still, those who choose to stick around will be treated to an expansive and intriguing upgrade system. There’s a lot to upgrade from basic material production to full-on material transportation from planet to planet. It doesn’t have everything you could hope for, but there’s a lot there with more planned throughout early access. These all cost what are called matrixes, different colored cubes which can be crafted and used to research other technologies. The more you progress, the more complex matrixes you’ll need and the more of the lower ones you’ll be required to produce. It all adds to that arrange-and-rearrange mechanic so many resource management simulators are accustomed to, making for a somewhat consistently engaging experience.
The main issue I have with the system in place is Dyson Sphere Program’s time to construct anything. You already are waiting a ton of time for the matrixes to be built and put into research, but on top of that is obscene amounts of time to build structures. Even something as simple as two research buildings can take five minutes to construct. Let me be the first to say that waiting on top of waiting isn’t entirely my cup of tea, and I can’t imagine it’s anyone else’s either. If there’s one thing that absolutely needs fixing during Early Access it’s this, but thankfully the developers have shown enough promise to make this a potential reality.
The other much smaller issue comes in the form of your exploration, with much of it being no more than a desire. With a good chunk of time in the game, I’ve only had a single progression-based reason to explore other planets and that’s really it. The reason I say this is a rather small issue is due to the other planets having unique aesthetic beauty, making the expansion of your empire a little less out of necessity. Still, having resources a little more spread out wouldn’t hurt (perhaps in combination with interstellar transport coming a little faster).
For what it’s worth though, there’s a ton here already to build, collect, and utilize with the ultimate goal of expanding this industrial megacorporation. There’s always something new around every corner in Dyson Sphere Program, with each one having a unique use. This is more so than other resource management games out there, and shows the immense amount of thought and detail that went into crafting an ecosystem that supports players rather than the needs of the game itself. I for one, can’t wait to see how that’s evolved into additional resources throughout the remainder of early access.
Exploring the Beautiful Galaxy in Dyson Sphere Program
Like I partially mentioned earlier, it can be a blast to explore various planets and solar systems in Dyson Sphere Program. Each one has a unique ecosystem built into it that, while clearly lacking in the wildlife department, thrives and looks quite stunning from a distance. The same goes for your factory, which looks like a beautiful (or in my case messy) mechanical beast all working together to serve one purpose. While some of the individual textures could use some work, often being made up of simplistic color palettes (I’m talking to you, resource boxes), it’s nice to appreciate the perspective it all provides.
On the other hand, Dyson Sphere Program’s sound design feels alright if not needing perhaps a little freshening up. The musical tracks are great in their own right, complimenting the true sense of discovery and progress you experience in the gameplay itself. It’s more the building sounds which could use a little more work. For example, smelters should sound like refineries, melting down all the different minerals you collect into useful ingots or other pristine gems. Instead, it sounds like someone took a mic and recorded the ambient sound of a fan. It’s not too pertinent of an issue (in fact most of you will consider me nitpicky for that), but it’s the little things that truly build into your immersion.
Dyson Sphere Program, while not perfect in its current state, offers a lot of potential as far as gameplay goes. It takes much of what makes the resource management genre so enjoyable and utilizes it while offering its own take so it feels fresh and enjoyable. As someone who quite enjoys the beauty of space itself, the game not only captures that well but accentuates it by providing its own unique ecosystems and locations. It could use a little more fine-tuning and engagement, but what Dyson Sphere Program offers right now is more than worth the $20 price tag.