Industry - Unlocks steel, glass, and gives you XP when you build a structure. This is a great skill to unlock after getting mining and woodcutting skills, as you start to build out your world. Steel is an item used in a lot of buildings, so you will need to unlock this skill sooner or later.
Craftsmanship - Unlocks royal steel and royal clothing, which are materials that you will need in the late game, meaning you will have to get this at some point, but you don’t need to in the early game and can invest in other skills instead.
Sewing - Unlocks leather and makes your sewing station work 25% faster. It’s the next unlock that you should pick after you get the Industry unlock if you are working towards automation, which is a great way to play the game.
Smelting - Furnaces and forages will work 25% faster than before. It’s a great skill if you are looking to craft items faster and not wait around as much - and it’s another route towards the automation skill, which is worth going towards to complete the game.
Carpentry - Unlocks torches to keep your island full of light and structures cost 25% less wood to create. It’s an alright skill to get, but if you get woodcutting instead, you will actually have a lot of wood to use. Torches aren’t that useful in late game and mainly exist to make your island look good, which might be important to you!
Masonry - Unlocks Braziers and structures cost 25% less stone and brick. Braziers are a light source, but there are other ways of gaining light. You will use a lot of stone and brick when building, however, you will have a lot of stone and coal by the time you actually are able to unlock this, so it’s not worth it unless you target this skill.
Machinery - Unlocks flower press, which will let you craft raw materials for use, like gold and iron ores. This isn’t that useful, as resources spawn a lot in Forager and the materials required to craft resources use a lot of materials, so it’s not really a route to go down.
Physics - Unlocks power plants, which then speed up the production of all of the buildings that are around it, including furnaces, forges, sewing stations. It will help you craft items faster, which might be more interesting in the early game, but isn’t needed mid-game or towards the end of the game when you will be producing loads of stuff.
Automation - Unlocks Mining Rods, which then allows crafted items to collect themselves. You can then upgrade this in the Economy Route to cover two islands at once. It’s great for collecting items quickly and making the game more ‘idle’ as you collect items without actually moving around. It’s very useful throughout the entire game.
Drilling - Unlocks offshore drills and gives you a 25% chance to find coal when you dig. The offshore drill will give you oil, which is needed to make plastic, that can then be used to craft other materials. You will normally have enough coal to craft anything if you get the geology skill, which makes this skill far less useful.
Manufacturing - Unlocks factories while structures have a 20% chance of producing double items. This is a great investment as the chance of double items works for everything craftable, so if you are making anything, it will help you out!
Textile - Unlocks gloves and boots. This may sound like not much, but gloves increase attack speed, so it’s good for fighting and keeping on top of enemies without much investment. These items can be upgraded over time.
Jewellery - Unlocks amulets, which can be upgraded over time. Gems will sell for 20% more coins. It’s a great skill to get, as amulets give resource drop boosts and effects all drops, so it makes sense as a good, passive upgrade. It’s particularly good to unlock after textiles.
Ballistics - Unlocks Ballistas and allows handheld bows to shoot three arrows at once. This is good if you want to just fight through all of the islands, but enemies do have a limit on how many spawn on each island, and you can easily defeat them without this!
Engineering - Unlocks droids, grenades and gives a 25% boost on the speed of structures. It’s a good unlock, but both grenades and droids do require lots of rare materials to craft, so the real reason to use this unlock is the added speed to the structures.
Lasers - Doubles the damage dealt by drones and mining rods - this is a good skill if you are using mining rods to continue your game, as they will gain more resources at a greater speed. If you are making drones, it will help out there too.