We take our homes for granted. They shelter us, keep us safe from the outside world and provide areas of fun. In fact, they are our everything. So when things start to go wrong in the house it can – for some – be the end of the world as they don’t know how things work and are unable to fix them – and yes, I’m looking at me. Thankfully others are more skilled, they know how the electrics work, what the foundations of the house are, and how to create the perfect mixture of cement. These people are gods.
If you want to be one of those god-likes then Builder Simulator is going to be right up your street. Grab a trowel and get yourself busy.
Builder Simulator starts with a load of options on the main board, with things like Contracts and Sandbox modes. But the best place to start is in the tutorial – without it, you’ll be stumped.
In terms of story you have a little robot friend, think Claptrap from the Borderlands series. He is a cheeky and witty chap (less annoying than Claptrap) and will talk through the basics on how to get your build on. The writing is very funny and your little robot friend does provide some useful tips.
You start your time with Builder Simulator with an easy-to-use tool bag. You select the handy shovel and then you dig out your foundations by digging around a prepared guided line in the shape of the house. Then it’s about putting down the foundations, as you learn to mix cement through a little mini-game; the right amount of sand, water, and cement is key. You have your handy wheelbarrow too, allowing you to quickly deliver the payload. Then it’s a case of buying some foundation wire and tools from an easy-to-use shop and then you are laying bricks. From there, Builder Simulator is your oyster.
The game has a useful, easy-to-use tool system, as well as a nice mechanic that allows you to lay multiple bricks at a time, rather than taking in the slow process of placing them one by one. It’s a nice system and makes the process of building a much faster process. Then of course there are supports and all the things every good house needs. Think of what you’d need as you’re building in real life, and it should be included here. I think the controls are good, but might be better still with a mouse, however the team putting Builder Simulator together on console have done a good job with the conversion.
The campaign mode is called Contracts and it’s here where you take on jobs from around the world, enjoying some nice settings. These jobs will ask you to do certain jobs on the house, but maybe not build an entire place from scratch. You might just get to work on the foundations, or build a wall or a swimming pool. There are a good few number of these contracts, but – as always – money is an issue in this world and you have a budget for each project so will need to be careful.
Planning mode is a tough one and could well be seen as a bit marmite; some will love, but those who are less creative might struggle. Here you are presented with a blueprint in a 2D setting and you basically use tools from the sidebar to draw your perfect home; doors, rooms, different levels, and everything you need in your dream home. This is quite tricky to get used to but for those into design, it could well excel. The same goes for the Interior Design mode where you can buy and add all the fixtures and fittings you like.
Lastly is Sandbox and this puts you into one of the environments, allowing you to then build anything you like. It’s amazing to see what others have been able to create in here, and you may well wish to use those as inspiration.
Throughout Builder Simulator, you’ll find that the visuals are decent enough, with some great interiors and building equipment to play around with. The environments where the houses are situated are all pretty varied and interesting as well.
There’s no doubt that Builder Simulator is a true sim game; the creativity and imagination are where the game really sings. With all the tools at your disposal, it’ll be up to you to make of it what you will. For me, I think this is one of the better sim games out there and everything works just as it should. But equally, it’s fairly niche and so the real love will be dictated by your interest levels and taste.
For budding builders, there’s probably no better virtual option than Builder Simulator. Yet perhaps it doesn’t cut it when you compare to going out there and building a real house.