Masterplan Tycoon Review
Masterplan Tycoon is a minimalist resource management simulator developed by Bureau Bravin and published by Ravenage Games and Doyoyo Games. It strips back most of the fluff that comes with most resource management games like Factorio or Prison Architect and only gives you the essentials needed to run a giant factory. It’s apparent from the main menu alone, where I am reminded more of visual programming software or a schematic, with different coloured shapes to represent things such as water, rock, trees, and sheep. I liked the absolute minimalist style, as it kept things easy to understand at a glance. Besides, the real mess comes from all the lines going from one node to the next.
The entire game can be played with just the mouse, which is quick and intuitive to use. It’s all drag and drop, and occasionally playing with the settings of nodes, or “buildings”. Each building either produces resources or creates a product using other resources. However, in order for them to actually work, you need Storage nodes, and they are extremely useful in many situations. It’s extremely cheap to build and once you start inputting resources into it, you can use it to output those resources since the inventory in storage is shared between them all. You can create some very complex lines between two storage buildings if you know what you’re doing.
There is a catch though. Every building must be maintained with a certain number of products or else it just stops running. I don’t mind it, it’s another cog in a giant machine, but it was the source of many problems throughout my playthrough as entire factories would shut down or slow to a near halt because I wasn’t able to keep up the demand for something like boots or cheese, and resolving it only puts stress on other resources which starts the whole process again. It’s a balancing act that shows how terribly inefficient my factories are and made me work harder on figuring out the puzzle I unintentionally created for myself, which makes it much more satisfying when everything suddenly starts to work perfectly and you can work on other things without needing to worry about it, which is all but required.
The main map doesn’t have every resource you need, so you’ll need to go and explore other maps via missions or the port. These missions offer unique challenges such as no access to water or a limited amount of space to work with, which are fun to deal with and require a little outside-the-box thinking, and your efforts will be rewarded with a new kind of resource to take back to the main map. However, you do effectively need to start over every time from square one with only the bare minimum needed to get started. It does let you bring in some resources from other maps to make things easier, but it felt a little tedious to me after a while needing to set up the same nodes every time.
I have other minor gripes, mostly relating to quality of life. I wish I could select multiple buildings at once so I could move them elsewhere or mass delete, the game needs to allow players to zoom out a little further, the lumberyard doesn’t regrow the trees you cut down by default, there’s only one song that plays on loop, and there is no way to delete created resources like sheep or cotton without needing to harvest it so that space is wasted. Now, I did play a pre-release version of the game, so these issues might not be in the full release, but at the end of the day these are only nitpicks that didn’t hamper my enjoyment all that much.
Masterplan Tycoon is a simple and fun game that is easy to get into, but grows in complexity as time goes on. It does what it sets out to do well, without needing anything else. It’s just pure factory building: nothing more, nothing less. My final playthrough clocked in at around nine hours, and I instantly wanted to go back and fix up the many production problems I have around my giant factory. There’s no economy or any long term goals after you beat the game though, but I didn’t mind. I can easily imagine it being ported to mobile devices in the future, but for now Masterplan Tycoon is available now on PC via Steam.
Masterplan Tycoon (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Masterplan Tycoon is a relaxing resource management sim that only gives you the essentials, and it's up to you to make it as big and complex as you want it to be.