I’m not sure what genre Shapez.io is, and I’m not sure it’s super relevent. You can play it here. Don’t click on that link if you have other things you need to do today.
So what is Shapez.io? The easiest thing to compare it to is Factorio, at least mechanically, in that both are about processing and making things, and will eventually turn into some form of incredible clusterfuck.
You exist on a more or less infinite grid. On this grid there are 3 things: colors, either red, blue or green, shapes of various types, and a hub. You start with access to extractors and conveyor belts. You can use these to pull shapes off the shape spawns, and bring them to your hub to collect them.
Game progression is very simple, right up until it isn’t. Each “Level” asks you to collect large amount of shapes in the hub. Level one might be squares. Level 2 might be half a square. Level 3 might be half a blue square. As you go through the levels, you unlock painters, cutters, pathing splitters, etc.
And then it’s level 17, and the game is going, “Hey, I want you to make a Christmas ornament looking thing with a green star in the middle, on top of a circle that’s half white and half red, on top of a weird half square thingy spliced with a red spiky boy”.
And if you’re me, your response will be, “Oh, that’s not too bad, let me just re-route my white pigment production from a secondary holding dock into a route where I can use it to color the halves of the circle… but first I just need to create a way to get the circle, so if I look for a shape I can split into….”
And then it’s 11:00 PM. But you’re finally producing those precious, precious ornaments.
And then you realize that you don’t have enough quarter circles to keep your circle producers running, but when you add more, you find you’re getting blocked by the routing of the waste products on non-circles from your harvesters, so you add splitters and overflow that dumps into trash to prevent that from going wrong…
And now it’s 2:00 AM.
This is the Shapez.io experience. Is it fun? I’m not sure. I think I need to play a bit more first to be sure. Is it satisfying? Maybe. But I’m sure it will be even more satisfying just as soon as I can increase production speed on these ornaments.
Is it compelling? Well, for me, yes.