If you wait until you're tired of Factorio, you'll never give Shapez a try.
I have nearly 600 hours logged playing Factorio, possibly many more which weren't properly recorded by my game launcher of choice, plus many tens of (if not 100+) hours watching YouTube videos of other people playing Factorio, and I'm currently fighting off the urge to dive into yet another round of the game. I noticed after my most recent few play sessions that I tend to spend about 30-40 hours at minimum per save, if not 10-30 hours more. At which point I've successfully launched a rocket (or several) and have started to feel the urge to start anew and/or feel I should set the game aside for a while so I can spend some of my free time doing something else with my life.
I tried the free version of Shapez a few days ago. I got bored with it before finishing the demo, but finished it anyway since there were only "a few" more levels left by the time I got bored. I think I spent about 2-3 hours total with the demo of Shapez before finishing it. It just didn't scratch the same itch for me.
I guess in Factorio I feel like I'm working toward something "meaningful" but in Shapez I feel like I'm just working toward doing the same thing I'm already doing, but maybe faster or something? I guess an analogy is that Shapez feels like a puzzle game to me, like Sudoku or a crossword puzzle, where once you've spent a few minutes learning the rules you are basically just doing the same few things over and over forever in slightly varying ways. Whereas Factorio feels like a much more dynamic and interesting thing, where after playing nearly 600 hours with it there are aspects of the game I still have barely touched or not touched at all. I'm filled with ideas and aspirations of how I might like to try things differently the next time I play, in order to try to find a (subjectively) "better" or "more fun" way to accomplish something in the game. Almost every time I play, I realize I've been making mistakes every time I played in the past, learn new ways to do things, and of course make new mistakes along the way.
There's nothing inherently wrong with Shapez. But it's just not satisfying to me. It's like the creator of Shapez isolated and surgically removed a very basic and tiny part of Factorio and packaged it up into its own thing. It has some semblance of the full thing, and is an interesting thing in and of itself, but ultimately (in my opinion) it falls short of the full experience and satisfaction I get from solving all the various "puzzles" or problems that present themselves to me in Factorio.
Shapez can be boiled down to basically:
- "Mining" things
- Transporting things (on conveyor belts)
- Splitting or combining things
- Delivering things to the single, central location.
In Shapez, the miners are free and limitless, and the resources they mine are limitless. Whereas in Factorio, the miners cost resources to produce, and they require some form of power or fuel to run, and the source of resources they mine don't last forever (requiring you to go out and find new patches of resource to mine up).
In Shapez, the conveyor belts are free and limitless. Whereas in Factorio, the conveyor belts cost resources to produce, and at least in the earlier stages of the game, require you plan ahead with how many belts you will need, or have to go back to your belt factory to collect more of them.
In Shapez, the point of gathering the limitless resources and splitting/combining them into certain shapes is so that you can... gather more limitless resources and split/combine them even faster? You deliver certain shapes to the central location in order to unlock upgrades that increase the rate at which miners, belts, or combiners/splitters operate. Yes, you could say that in Factorio you gather and combine resources so that you can gather and combine even more resources even faster. But in the case of Factorio, that would be extremely reductive, whereas in the case of Shapez it's merely a mostly accurate statement.
In Factorio, you're actually making "things" that serve various purposes. Weapons, armors, gadgets, flying bots, ammunition, science facilities, miners, belts, cars, tanks, trains, pipes, assembling machines, power generators, walls, etc. In Shapez you're just making shapes so you can make more of the same shapes (as well as more complex shapes) faster.
I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job hitting all the points I want to make, or explaining the ones I am hitting, but I also feel like I'm talking in circles a bit, so I'll just summarize with this TL;DR:
I find it interesting that even though I spend a lot of time doing in Factorio what is essentially the same thing I did in Shapez, I find it much more enjoyable in Factorio because the thing I'm doing is the means to a much bigger, more complex end that feels much more meaningful and much more like an accomplishment to me. In Shapez, the means is the end, and I can't help but keep asking myself "why am I still doing this?"