Construction Simulator Review – Building Great Things

Developer Weltenbauer Software Entwicklung and publisher Astragon Entertainment have released Construction Simulator, their latest title in their simulation building series. Did they construct a better experience, or should this game be left at the lumberyard?

Read on to find out.

 

 

I grew up at a time when Tonka trucks were made of steel and could literally be ran over by a car and take zero damage. I had front end loaders, dozers, dump trucks, and other kinds of heavy equipment that helped me spend my days of youth digging up my back yard and building all sorts of forts for my multiple battalions of army guys. I can remember as a kid spending countless hours playing in the dirt with these awesome machines and was very looking forward to playing developer Weltenbauer Software Entwicklung’s latest edition of Construction Simulator. I was not disappointed.

Construction Simulator Review – Getting Started

The story for Construction Simulator opens up in small town that is down on its luck. Folks are moving away, there’s no real tourist draw, and the main contractor for the town, Hape, is ready to retire. He asks you to step in and start doing some of the jobs around town, and hopefully help revitalize a failing township. You have access to a backhoe, a flatbed truck with a built in crane, and a limited amount of cash. The first couple of projects introduce you to the inner workings of the game and Hape is there to talk to you through them. It’s an interesting storyline and it’s cool to see how the area changes as you complete projects.

The work selection system is pretty straightforward where you choose a project to complete, work through however many steps are needed, and then talk to the project giver upon completion in order to finish it. The first few projects are simple and require only a few steps and a short amount of time to complete. Later projects can be much more intricate and time consuming, with steps going up to 14 or more. Each project is adjustable as to how much time it will take by adjusting the scope of it to Low, Medium, or High. This also raises your earnings, but can add quite a bit of time to each task. It’s an interesting way to adjust difficulty, and I found myself going High every time. I’m up to around $2.6m cash on hand after 30+ hours of play, so there’s money to be made for sure.

Construction Simulator Review – The Campaigns

Once you’ve worked through the opening projects of the game, you’ll unlock your first campaign. Several City Leaders will be made available to you and each have their own set of pet projects. These include building a bridge, repairing the port, building a community college, and building a shipping container hotel to name a few. They all have an eye towards keeping things green, and you’ll even build an underground parking garage that has space on top for gardens. Once you’ve completed the first campaign, you’ll also unlock a job foreman who can run a second crew for you and you also unlock a second campaign in Europe.

The projects can range from a simple two step, remove and replace a broken pipe, up to a massive 13 step container hotel project that will keep you busy for a while. The equipment and supplies needed for the bigger projects can seem daunting at first, but if you take it one step at a time, they are easy to tackle and complete. You can order your supplies from the material store and either have them delivered to the job site, for a fee, or you can opt to drive to the store and have them load it up on the back of your flatbed. The jobs themselves are pretty forgiving as far as time and placement of objects. Even while digging, you can just dump your dirt anywhere outside the marked digging spot and there’s no penalty for it and you won’t have to move it later.

Driving takes time, but for another fee you can fast travel between known places. Originally the streets were packed with traffic, but luckily the developer gave us the option to turn traffic off altogether, or minimize it. You can also get in trouble and fined for traffic violations like running red lights, but luckily this can also be turned off. I’m here to take money from the city, not to keep paying them for speeding and running red lights.

Construction Simulator Review – The Equipment

All of these projects in Construction Simulator will require you to use machines of some sort, and the game really shines in this area. There over eighty different pieces of equipment available to you to rent or purchase, all of which are highly detailed, and each with a detailed cockpit view. There are machines from eighteen different manufacturers, with names like Bell, CAT, Case, Doosan, Wackerneuson, and more to choose from. Personally, checking each piece out in the showroom is a must before buying them for me. You don’t have to do that, but why wouldn’t you?

While you are still early in the game, cash might be scarce and you can either take out a loan, or just rent equipment as needed. I rented most of my equipment to start with, but bought a few essentials as soon as possible. Each major site will need a crane so that was one of my first purchases. Operating the machinery is also fairly simple, with the exception of more advanced machinery like the Rotary Drilling Rig. Each machine has a quick guide to show you how to use them, though, so nothing is too hard to use.

If you have multiple vehicles on a worksite, and need to switch between them quickly, the game has a quickswap feature that is a genius addition. For example, when working with a concrete pump truck, your concrete mixer truck will run out and you’ll need to refill it. With the quickswap feature, you can switch between vehicles, hit the refill button, restart the flow of mud, and switch back to your pumping wand without ever touching the ground, saving you valuable time.

Construction Simulator Review – Wonky Camera

My biggest complaint is the camera. While operating a crane, the camera view can get turned around and your controls become backwards. You can change the camera back with a click of L3 and the right analog stick, but it still can be a pain when moving things long distances across a worksite. Same thing goes for using a concrete pump truck when the pump arm is extended. The camera angles can get really wonky and can make the pump extension hard to maneuver. You just have to remember to click L3 and reset it.

 

Construction Simulator Review – Co-op Construction

You wouldn’t normally think about multiplayer with a game like Construction Simulator, but certain jobs require it. Road resurfacing is a big job and when you’re milling off the old surface, you need some help from a friend (or stranger if no one you know owns the game). Your friend needs to jump in a dump truck and slowly drive in front of you as you grind off the old pavement and send it up the conveyor belt to drop in the back of their truck. You can even pay them for their time in the finance menu of the game by transferring money to them out of your business account. They can also help out with other jobs on your worksite like concrete pouring/pumping, dirt work with a dozer, maybe even using an excavator to dig a ditch. You can also join their game and help them out.

Construction Simulator Review – RPG Elements

As you play through Construction Simulator, you’ll earn experience points and rank up. As you reach new levels in ranking you’ll also unlock skill points. These skill points can then be spent on upgrading different skills that will benefit you in the long run. You can make your digging quicker, your concrete pouring smoother and faster, make your crane quicker and easier to use, or even make more money on jobs. This adds some depth to a pretty simple system.

Simulators like this aren’t for everybody, and they also require patience and attention to detail. With that being said, my inner six year old found Construction Simulator fun and relaxing. The only thing missing is a fancy heavy machinery controller.

8


Construction Simulator review code provided by publisher and played on a PS4 and a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean