Digging for Ingredient Gold in Nom Nom Galaxy’s Soup Mines

You can’t run a galaxy without soup. Intergalactic commerce would fall apart without delicious ingredients steeped in a hearty broth, and nobody wants that. Somebody has to supply the soup that keeps the galaxy ticking, and it might as well be you rather than those unscrupulous money-grubbing back-stabbing rivals attempting to horn in on your market share. Fortunately you’ve got an entire planet’s worth of ingredients at your disposal, plus an ever-expanding factory crawling with robot helpers. It’s going to take automation and efficiency to corner the lucrative soup market, but once you do the Nom Nom Galaxy is yours.

Everyone’s got to start somewhere, though, so with little more than a buzzsaw on a chain and a few basic blueprints it’s off to harvest the world. The level is viewed Terraria-style, with you at the top of the level and resources scattered throughout its surface and depths, and you can use the buzzsaw to get to cash deposits as well as break up ingredients. Once the bank account is at an acceptable level and some space has been hollowed from the world it’s time to build the first section of factory, which needs to be a central office, a blank soup machine, and a soup rocket to ship the completed product. Harvest a few ingredients by grinding them with the buzzsaw, toss them in the machine, and that’s your first product. Sure, it’s probably grass and mushroom soup with a sale value of next to nothing, but it’s progress!

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Once a machine has made a certain kind of soup, however, it’s set to make only that kind forever so long as you keep providing ingredients. What this means in practice is two things- you’re going to want to build a lot of soup machines and harvest a ton of ingredients. More machines mean a bigger factory, and seeing as you can only carry one thing at a time that leads to a lot of grunt work until you’ve got some robot helpers. Robots will carry anything they find to its logical resting point, whether that’s an ingredient to a machine that can accept it or a can of soup to a rocket, so once you’ve tossed something at them you can ignore it and move on to the next task. Like you they can only carry a single thing at a time, though, so soon enough the sprawling factory is being patrolled by a parade of robots waiting to bring ingredients to long rows of machines.

As soup is shipped your company’s market share grows, but in the meantime your rivals aren’t sitting around waiting to be marketed to irrelevancy. They’re shipping soup too, and the winner of the market is the one who ships the most product. At the moment it seems like pure volume is the deciding factor, with value not being taken into account at all, so a soup that sells for 30 credits carries exactly the same weight as one that sells for 150. Harvesting resources for a high-value product is somewhat less satisfying when you might as well chuck two tufts of grass in a can and call it good for the same overall progress towards the goal.

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Honestly, the entire in-game economy is kinda busted at the moment. Harvesting a fully-grown plant yields two resources, and you can either process, plant, or split the difference. A planted seed takes about an in-game day (10 minutes or so) to grow, or half that in a cave rich with oxygen. With a bit of work you can create farms that provide a lot of ingredients at a decent speed, but earning real money comes from mining. Mining an ore deposit can easily yield a couple thousand in a few seconds, as opposed to soup which, while it has the advantage of being renewable, still only rakes in a small amount by comparison. The quick cash intake of mining is nice, but a factory humming along as you throw a farm’s worth of ingredients at it, each delivered to its proper place and then shipped into space by a fleet of robots, is far more satisfying.

Nice as money is, though, the real goal is market domination, and your rival is more than happy to slow down your soup shipments by sending the occasional wave of attackers to harass or destroy your base. They’re not much of a threat once you’ve completed some research and can build a handful of missile towers, but that’s bound to change as Early Access progresses. Once you get a farm built, figure out a good factory layout with appropriate robot support, and get the defenses running there’s very little between you and soupy galactic domination. The important thing is that, even at this stage of development and with as much left as there is to do (fixing crashes, enhancing the ecosystem so more types of critters feed on the plants, etc) it’s honestly fun to build a working factory. The core of the game works beautifully even if a lot of tweaking and balancing is needed to see it develop to its full potential, and it’s already grown well apart from its obvious Terraria influences. Mining, gardening, and fighting for soup seems an unlikely way to make one’s fortune, but Nom Nom Galaxy is somehow making it work.