Construction Simulator Review


Construction Simulator by developer weltenbauer. Software Entwicklung GmbH and publisher astragon EntertainmentPC (Steam) review written by Hayden with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes



Construction Simulator by developer weltenbauer. Software Entwicklung GmbH and publisher astragon Entertainment is a visually gorgeous simulator that will satisfy everyone who ever wanted to know just how much work goes into every building we see - without having to actually get out of their gaming chair. Challenging players with projects ranging from local parks to full building complexes, road repair and more, Construction Simulator tries to take you from your desk to the worksite. This isn’t just a game about driving big trucks, however, as Construction Simulator also touches on all sorts of aspects of running a company in the industry - vehicle repairs, material costs and more will make players think not only about what they are doing, but how they are doing it.

So much to do...

The banner appeal in Construction Simulator is the huge fleet of vehicles that the game offers players. Over 70 extremely detailed replicas of real-life vehicles from flatbeds to backhoes, cranes and loaders underscore Weltenbauer’s commitment to an accurate simulation environment. Vehicles function in a manner that is immediately familiar and recognizable, allowing players to quickly understand what equipment can (and cannot) do.

Vehicle control in Construction Simulator can be daunting at first glance, with just your average flatbed having standard driving controls, deployable side stabilizers, openable side boards on the bed, and a fully articulated and player-controlled knuckle-boom crane onboard. Weltenbauer handles this smoothly, with the player swapping control modes between major function groups. The flatbed, for example, can’t be driving around when the stabilizers are deployed and the crane in use, so there’s a natural division there.

Control schemes are generally shared between vehicles, so WASD often controls equipment rotation and height adjustment, while QE handles boom extension or secondary joints. Perhaps the only awkward control set that I encountered was when driving tracked vehicles - since the treads can be controlled separately, left and right treads have to have independent forward/reverse motion. While forward was QE, the natural reverse mapping would feel like ZC - but key conflicts force it to be CY instead, an oddity that took a lot of getting used to.

Looking good while you do it

Articulation and animation in Construction Simulator is extremely detailed and high quality as a general rule. From watching stabilizers deploy to watching a load sway on a crane hook because you swung it around too quickly, there is little disbelief that needs to be suspended here. Having a personal background in trades and manufacturing, I was ecstatic to see the game get some of the tiny details right.

One that stuck out to me was how forklifts are modeled - not only is the player in control of the vertical lift of the load, but the fore/aft tilt of the forklift mast is also modeled so that loads can be angled to secure them during transit. The downside to such attention to detail, however, is that the few areas where it wasn’t put in stick out much more prominently. A few small items like raising or lowering the side boards on a flatbed truck - a seemingly simple single-hinge movement - aren’t animated, instead just snapping from one state to the other. After all the work in the rest of the game, this is the sort of thing that you can’t unsee once you’ve noticed it, precisely because it stands in contrast to the level of quality everywhere else.

Construction Simulator provides a look into the administrative side of running a construction company as well. The player gets their building tasks through accepting various contracts, and must both buy the required materials and have the appropriate vehicles available to complete the work. A dealership provides both purchase and rental options for vehicles, and both equipment fuel and maintenance needs are modeled in the game. Growing the player’s company will require a constant awareness of what is deployed to the contract and attention to ensure that equipment doesn’t get used for longer than needed to keep costs down. Over time, the player can expand their company to include more vehicle slots and handle larger jobs, as well as storing unused material from one job to the next.

Travel and pacing

Travel in the game relies on the player to drive (or walk) to each location at least once. After that, a fast travel system is in place that allows the player to avoid the tedium of having to drive every vehicle from the company yard to the contract site or other location. I found that this system was a bit of a mixed blessing, however, as it led to me having equipment scattered around town at former contract sites that I hadn’t bothered to bring back “home” to the company yard. Flipping between vehicles as you fast travel around can also be a bit disorienting, as every style of vehicle has its own control scheme, so switching mindsets from A to B to C as fast as you can bounce around the map takes some getting used to.

 

Perhaps the single greatest downside to a game like Construction Simulator is that it requires you to do everything yourself - which ironically is also a great source of its appeal! Players who want to say “I built that!” are going to love the appeal of seeing their site come together piece by piece. Players who are looking for that extra reward of dopamine that comes with a completed job, however, are going to find frustration as they yet again go to the gravel pit for material, drive it to the job, unload the material, and generally do every step of the process solo. Construction Simulator offers the ability for your friends to jump in, however, so that many hands can make light work of complex projects.

Conclusion

Construction Simulator does what its name says, and does it well. If you enjoy detailed simulations and enjoy replicas of authentic equipment, this game is going to be a solid hit for you. If you enjoy playing management sim games and growing a company, this might also be a good game to try. On the other hand, if you are looking for a quick, arcade-like payoff to your games, give this one a pass. Construction Simulator has more depth than a freshly-dug foundation, and more grit than a load of gravel.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to build a house - from the comfort of my chair!

Summary

Construction Simulator is a highly detailed simulation of the modern construction process. Putting the player at the controls of a huge fleet of replicas of authentic equipment, this gorgeous game will hit the spot for players looking for a relatively relaxed, engaging game.

This is a great fit for the dedicated building or management gamer, but has a slower pace than RTS or action gamers will be used to. Grab this one when you need a break from against-the-clock action and you won’t be disappointed.

Score: 9 / 10



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