This is a web based Zach-like molecule-connecting puzzler similar to something like SpaceChem (hence the name) but with a more simplified tools set. It’s has a functional UI and satisfying mechanics.
The visual style of this is very flat 2D, but it looks like the puzzles are going to be perfect and brain bending for any fans of the Zach-like genre.
More so than many other games on this list, SOKOBOT really feels to me like it is channeling old school Zachtronics games but with a really bright colourful UI.
Blocks will appear in the level and they will be affected by the tiles that they pass over so you will be placing down tiles in order to achieve different logical problems.
In Hexahedra you program blocks of a factory with a sequence of actions and then build up the complexity of your factories by having multiple of these programmed blocks next to each other, passing cubes between each other in order to get the desired output.
This is a conveyor-belt game where you are dealing with little robots that have data associated with them (a sequence of coloured dots). You must shuffle them around depending on their programming and later on change the programming. Looks like a nice polished update of the old flash game (also listed here).
A first person factory builder/colony management game which looks to be something like Satisfactory crossed with Space Engineers. You will be building factories (with conveyor belts and wiring) on a series of voxel asteroids found in space.
A factory/city builder with strong survival, tower defence and RTS elements. Looks a bit like Factorio as seen through a Tim Burton filter.
Has a definite Factorio vibe, but isometric and more stylised. Also, instead of just fighting the environment you capture creatures and use them in your assembly lines.
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.
A factory building game which looks to have a lot of promise. Still in development but it’s solid so far and has a really nice clean art style.
This is a mobile factory game with free-to-play mobile mechanics so you have to open timed loot boxes in order to get the resources you need to progress.
A factory builder with a cute theme in which information and machine learning become part of the overall system.
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.
This is a factory building logistics game with tycoon elements to manage employees and products. Build a lumber mill in order to create and sell various wooden objects, all within a procedurally generated forest.
I hadn’t intended to add this game to the list as it feels more like a tycoon game than a nerdy logistics/automation game. Initially you just hire staff who do most of the thinking themselves, but later on there are a few more in-depth automation/logistics elements so it might be worth a look.
This is a curious looking one. It’s a sci-fi factory builder but has combat/base defense elements so you have to deal with your factories being destroyed, which may be frustrating for some people. It also has an interesting looking galaxy map which add a big sense of scale.
This appears to be a pretty traditional factory-style game with a clean isometric visual style and a strong focus on mechanics over story.
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.
Their own description says it’s a Zach-like and that should tell you everything you need to know. Program robots (forward/back/turn/use etc) in order to make food. Optimise your solutions for speed, space, etc…
If you are familiar with Zachtronics games then you’ll know what to expect. If you’re not then this probably isn’t going to be the most easily assessable one to start with but it appears to be somewhere between SpaceChem, Opus Magnum and TIS-100.
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.
The follow up to [the Sequence]. This is more of the same, but instead of being set on a squared grid you are on a hex grid which adds to the complication. As with the first game things start simple and as more types of component are added, the challenge increases.
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 is a conveyor-belt game where you are dealing with little robots that have data associated with them (a sequence of coloured dots). You must shuffle them around depending on their programming and later on change the programming. This game has a nice progression, has a decent challenge and have more depth than a standard conveyor-belt type of game.
The game that inspired SpaceChem. You can place down various little machines and robot arms and then give each arm a set of actions which it should perform. Use the arms to move, combine and modify various elements. Starts pretty simple. Gets pretty complicated and if you finish it, there is the Magnum Opus challenge which gives you a whole new set of levels.
This free, ad-supported game is quite odd because it is part logistics game and part idle/clicker, which means you aren’t really solving problems, you are mostly waiting for money to accrue. You progressively unlock different machines, product and upgrades which in turn produce more money. It’s a bit mindless compared to a lot of the other games on this list but it’s still fun to plan, build and see your little production line ticking away. Worth a look if you prefer your games on the zen side.
This one is very Factorio-lite. Enemies attack in waves and destroy your base so the game becomes a hectic combination of maintaining your factory and building new stuff in order to upgrade it. If you like time to think in your games then it may not be for you (although you can pause whilst building). The controls can also be a little awkward but it is getting regular updates and improvements and it appears to be free so why wouldn’t you try it?
This game appears to primarily be an advert for a development environment, but actually the game itself is a lot of fun and definitely gets your brain thinking. It has a lot in common with LightBot in that you are giving your robot (arm) a sequence of actions in order to get the crates into the correct order. Even if it wasn’t free it would still be worth a look. But it is free so check it out!
This is a pure logistics puzzle game, really nicely presented and with a decent challenge. The thing which makes this game really interesting is that each type of action happens in sequence, so objects aren’t all moving at once, but rather things moving up with move, then those moving left, then down etc. It doesn’t seem like much but it can add real depth puzzle solutions.
I’m not sure this really is unique. I think it again shares a lot in common with games like The Codex of Alchemical Engineering in that you use little devices to push, pull and rotate objects around each level, but what it is is very nicely (minimally) presented with a decent UI and puzzles which get very challenging toward the end of the game.
A lot of the reviews for this seem to describe it as a cross between Big Pharma and Factorio, but a lot closer to Big Pharma. From what I can tell, it takes Big Pharma, removes the tycoon elements and gives you a larger space to create factories in, so if you just like the factory building (and watching your creations busilly working away) then you might like it.
I’m really torn on this one. It is a remake of The Codex for Alchemical Engineering but done by a different company. They have changed just enough so that it isn’t a complete copy but somehow it doesn’t quite have the same spark as the original. Now that Opus Magnum has been released it is even more obvious that the UI in this game is clunky and the progression is awkward. If you have already played all of the Zachtronic games then give this a go. It’s more of the same (just not quite as good), but if you haven’t then start with Zachtronic games every time.
This is a very traditional conveyor-belt style logistics game. Move boxes from their starting locations to various different machines and then out. The only downside is that the presentation is pretty simple, but if that doesn’t bother you then this should keep you busy for a little while.
A retro themed visual programming game with a sci-fi story where you are building ‘circuits’ which act as pathways for data packets to travel along. Use the various components to affects the data as required. Comes with the graphs usually associated with Zachtronic games to encourage optimisation.
This is a visual programming game but also feels a bit like a logistics game because you are moving data around from location to location, filtering and sorting them as you go. Your solutions will earn you money which you can use to buy hats for your cat! Optimise your solutions to make more money.
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.
This game is part conveyor-belt style logistics game and part tycoon game. Unlike Big Pharma this seems to be focused more on the logistics side of the game rather than the tycoon side. You also have a lot more floor space to play with in Production Line so you really can create huge sprawling factory floors!
This game is part conveyor-belt style logistics game and part tycoon game. If you want a pure logistics puzzle game then this may not be for you, the challenge may not be in creating the best or most efficient factory floor, but also in how you sell and market the products you are making.
There have been lots of little web games where you put down conveyor belts to manipulate items. This game takes that concept and brings it into 3D. It’s got a fun side-story but the main draw is just how much depth the third dimension adds to the standard conveyor-belt gameplay. It’s hugely satisfying and again comes with the usual Zachtronics options for optimisation.
This is a spiritual successor to one of Zachtronics earliest games called The Codex of Alchemical Engineering. In this game you set up and program an assortment of grabbers and little machines to pick up, combine and manipulate elements. The interface is really slick and it is as satisfying as ever to see little molecules being put together. Again you have graphs for things like speed, cost and footprint which keeps you coming back to fiddle.