For the first hour, I was sweating bullets as two mods dominated the early standings. One of them was the End is Nigh. Initially pre-download, I knew for a fact it was endgame content primarily. However, I misunderstood how "end-game-y" it was: it's literally "If you find Desolate Rift to be an ez snoozefest of a map" endgame. Yikes...
However, much to those players' disappointment (and somewhat to my relief), the other one happened to Be Vanilla Upgraded, which hours later left all of its peer mods behind on my poll. And thus I am going to assume with 2 days left on this poll, will stay that way, for good reason I presume.
Oh yeah, this is going to be a long one, which is why I'll probably divide this mod review into two or more parts, each covering as much of the as reddit allows me to.
Without further ado...
SargeanTravis presents Episode one of my Mindustry Mod Review guide:
Vanilla Upgraded (Part 1 since this mod is larger than I thought) Official Github and Discord link can be found here Vanilla Upgraded in a nutshell:
It's the mod equivalent of a base game update. It has it's strong (or mildly OP) components, some weaker and unfavorable additions, but you hardly become OP or weaker while running the mod.
There's not much more I can say about the above statement. Vanilla Upgraded, along with the 2 or so sister mods all share a similar game-play goal (Vanilla + and Vanilla enhanced are two that immediately come to mind, maybe they'll be reviewed in the future), and that is to enhance or supplement all the Vanilla Mindustry features and gimmicks. It's the perfect mod for anyone, from those struggling with the core concepts of the game, to veterans who want to give a boost, even if slight, advantage to their factories. Hence why it saw such a dominant performance in the poll it debuted in, or at least I think so. What you can Unlock in Vanilla Upgraded:
- 9 New craftable and/or harvestable resources, as well as 2 new liquids
- Tons of new walls and factory setups (arguably a highlight of the mod in my perspective)
- 20 new defense turrets (2 which have been added in the most recent mod update)
- 7 Mech Pads (Some of these are cool af)
- 15 types of enemies that you can square off against (including one new one as of the most recent release)
- And 6 Maps (Probably the biggest mod in terms of Campaign Map content, a selling point in my point of view)
Arguably there's 3 maybe four main reasons you would install the mod: The Walls (I'll explain why), the Map volume, the insane Mech Pads and the sheer volume of unit factories, or factories in general. everything else I'll be honest is just icing on the proverbial cake.
Let's start with the campaign maps, which when I looked at my campaign tree once I disabled every other mod, made it feel VERY empty (keep in mind, THIS is what my campaign looks like with ALL my mods
, more or less) but nonetheless this is a VERY extensive campaign addition if you have it and Vanilla maps alone: Refer to Figure A in my other post
The Maps are labeled and I'll describe them in the particular order I labeled them, which is to say there's not really an order lol:
Oil Mountain (A)
Difficulty: Somewhat easy (provided you know what you're doing at this point)
Vanilla Resources: Sand, Copper, Lead, Coal, Titanium, Scrap
Modded Resources: Lithium
I consider this the "first" map in the mod you unlock, mostly because it's piss easy to unlock it by the time you're done and dusted with Frozen Forest and Shattered Mountains, the predecessor and sister map respectively ( Mountains isn't required to unlock per say, but you'll wish you went here first if you jump right into Oil Mountain from Forest). There is a few main gimmicks to this map, one being the fact that your basic vanilla resources are actually generously bountiful. There's oil too, but that is either an annoying obstacle or a valuable asset, depending on how you look at it. You may notice that the prerequisite research items includes a pneumatic drill, you need that for Titanium and the modded resource Lithium (more on this later). Sand is definitely a crutch, as there's a limited sand patch by the water pool in the NW corner of the zone, but item/liquid tunnel and conduit shenanigans should allow you to use both the sand and water (in case you're a steam power junky like I am) confortably.
However, the main gimmick of oil mountain is why I rate this a "somewhat easy map", and it is this: Refer to Figure B in my other post
Yes, there is indeed TWO enemy dropzones. While the top one is relatively easy to defend, it's this bottom zone that triggers me so much. There's not really any amount of natural terrain to cut wall costs down, which until you get the ability to customize your resource loadout at wave 15 or so really sucks for plopping down a cheap defensive perimeter. As for enemies, there's nothing you have to worry about (yet), but the hordes of daggers and crawlers that continually spawn can get out of hand very quickly if you don't manage an efficient defense quickly... Silent Forest (B):
Difficulty: Easy (I swear, this map is EASIER than Oil Mountain!)
