Shapez IO is a building construction and resource-collection game that focuses on the creation, expansion and management of automated factories that create and process shapes that grow in complexity as the factories spread across a map that has no borders and never ends. A player's primary goals are to create and unlock new shapes and advance across levels.
To make shapes, the player must manufacture shapes and then cut, merge, rotate, paint and combine pieces of them. Every level features a challenge. Sometimes, the player can only advance to the next level if they create a certain number of one specific style of shape or mass-process shapes at a certain speed. When the player reaches an achievement, they receive an "upgrade," such as tools to help make new, more unique shapes or reproduce buildings easier and faster. As the game progresses, the demand for more and new shapes increases along with the need for resources to make them.
After the player presses the "Play" button, the screen displays handy tips while the game loads, such as "Mix all three primary colors to get white," "Efficiency is key!" and "You can weave different tiers of tunnels." When the game loads completely, the player gains access to the Hub section of the map. Shapez IO has a custom engine that was built on the Yorg IO 3 engine. As a result, players can expect similarities between the two games and maps. That said, the interface in Shapez IO is cleaner and simpler.
Before the player starts to make buildings and factories, they need to adjust the settings. They click or tap the dark gear icon at the top right corner of the screen and then a white gear. The Settings screen allows the player to adjust basic and complex settings. In the General settings, for example, they can adjust language, sound and music volumes and full screen mode. The developer has even added a setting to help improve the experience of colorblind players.
The player should explore all of the menus, especially Performance, User Interface and Advanced, and make adjustments to suit their needs and tastes. To help with navigating the game, they should go to User Interface and turn on the "Hints & Tutorials" setting. Once the player makes these adjustments, they're ready to start the game.
On the map, the game displays the main Hub that the player can navigate back to at any time by tapping "Hub" at the top right corner of the screen. The game is easy to play, especially with the Tutorial as a guide. The Hub displays the gameplay level and goal for that level. In the first level, the player must produce 30 cutting shapes.
They can use a mouse or trackpad and keyboard to navigate the map. If they use the latter, they must tap the WASD keys to move up-and-down and side-to-side. This handy information is located at the top left corner of the screen. At the bottom left corner, a Tutorial window outlines in a clear, step-by-step way everything the player needs to do to achieve their goal. To start, the player taps an icon at the bottom center of the screen to select it, as recommended by the Tutorial. They can then tap and drag it to any location near the Hub.