They told us that in the future we'd be managing entire factories at home, and they were right! Sort of. Factory Idle is an in-browser resource management simulation incremental game from Inditel Meedia that's reminiscent of the 'Where did my whole evening go?' smash hit Factorio. Buy and place manufacturing equipment, lay conveyor strips to establish resource flows, research new technologies, upgrade your units, and try to come out from it all with a profit! Unlike most games of the genre space is at a premium here, so while you can buy new empty factory lots nearby and even completely separate zones there's a lot more emphasis on getting the most efficient use of the workspace you have available. Factory Idle splits each second into in-game 'ticks' where resources are processed, and microtransactions — or more frequently, research upgrades — get you more 'ticks' per second. Factory Idle provides three different slots for local savegames and will keep track of when it's been offline, rewarding you with 'bonus ticks' to fast forward with when you come back, up to a certain limit. Click away from the game window and it will continue to run cheerfully just as well in the background, not bothering to update the graphical view and thus making things easier on your computer's processor.
Everything here is point-and-click, and ultimately your objective is to gain the best profit you can. Some goods have a much better profit margin than others — and usually, more types of resources needed to combine to produce them — and so improving that bottom line means you'll be trying to get your factory layout as efficient as possible, researching new types of production, and spending money to improve your equipment. New research affects every factory and area you have, while upgrades only apply to all your factories in the same area. Upgrades to make a certain type of unit buy or process more of a specific good can reduce the floorspace needed for multiples of that unit, but more production also means more overhead so you'll find yourself tinkering with the right combination of upgrades and layouts to get the maximal efficiency. Fortunately, you can sell back any upgrades that are throwing off your schematic with unnecessary overhead. Adjacent factories can often be made to share a production line, by sticking a conveyor leading out through one window, across the street and into the next building! It's alright, I'm sure the cars don't mind. New upgrades can also get you Sorter units, which enable you to sort resources on a conveyor according to type and route them correctly — but if you're careful, you can often do without the added space and expense just by carefully dividing your conveyors to sort the items automatically. We also loved that with a little TLC and planning, you can cross a conveyor going over a totally different conveyor going in a perpendicular direction. Microtransactions can get you 'Time Travel', extra 'ticks', and better research capabilities but we found the pricing on these to be pretty steep, particularly for an in-browser game. And Factory Idle does get on the grindy side at times as if to pressure the player into buying those microtransactions. But for what it is, Factory Idle is a compelling factory sim that doesn't give you the puppy-dog eyes if you relegate it to a browser tab and come back to it when it's accrued enough resources for you to tinker with the next big upgrade or researched manufacturing process.