Vanilla Resources: Copper, Lead, Sand, Coal, Titanium, Thorium
Modded Resources: Lithium, Tungsten
Take a look at this lovely diagram I have created using the map view of this zone: Refer to Figure C in my other post
Given the absurd research cost for this map (Teseura Mech Pad is pretty expensive, and the mech itself is kinda lame, but then again I don't really have a longing for the Mech Pads), I would have expected something harder, but the only thing that's remotely hard about this map is the numerous TINY resource veins and the very strange design of the environment, as I'd say that only about a good 80% of the entire map is usable space, the remaining 20% is either part of those two giant drop zones or isolated in these semi useless land bubbles that, yes, you can build in them. I suppose some cheeky lad could use Mass Drivers to have turrets behind the drop zone, but I fail to see how this would do you any good, given the fact those bubbles are small to begin with. Oh yeah, there's wraiths too. LOTS of wraiths >=(
A final quirk is the core, or should I say cores: You get three of the baby Shard Cores, allowing you up to 12k storage of all resource types each, without factoring in vaults (which you'll need if you want to even consider farming resources here). This is actually quite generous, as the previous version of the mod only had one of these stupid tiny Shard cores. There's not much else I can say for this map other than the drop zones are WAY easier to defend than on Oil Mountain. besides the ez resource farm potential, the only reason you want to come here is to get tungsten, to make more of the mod's stuff. Crevasse (Attack) (C):
Difficulty: Somewhat hard
Vanilla Resources: Copper, Lead, Coal, Sand, Titanium, Thorium
Modded Resources: N/A
The first of the few maps I haven't unlocked yet in my own playthrough. Probably the combination of the two "end game" turrets you need to unlock (Machine Gun and Sniper are very endgame-y, considering the former's cheapest ammo type is TITANIUM) and the fact I'm not going to waste my time waiting out the enemies on Fungal pass for THIRTY WAVES. But it only gets better lmao...
This map is basically the answer to anyone complaining that "FuNgAl PaSs Is PoInTlEsS, and 2 eZ". This map is actually VERY similar to the first attack style vanilla map, but it takes the defenses of the enemy base and dials it up to 11. right off the bat you have to deal with nauseating Scorch and scatter defenses, each sitting pretty behind small titanium AND thorium walls, with Menders and eventually repair drones that spawn near the enemy core. Granted, you can cheese this section by cutting off an undefended power node with your Dart, but unlike Fungal's first enemy defense line, this isn't going to be sliced through like butter. Then the REAL Fun begins:
- Salvo battery surrounded by thorium walls (no menders, but remember, there's still those pain in the ass healers to deal with)
- Double Graphite hail and Fuze battery protected by a butt ton of menders and TWO force projectors
- Lead Scatter spam and THORIUM salvo spam to deny you a "cheese" victory by flying to the back of the map with the dart or a ship from the ship pads
- and finally, the core is a behemoth of a complex, with METAGLASS cyclones, Mend Projectors, Phase and surge walls dual force projectors. It's tough, but the map maker goofed and improperly setup the cyclone feeding system, so only two of the cyclones actually work lol. Pro tip: if you want to beat this map somewhat easier, beat it now before someone nips this problem in the butt
All I'm going to say is, have fun laying siege to this map! Pekkaland (Attack) (D):
Difficulty: How good are you at beating Overgrown Pass? i.e. the Fungal Pass but actually hard attack vanilla map?
Vanilla Resources: Copper, Lead, Sand, Coal, Titanium, Thorium
Modded Resources: N/A
I'm going to be honest, and maybe this is a bad time to bring this up after talking about Crevasse: I don't like Attack maps. Having to manage a semi-porous defense to counter enemy waves while simultaneously launching your own attack against enemy lines was never my cup of Mindustry tea. However, for those of you who would rather reenact D Day in the future rather than hunker down in a survival map, then you'll like this challenge of an attack map.
There's good and bad things to point out about this map. For one, you have a lot of options to pursue. plenty of room to build factory and production setups, and more or less a forgiving amount of close proximity resources. Additionally, the map is a more of a Pick-An-Attack-Lane, where you can either trudge through a dual graphite fuze battery, a GIANT cube of Salvoes that fire god-knows-what ammo type, or a singular cryo-surge Cyclone.
