SteamWorld Build from The Station and Thunderful is the latest entry in the long-running series, now going for a bit of a city-building/dungeon exploration experience. Check our SteamWorld Build review!
SteamWorld Build from The Station and Thunderful is the latest entry in the long-running series, now going for a bit of a city building/dungeon exploration experience. You’ll start your quest as Jack Clutchsprocket and his daughter, Astrid Clutchsprocket. Jack found a huge glowing robotic eye – known as the Core – that tells them about how long ago a great hoard of ancient technology was buried deep, deep below the earth. Your task will be to enter the mineshaft to find the resources needed to build a city so that you can research and upgrade your technology to reach for the stars. The planet is falling apart, and building a rocket is the only way you can survive.
The first step on your journey will be to select a destination, name your city, and choose the difficulty setting. You can travel to Giddyup Gore, Highroller Dunes, Grand Gully, Tumbleton, and Fossil Park. Your city can have whatever name you can come up with. As for the difficulty, you can choose between Sandbox, Casual, Balanced, or Difficult, depending on how challenging you want things to be on your end. Sandbox will provide you with a relaxing experience, with unlimited building resources for a much easier time – and no, you can’t earn trophies while playing in Sandbox!
Next up is Casual. As the name suggests, it will give you a smoother journey with resources that are plentiful, lower costs, and enemies that are easier to defeat. If you go with the Balanced difficulty setting, then you will be experiencing the standard SteamWorld Build adventure with a challenge that is not going to feel overwhelming. The last option is Difficult. This one is reserved for when you’ve managed to get some experience with the game since resources will need to be carefully managed as you take on more aggressive – and numerous – enemies that will punish you for any mistakes you make.
As mentioned before, the game is split into two different experiences: city building and dungeon exploration. You’ll start with the city building part as you move the camera around with the left and right analog sticks, zooming in and out as needed by using the L2 and R2 buttons. You will have a toolbar at the bottom of the screen, which you can navigate by using the D-Pad. Thanks to the toolbar, you’ll be able to get started building up the city that you need.
By pressing the Square button, you’ll switch to World Select mode, which allows you to have a cursor on the screen to click on buildings, objects, or bots. Your workers will need somewhere to live, so crafting a residential building for workers is a good step in the right direction. All of your buildings should be connected by a road, or else bots won’t be able to get from point A to point B and do their job properly!
And if you want to keep your workers happy, you’re also going to have to build a general store for them! A general store will provide your workers with the service they need by supplying general goods to cover their basic needs. You can check and click on the residentials you built to get some extra information. This way, you can confirm if your workers’ needs are being met, see their satisfaction level, review the revenue they can generate, and see how many workers are currently living in the building. Satisfaction is very important since once it reaches 100%, you’ll be able to upgrade a building as long as you’ve unlocked the next tier for that citizen type.
But before you can even work on that, you’ll first need to obtain the resources needed to carry on with your quest! You’ll have to build a forester to chop down trees in the area. You’ll also need a warehouse where you can store resources so that they’re distributed throughout the city. You’ll also need to process resources for specific tasks. For example, the wood obtained by the forester and placed in the warehouse can be processed with a lumber mill to produce boards. Water is also needed, and for that, you’ll have to build a cactus farm… once you have enough workers in the city! This is why it’s important that you also build a service shop so that your bots can be repaired if needed!
Know what else steambots need to keep going? Charcoal! You can’t have steam without burning some charcoal, so you should definitely build a charcoal kiln as soon as possible. By doing this, workers will be able to turn wood into coal so that all steambots can have a good energy source. You’ll soon be working on upgrading residentials for workers into residentials for engineers, which will bring you one step closer to completing your main task before it’s too late.
And what does the dungeon crawling segment have in store for you? Once you’re able to go down into the mineshaft after repairing it, you will need to set up some quarters for your miners to start digging so that they can find some of the lost equipment that has been buried deep in the mine. Due to the planet’s instability, it’s dangerous to dig deeper without first setting up some safety measures for miners. This is why you’ll need to set up some pillars to keep the whole thing from collapsing.
Miners are good for digging through regular blocks, but for scraps, which are a must if you want to upgrade your city and continue growing, you’re going to have to build some quarters for prospectors! They will be the ones in charge of digging through scraps veins… until you manage to build a workshop underground and can build scrap extractors, which will automatize the job. Your next step will be to build quarters for mechanics, who will install and repair machines, which means they can revive any downed steambots!
The further you explore in the mine, the deeper you’ll be able to travel. There are two ancient pieces of the rocket on each floor, so if you want to find all six, then you’ll have to continue working hard and collecting as many resources as possible. Unfortunately, going deeper does mean you’ll run into enemies that will try to destroy your steambots! This is why you’ll need to build some quarters for guards so that they can keep an eye out for everyone to make sure all bots remain safe. You’ll also need guards to open doors leading deeper into the mine, so be sure to hire as many as possible.
As you explore the mine, you’ll find small and large treasure chests. Many of them will be a bit out of reach at first, which means you’ll first have to dig your way to them, as well as build 6bridges over gaps. Once you click on a treasure chest, you can be rewarded with a gold nugget, rubies, or items. Gold nuggets are needed – along with other resources – to hire more steambots when underground. Rubies are needed for buying items from the merchant at the train station.
These items can be equipped to underground settlements to add bonuses, such as being able to recruit more units, or adding special abilities, like making miners X% faster, giving mechanics a chance to heal more steambots, or even giving guards more powerful weapons, such as flamethrowers! Other items can be equipped to buildings on the surface. You could boost how many items can be stored at a warehouse, increase a building’s production, or lower how many of a specific type of steambots are needed to get the job done.
And now, let’s talk about the trophies! This one has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. And since it’s a Cross-Buy title, if you own a PlayStation 5, you’ll be able to download the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost. The trophy list is split into 12 Bronze trophies, 11 Silver trophies, and 5 Gold trophies. Since it’s a long list, there are many objectives for you to complete. These include repairing the mineshaft, having 20 items slotted into buildings or quarters, reaching the different tiers in the game’s citizen progression, opening 50 chests across all playthroughs, buying something from the store, completing a trade at the train station, building every machine, building 100 decorations across all playthroughs, chopping down 50,000 trees, or clicking 100 tumbleweeds, to name some examples.
Given its mix of the city building and dungeon crawling genres, as well as having a PC counterpart, I knew something might be off for this game, which usually happens for many PC to console ports, and I was right: the font size used in the game is too small. And since there’s a lot of information for you to process, as well as many things to juggle at the same time, having text that is sometimes too small to reach is far from ideal. Hopefully this is something that can be patched soon since it’s the one complaint I have about the game.
The SteamWorld series started back in 2010 with SteamWorld Tower Defense, which, as its name suggests, was a tower defense experience. Other than SteamWorld Dig getting a sequel, each game in the series has given us a different genre to experience. From tower defense to 2D digging Metroidvania to turn-based strategy to RPG deck-builder, the franchise keeps going strong, and SteamWorld Build is certainly a worthy addition to the list with its city management/dungeon exploration combo. The game offers a very addictive gameplay loop as you try to move deeper and deeper into the mineshaft while keeping the city going as you aim to meet its citizens’ needs. SteamWorld Build is out on December 1st as a Cross-Buy title, so your $29.99 purchase will allow you to download both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.
This SteamWorld Build review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Thunderful.