SteamWorld Build

This fantastic series hasn’t run out of puff


Has there ever been a bad Steamworld game? Thunderful has published two great metroidvan­ias (SteamWorld Dig 1 and 2), an ace turn-based strategy (SteamWorld Heist), and a fantastic deckbuilde­r (SteamWorld Quest). Now it’s taken on the city builder, and while original developer Image & Form has been replaced by The Station for this latest SteamWorld, the results are characteri­stically terrific.

It starts simple, with you building a few worker residences and then putting your new robot friends to endless work. Soon after you head undergroun­d to plunder all the natural resources beneath, such as gold, rubies, and, er, filthy water (well, we suppose you can’t drink rubies). As usual, all the little details are nailed, like the pleasant noises you hear when clicking a new part of your town into place, or the satisfying clinks of your bots mining away to make you richer.


It’s impressive how complex the game gets without feeling complicate­d at all. The difficulty curve ramps up so steadily, taking you through every new step so neatly, that eventually you’re juggling an overground town and undergroun­d workforce with ease. It can get overwhelmi­ng, but it’s the good kind of overwhelmi­ng that has you zipping around your town, looking for empty space to build more things you need, hopping to the train station to trade for resources, and making sure you have enough workers that are all satisfied. They really like their moonshine, which we guess is on us for making them work through Christmas.

Eventually you have built a massive city that started off as nothing but a few heaps of scrap, and it’s wonderfull­y rewarding. Our ancient eyes would appreciate larger text and occasional­ly we get a little confused as to what to do, but the latter is usually due to personal stupidity. Always friendly and never patronisin­g, Build is a fantastic entry point for new city builders, and anyone who wishes the genre was a little less confusing than playing 4D chess blindfolde­d.

A fun story campaign teaches you everything you need to build a great time in yet another excellent Steamworld game. What genre will Thunderful nail next? Abbie Stone

Eventually you have built a massive city that started off as nothing but a few heaps of scrap.

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