Complexity in games can either be good or bad, and for the case of Blueprint Tycoon it somehow manages to be both. It may take some patience and a bit of goodwill but this game does go from a frustrating experience to a fun, niche strategy game.
Blueprint Tycoon has a tagline of “plan, produce, profit”; that’s the name of the game but it is nowhere near as simple as it sounds. You need to plot out worker’s houses and routes, create blueprints in order to harvest each resource and then plan the logistics to craft and deliver the goods. This is all done in a top-down perspective that gives you an overview of your island (and later islands).
“Blueprint Tycoon is very conceptual and the focus is more on mechanics rather than imitating a real life model”
The reason that Blueprint Tycoon is confusing, to me at least, is that it doesn’t seem to follow a model of business that we can understand. In Sim City we have the model of cities, so we know roughly what they need, and in Theme Hospital we have hospitals to guide us (even if the NHS made us question why we are profiting from such a service). But for Blueprint Tycoon it’s much more imaginary. You control an island and workers but it isn’t like Tropico where it all about the planning of the city and its produce; it is much more about logistics, which can make it all seem a bit baffling. Blueprint Tycoon is very conceptual and the focus is more on mechanics rather than imitating a real life model.
The tutorial is helpful to help you get to grips with this but it flies through all the aspects of the game very quickly. It explains the mechanics of the game, but I kept asking myself, why? What is the goal that I am supposed to be achieving? As there is so much going on I think the tutorial would have benefited from being slightly more broken up so you can get grounded more in the basics of the game.
Getting started in the actual game gives you a much better idea about what you are supposed to do and exactly how you are supposed to do it. You are given goals that you have to achieve while keeping your island afloat. The island doesn’t actually sink but your net profit easily can. There is a lot going on: planning the roads and buildings, placing your worker’s routes, crafting raw materials into something much more profitable, and creating blueprints for exactly how you gather and craft produce. There is a lot of micro-detail that you can easily get swept up in. Blueprint Tycoon is also pretty hard, but to me, it’s an advantage. It doesn’t hold your hand – but I wouldn’t want it to; you strive to learn how to make this world the most efficient producer of materials you possibly can. This is a game for lovers of the strategy sim genre.
“Blueprint Tycoon is also pretty hard… It doesn’t hold your hand – but I wouldn’t want it to; you strive to learn how to make this world the most efficient producer of materials you possibly can”
The art style is minimalistic, but to its benefit. The workers and building remind me of Prison Architect but the transport ships and balloons that you create later in the game are much more cartoon-esque. They perfectly capture the essence of the game and its blueprint manner. Everything is presented like hand-drawn sketches, much like an architect working on their first draft. The art-style very much suits the game; it’s charming and simple yet efficient.
Blueprint Tycoon has a lot to offer, and I’m sure that will only improve once it’s out of Early Access. Saying that, this game is not for everyone. You cannot simply pick up and play; it is a confusing mix of city building, resourcing management, micro strategy and money management that isn’t replicated outside of this world. But for those that love to get involved in a strategy game, Blueprint Tycoon offers a rich and plentiful experience that you really can explore for hours upon hours.