However, unlike Crevasse, there's basically no pre built defenses for your convenience. There's really no defensive Walls set up on any of the lanes you can assault on, and there's crude hail salvo and scatter batteries here and there. Hell, there's even a crude Thorium Reactor Setup and a MELTDOWN you can utilize of all things (but the Meltdown is in such a crappy position that I wouldn't bother)
As for the final base you have to penetrate is about as hard to beat as the Crevasse base, but it's.... different. I won't spoil it for you, but I will tell you a few things:
Volcano (E): DISCLAIMER: I have not played the next maps in a survival mode setting. Thus, any enemy wave patterns or strategies are largely speculative
- There's a lot of Graphite-fueled defenses, as well as Thorium and Surge Walls
- No Force Projectors, but there's four repair drone factories (with infinite item sources) and a BUILDER drone you have to contend with (So if you don't want that Surge Cyclone to magically appear, either kill the drone(s) asap or build over it with wall spam, IDK, I don't understand unit combat very well)
- Finally, there's no enemy unit factories, but it's likely based on the base design that the drop zone is in the heart of the base and the units leave through the only dual door shock mine corridor.
Difficulty: Deceptively easy, from the test waves I did (but keep in mind this mod is being developed even after its initial July release)
Vanilla Resources: Copper, Lead, Sand, Coal, Titanium, Thorium
Modded Resources: Lithium, Tungsten, and Niobium
For the most part I have been able to witness and at least unlock the maps. This is the last one that I have unlocked in my current modded Mindustry campaign. I have Volcano unlocked, but I have never played it in survival, because it is unlocked not directly from, but is unlocked next
to Desolate Rift, which in my few attempts at playing has roundhouse kicked me in the nuts repeatedly, even with mods.
I had every right to be afraid of this map, or still be if the custom games are different from campaign games. It is HUGE. By far the biggest map in the mod, alongside River, the final map. There is also a TON of resources. However, said resources are plentiful and spread out on the map. So without considering enemy wave patterns, the biggest difficulty in efficient defenses and production efficiency is going to be the logistics network. The period from when you start to when you can spam Mass Drivers everywhere is going to suck.
The Core is at the bottom left corner of the map, outside the "Volcano". The Drop zone is in the center of the volcano, and if you are planning for ground waves, this map will be like Christmas for you, as there is no way for ground units to get out of the volcano except from within a thing gap opposite the corner of the Core. and oddly enough, it appears this map is a very WIP map, as the enemy chucks nothing BUT ground units at you for the first several waves. However, when looking at the Core Database, I know for a fact there's some mean looking bosses in the mod, so it can't possibly be this easy forever...
Niobium is a rarer element in the mod, and you can mine it here, using the implosion drill from the modpack. It is also worth mentioning that there is a ton of coal/watethermal areas in and outside the volcano, so you have free reign to decide what your power grid will be fueled by. Finally, the only prebuilt defense on the map, near the hole in the volcano for ground units, are two Delabres Turrets from the mod. Do these turrets a favor, and just deconstruct them for the thorium and titanium walls they are surrounded by. The Delabres is the cheapest and arguably worst turret in the mod (I'll explain when we talk about guns soonTM
) River (F):
Difficulty: Easy in the current state of the mod. Think about Ruinous Shores easy, but still being grossly stacked with loot easy. I doubt this will stay this way though.
Vanilla Resources: Copper, Lead, Sand, Coal, Titanium, Thorium
Modded Resources: Lithium, Tungsten, Niobium, Oberald
It is at this and the previous map that I realize the painful truth: the mod's map's are woefully underdeveloped. The goofed up Cyclones on Crevasse were obviously down to developer error, but these end game maps like Volcano and River appear to be so ruthless in preparation and description (In fact you need to be decent at Desolate Rift to even unlock River) only to find out there's the equivalent of a WIP enemy wave system. Maybe there is a OP boss down the way in this modpack? IDK, but I'm too impatient to play hundreds of waves on either of these maps to find out.
