This is a logistics/puzzle game with the emphasis solidly on the puzzle elements. Play through well over 100 levels and complete the factories to generate the required donuts.
Classic machine and conveyer belt building blocks applied to a farming setting. This gets really interesting with the ability to minimise a section of your factory into a single block and continue building with that. It also has the compelling nature of a good idle game to boot.
Heavily inspired by Factorio, but actually this really strongly reminds me of an old Flash puzzle game series called Factory Balls by Bert Bonte. Mine, split, colour, rotate and layer together various resources from an infinite map in order to mass product increasingly complicated symbols.
I’ve seen this described as Satisfactory crossed with Slime Rancher. Seems about right. And unusually for this list, it’s also playable in VR.
A factory simulation crossed with Terarria? This is a side scrolling factory/colony builder with some base defence elements on top as well.
Another game which could be described as Factorio in 3D. It’s very grey and industrial and doesn’t show off a huge amount of personality compared to other games on this list, but it definitely looks like you can create huge complex sprawling factories with lots of moving parts.
A game where you are rewriting bits of machine code in order to solve puzzles. Also looks to have a level editor where you can create your own levels in order to send them to the developer and maybe get them added to the game. There is also a slimmed-down web version you can try.
Most people seem happy to describe this as Factorio in 3D, which you can understand looking at it. It is currently in development so we shall have to see how it turns out.
If you can get past the UI which feel aggressively functional, then it looks like there is a lot going on in this game. I’m not sure if it’s a bit too much of a simulation game for this list but I’ll leave it in for now.
This one starts out looking like a Settlers-style logistics game, but the more you play and unlock the more it becomes about automating and optimising your town.
This game is now free as an open source project. The original game was released in 2001 but is no longer available. It is a survival game where you have a group of robots available to you. You can control them directly or program them to do tasks for you. You goal is to colonize nine different planets.
This game is about automation on a massive scale. You start out digging rocks and will end up with whole rail networks and miles of stacked up conveyor belts! I personally was a little put off by the combat. I quite like the zen-like quality of many of these games, but if you are OK with being kept on your toes and having to react to attacks then this might be the mother of all automation games! You can even play it multiplayer.
Autonauts is an automation game. You start with nothing but sticks and stones but quickly are able make your own little robots. Once you get to that point the game just takes off. You can automate anything you do either by getting the robots to watch you and directly with a nice visual programming language. Before you know it you have hundreds of the little things working away like bees in a hive. It’s really satisfying to build up little production systems and then watch them go!
In SpaceChem you place instructions on the floor which form routes for two little ‘waldos’ to follow in order to pick up combine and manipulate elements. You can do some really clever things syncing up the two paths and if you are reading this list and haven’t played this game then you need to go get it right the hell now. Lots to keep you busy and really satisfying. You can also see graphs for things like speed/cost which keeps you coming back to tweak.