Construction Simulator. Doesn’t sound particularly appealing, does it?
But then the same could probably be said for Farming Simulator. Or Train World Sim. Or, or any of the plethora of ‘sim’ games that have flooded the market in recent years.
But much like how Train Sim World has gone to great depths to provide players with the chance to prove themselves as the finest of train drivers, and how the Farming Simulator franchise has seen us plowing in hundreds of seed sowing hours, the same could be said for Construction Simulator. For whilst it’s rarely exciting, it is super in-depth and, strangely, slightly addictive. Not always for the right reasons though.
The latest in the Construction Simulator franchise, astragon Entertainment and the development team at weltenbaur software have gone for a full reboot this time around, taking cues from the Saints Row remake to do away with everything that went before it and instead deliver a bigger and better Construction Simulator than ever before.
Bigger? Yes. Better? We’re not too sure. It’s certainly a quirky, somewhat addictive, game.
As you’d suspect of a title named Construction Simulator, this focuses on all the construction-styled jobs that you could care to imagine. Whisking you off to one of two different maps – a European one and another set in America – your task is to work your way up from a lowly construction wannabe, to that of the big dog; one dealing with the largest of builds, fixing things up and making them look sharp.
Starting on the bottom rung of the ladder, a deep tutorial – one that is possibly too deep and too lengthy – will show you the ropes, as you get to work utilising all manner of construction vehicles, making the most of their tools and unique abilities to complete a series of objectives.
Prove yourself and eventually you’ll get the chance to go it alone, building out your empire, working to the top of the construction trade.
And in that respect, Construction Simulator works. It’s a game that is massively detailed and gives you the chance to get to play with a ton of big boys toys: from diggers to trucks, to cranes to well, pretty much anything that you’d associate with the trade. There are loads of vehicles to buy and rent, to drive and operate, each with their own unique little quirks and controls. And for the most part, it’s a bit of a joy to use them, as you pick the vehicle best suited for any mission or objective at hand.
But equally Construction Simulator is so detailed that it veers a bit too far into niche categories and certain aspects of the game are just too finicky. For instance, flattening some newly laid tarmac could be a hassle, or jumping into a crane and attempting to lift objects from one place to another feels a tad too much like hard work. Seeing as the controls change from one vehicle to the next, it’s with that in which Construction Simulator struggles.
It also struggles visually. Aside from Microsoft Flight Simulator, we’ve rarely been blown away by the visuals of any simulation game. Yes, some can occasionally look nice and there’s no debating that something like Train Sim World nails some seriously well designed trains, but outside of the focus – in this case the construction vehicles – the rest of the time it’s a graphical nightmare; merging of elements, blocky basic graphics and more fail to ignite in Construction Simulator.
That’s no more true than when you consider that the worlds of Construction Simulator are proper old hat, bereft of life, looking like a game that could well have come out of the scene from a decade back. The same can be said for the audio – and these are two elements of Construction Simulator that fail to wow.
Thankfully the sheer amount of content included here makes up for it. Just. The two worlds, whilst not massive by any means, are just the right size to allow for exploration, helped along by fast travel points and secret collectibles should you be looking for something away from the humdrum of the construction. Those worlds are filled with a number of contracts and lengthy campaigns to enjoy, as well as upgradeable options, the need to keep an eye on finances, the ticking off of milestone challenges and more. And strangely, much like many games of the genre, Construction Simulator constantly gives a little tap on the shoulder to ensure you want to keep seeing more, keeping you working, earning cash in hope that construction success can be found.
It’s for that reason that Construction Simulator isn’t the total letdown we initially thought it may be. Granted it doesn’t look or sound great, and there are some serious quirks that you’ll need to learn to put up with, but there’s plenty of content and tons of detail included; enough to give you a shot in the arm as you look to build out your construction business and try to rule the world. You can even do it with a friend in tow too via the multiplayer options; at least you could if you can tempt them in to the fairly hefty asking price.
If the sim game is for you, and trucks, diggers and cranes are your bag, you could certainly do worse than to jump into the cab of Construction Simulator and prove yourself as a master builder.
Construction Simulator is available from the Xbox Store