River is the final unlockable map in Vanilla Upgraded, and despite the overwhelming disappointment the enemies are in the current mod's state, it has the potential of being my favorite in appearance. It has a main terrain backdrop of Silent Forest, but there's small elements of Frozen Valley from Mechanical Warfare (another mod; these elements include the frozen wasteland elements found in River plus the bridges that are suspiciously similar in this mod) and Volcano. There's oil, water (It is called "River" for a reason) Thermal regions for Thermal Generators, and every minable resource from Vanilla and Vanilla Upgraded Mindustry, including the most valuable ore, Oberald. (It's basically the marriage of a Minecraft Emerald with Obsidian. It makes sense once I tell you this I guess lol)
In the current state, this map is piss easy, basically a cakewalk compared to the torture Desolate Rift will give you to unlock River. But until they likely buff the map, I would grind to this map ASAP and farm the f**k out of any resource you can here. you have more than enough space for power production and resource processing, and the drop zone is super convenient to defend.
With the maps out of the way, let's get to what I argue is the biggest selling point of the mod: the walls, It's strange, given that walls are the least sophisticated and normally most useless mod edition, unless it's better than Thorium or Surge. But here me out. Yes, there is a lot of walls, as you can see in the image below (message blocks are for my own reference making this review): Refer to Figure D in my other post
There's also Giant and Huge Doors, but they suck and are a waste of resources, so just use the vanilla doors. Below you can see a chart I made illustrating how the VU walls Health stack up to the vanilla ones, in the order you would realistically unlock them in a game:
|Size ||Copper ||Titanium ||Plastanium ||Thorium ||Phase ||Surge |
|Small (Vanilla) ||320 ||440 ||760 ||800 ||600 ||920 |
|Large (Vanilla) ||1280 ||1760 ||3040 ||3200 ||2400 ||3680 |
|Huge ||2880 ||3960 ||6840 ||7200 ||5400 ||8280 |
|Gigantic ||5120 ||7060 ||12160 ||12800 ||9600 ||14720 |
Basically, the 3X3 and 4X4 are ridiculous. At the very least, you could use primarily use just Huge Titanium Walls and last for a very long time given you supply menders.
Then there's the small/Large/Huge/Giagntic REAPAIR WALLS. Built using Obsidian and Emerald on the last VU map, These walls on paper are good but not great sitting somewhere between titanium and Plastanium in terms of HP. HOWEVER, as their name suggests, they have a self-repair function. Oh boy, does it self repair. Think of it as a wall that has it's built-in mend projector on CRACK COCAINE. Granted, you have to use the large variant at best to maximize this effect, but if you stack this wall with Surge/Plastanium (to beat Erads or bosses with laser beams) and Menders, you basically on paper have INVINCIBLE defensive walls. Do note that you don't need electricity to activate the druggee mender walls, but they don't replace the Menders themselves. your turrets will still need projectors for healing.
Told you the walls were the selling point of the mod!
Pre update I used to write off the usefulness of the Hermetic Conveyor and conduits, modded conveyor and conduit variant respectively. They cost twice the resources and titanium ones, and they more or less were a glorified titanium belt, but YELLOW. However, despite what I assumed about the conveyor belt, I decided for this review to test how fast a Hermetic Conveyor can fill a small container versus a titanium one.
Oh boy, did the BUFF the Hermetic conveyor... it now fills a container about 8 seconds faster than a titanium one. So now, I can arguably say tht the belts are indeed worth the double cost. There's also armored variants, which force you to make use of your Lithium from Oil Mountain onwards.
There's also a mega buffed Distributor, called the H U G E Distributer. Nothing much to write home about, except that it is a 4X4 building instead of 2X2. Please don't routersnek with this, the space efficiency alone makes routersneks in general more efficient lmao
The last notable thing in the belt category is the Advanced Electromagnetic Catapult, or buffed Mass Driver. As big a s a meltdown, the AEC can hold 270 items and chuck more items over a significantly farther range. This is especially useful for porting large a mounts or resources across many of the HUGE maps this mod and many others have.
But what about the "useless" liquid conduit upgrades, such as the Hermetic conduit, armored conduit, and Gigantic Liquid Tank? Alright, maybe that liquid tank is worth the trouble, but unless you are a fluid junkie, the hermetic conduit is straight overkill.
The Mech/Ship Pads
Since this post is already egregiously long, I'm probably going to save all the Production/Turrets for Part 2 of this Mod Review, but I decided at the last minute to chuck these bad boys in. Mech and Ship[ Pads. The things you can use to either become a slow dagger or a haha ship go nyoom. I will talk about each one briefly in the order the mod presents them to me.
