Foundry, a cute co-op project, was released in Early Access on May 2. It’s a sandbox game with a first-person view in which you have to design, build and automate a station for mining and processing rare minerals on a picturesque moon.

  • Developer: Channel 3 Entertainment
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Early Access Release Date: May 2, 2024

In recent years, automation has become not only a key aspect of industry and modern technology, but also a notable trend in the world of video games. You could even say – a new subgenre that gives players the opportunity to create and manage complex production and logistics systems.

It is believed that the pioneer in this niche was Factorio, released in 2016. In it, players start their isometric journey with simple conveyor systems, gradually developing production to automate an entire industrial complex.

Factorio set the bar high, and in its wake came other notable projects like Satisfactory, an open-world game that invited players to build large-scale factories from a first-person perspective, so that every building, machine, and conveyor belt would be interconnected for optimal results.

The Dyson Sphere Program took the concept of automation to a galaxy-wide scale, where the goal was to create megastructures around stars to harvest energy.

All these games, as well as dozens of similar projects of various genres, appeal to the desire for order and efficiency, allowing players to create and optimize well scalable, efficient systems, and to see the concrete results of their work.

Paradox Interactive, renowned for their complex, thoughtful, and non-trivial titles, obviously wanted to have something similar on their roster of titles. As a result, we have Foundry – still raw, somewhat less spectacular than Satisfactory, but quite a promising thematic sandbox from the Austrian team, which includes the developers of Don’t Starve Together and Oxygen Not Included. The latter, by the way, is also not devoid of automation elements.

In Foundry, we too are sent to a blooming, unearthly mineral-rich moon on some nebulous mission. We’re a robot, kind of like the ones that live on Starbase. Our assistant is a bot, our AI assistant named Carl, who broadcasts in a well-modeled Russian language.

We board a capsule equipped with rudimentary smelting furnaces, learning how to use a scanner to find minerals and a drill to mine them. Outwardly, the game looks something like Subnautica, but the abundance of flora and the complete absence of fauna and peaceful ambient hint that nothing in Foundry is a danger to us.

Having found first of all ore pockets with xenospherite and technetium – the main basic types of minerals on this planet, with the support of Carl and the tutorial, we slowly begin to master the wisdom of automation, which in essence is no different from similar processes in the same Factorio.

In any case, the principle is the same. Collecting ore with a manual drill – excruciatingly long, and the inventory of the robot is not rubber. You need to build a machine with bots that will develop the pocket while you are doing something else.

But for the machine to work, you need electricity, and at the beginning of the game for these needs is provided only a small, working on biomass generator. You can install it on a special, electricity-conducting foundation. All energy-dependent devices are placed on it to be included in the power grid.

Ore extracted by bots should be processed for further use in a special smelter. And in order not to manually transfer raw materials to the furnace, conveyors should be built and connected to automatic loaders, which, in turn, should be connected to the above installations.

Then you’ll build a large resource store, which will be connected to the smelter by a conveyor belt, and you’ll notice that smelting is much slower than the conveyor belt, and you’ll need at least eight of these furnaces to load the whole thing, and you’ll start to expand. Plus, the demand for resources will grow.

At some point you’ll get tired of crafting complex devices by hand, and you’ll build assembly machines, which you’ll also include in the chain to create already multi-part mechanisms. For example, research packs that can be fed to the server to master a huge branch of technology.

You will explore advanced logistic systems and scenery with which you can already build a base with walls, doors, windows, fittings, moving walkways and street lighting.

Learn to produce steel, create tanks, pipelines and pumps, and build an advanced high voltage power grid created with transmission towers, transformers and industrial generators.

Upgrade your robot by unlocking a mining laser, jetpack and advanced ore scanners. Finally, build greenhouses to grow trees of all kinds for biomass from different biomes, which you’ll have to explore to find improved materials.

You’ll have escalators, underground drills and elevators, chemical processing machines, aolumite fuel extractors and energy cell constructors, and various drones for repair and construction work. And gradually, gradually, your landing zone, which has time to turn into a desert due to active deforestation, will be transformed into a large-scale and very complex automated city-plant, multi-level, and with mines.

In Early Access Foundry provides players with a very extensive toolkit. Even playing in co-op with friends, you’ll spend dozens of hours to think through and set up advanced production chains, and then another hundred hours to make it all look beautiful.

Despite the fact that Foundry does not stand out from the loud similar projects, at first glance it is a very solid and interesting constructor, friendly to newcomers and peaceful in its nature.