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North Pointe Now

‘Assembly Line’ is simple, yet addictive

Photo credit: AppBrain

By Colin Haroutunian, Intern

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Recently updated on Dec. 24 by its developer Olympus, the free app Assembly Line makes up for its lackluster, simplistic graphics in return for a game built around the creation of a variety of logic-based assembly-line processes.

The major objective of the game is to create an efficient virtual assembly line, with machines to produce goods and provide materials, later sold for profits. This is where most of the thrill comes from, mainly in operating new machines and using them to benefit one’s overall assembly line. Even with the multiple materials, they do not have price variety, which could be improved by altering the production costs and profits, ultimately changing the costs of future goods as well.

Other times, the game may seem slow due to the need to farm currency from the process, leaving the player to wait to acquire enough in order to purchase new upgrades. These process upgrades also provide an improvement for old machines, as to increase their effectivity. In turn, they are to keep the player enthralled in an extra list of components to purchase, lengthening the time that can be spent playing the game while remaining interested in it.

At first glance, the game’s machines are primarily square and feature few details, opting for an emphasis on pixelation. Some have clear emblems, such as the Furnace, which has a great flame covering it. Alternatively, it may be hard to distinguish between the Cutter and the Wire Drawer on screen, since the only clear visual difference is that one has an expanded, light grey border.

An interesting decision by the developer was to add in two forms of tutorials, one interactive and the other in text. This allows players to understand the game in multiple manners without being thrown into the set of intricate tools, greatly benefiting players in the long run.

The game’s menus and general display continue the trend of simplicity, yet are informative and show what is necessary. The ability to pause machines without manually deselecting their processes is an extremely crucial design option.  While a player rearranges their machines, they continue to operate, and without the option, the player would end up losing profits. Additionally, the game shows the profit per second of the overall process, a great way of supporting the player, reducing the time they may need to spend balancing the costs and sales of production.

Although the game is free, it lacks the intrusive ads that other apps often have. Instead, there is an option to watch ads upon prompt, providing bonus currency for the player, while only taking a short amount of time to watch.

While Assembly Line may be a free app with dull visuals, its appearance is deceiving considering the great emphasis on player support and strategic processes.

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