- Antim (Ship): If you think the javelin Ship Pad is the most dope thing on the planet, then the Antim Ship Pad is your wet dream. IM NOT JOKING! Resembling something like Darth Vader's Advanced TIE, flying fast enough (which is easy to do, Antim is basically powered by a Mercedes F1 Car engine) will yield not only the lighting aura the javelin has, but has a Broadsword shaped LASER form in front of it, mowing down any enemies that dare stand in front of you. This is by far one of the most developed additions to the mod, you will just have download the mod yourself and test out the Antim to see it shoot. OMG, you won't be sorry I didn't spoil that for you...
- MechDown (Mech, duh): You are basically a Fortress Mech (AKA You are a big Chungus Mech) but Instead of being an artillery platform, you decided to sport dual buffed LanceMeltdown beams. They fire slowly and aren't sustained like a Meltdown (hence why I say Meltdowna/Lancer combo lasers), but for the damage you do (You can one-shot daggers at the very least), it's only fair that this thing is balanced, unlike the Antim. (
- Invader (Ship): Basically the firing pattern of Antim but twice as much. I was expecting a bit more for the chunky Pad size and the Antim-class mobility, but no... only the Antim gets to have the broadsword laser pike. But it doesn't drift around like the javelin/Antim does, so if you only like the Antim for it's shotgun spray, this thing will be great at crowd control on smaller units
- Thunder (Ship): This thing is HUGE. Think barely smaller than a Meltdown Huge. I don't think I need to go any further to prove where half the mod's development went: into these behemoths of a ship/mech pads. This thing literally has everything you need to obliterate any enemy resistance: Big bullets for big enemies, scatter bullets for crowd control, Eradicator-style lightning bullet aura for even More crowd control, and even HOMING bullets thrown in there for s**ts and giggles I suppose. The thing doesn't even have terribad firing speed either. If you have this pad, you could very well just AFK lower tier maps by using this thing singlehandedly. Oh yeah, despite being slower than the previous ships, It also has a Ghoul-style bomb dropping method and a nerfed Javelin lightning aura too.Yeah...this thing is incredibly broken...
- Glare (Ship): When four MELTDOWNS can fit in the space this ship pad occupies, you know s**t's about to get real. You are huge (You basically become a mini boss at this point), not really fast (but this in the end fails to matter), and you shred your enemies by ether face hugging them with your mustache of death lightning (HOLD down your fire button and wallow in the enemies lol) or just straight Thanos snap them with your Death Star (You think Meltdowns are cool? You haven't seen this Ship yet) laser that wiile it takes centuries to recharge, this a) doesn't matter cuuz you can face hug enemies with your death mustache and b) basically nukes anything in the laser's path (even though I died trying, I basically deleted an ERADICATOR with the death ray).
- Builder (Ship): Unfortunately I had to talk about all the other ships before this one. While it's definitely good, the moment you get any of the above ships, you can just forget this one existed. It's too slow and doesn't do enough damage to justify using it over other ships. I will say, the dual laser beams it packs can melt enemies if you can strafe properly
- Tseura (Mech; Dare you to say this mech's name ten times fast): The research requirement for Silent Forest, this thing is imo kinda underwhelming for its cost. Not to say that it's bad, as it uses mega buffed arc lighting as it's primary weapons. While the sporadic and random lightning behavior leads me to believe that it can't take on enemies 1v1 or against a group singelhandedly, the mech speed and the radius of the lightning makes it a fairly decent support mech. It's kinda the opposite of what the MechDown is, for better or worse.
Have I hooked you on this mod yet?
Yes? Good! Cuz there's much more to discover within the mod (Which I will unveil in Part 2 of this review). Feel fee to check those out yourself, or you can choose to wait until I release Part 2. You can find the GitHub link on the top of the post
No? Meh, you'll only be missing out of the goodies I just showed you all and more, in aforementioned part 2 of the Vanilla Upgraded mod review. It's not mandatory to have this mod on your Mindustry playthrough after all... but think about all the cool stuff you are missing out on!
Here's what I will cover in Part 2 of the Vanilla Upgraded Mod Review:
And as always, thank you for "tuning" into my premiere of Mindustry Mod Reviews on Reddit!
- The Turrets
- A New Implosion Drill (That you need for the mod lol)
- Ridiculously large batteries and power nodes
- Factories, some so OP I feel like I'm literally cheating
- 12 Unit Factories!
- And a bunch of other useful/useless crap like new land mines and Overdrive/Mend Projectors
Have any questions/comments/suggestions for how I could improve the presentation of the review, or any mistakes I have made in writing this review? Feel free to shoot me a comment or PM below.