I do love the SteamWorld series of games. And the world they’re all set in. Of course I was going to get this, although my interest was slightly tempered by the fact it’s the first SteamWorld game not made by the core staff of the previous ones. Would that be OK?
I’m pleased to reveal, that yes. The style, humour and world have all come out unscathed. The references to other events in the series – particularly SteamWorld Dig 2 which this is a sort of side-story to – fit in and you wouldn’t actually know it wasn’t the same team unless you’d been told. Like I just did there.
Build is a two part game. Initially, it’s a city builder. You make houses and shops and facilities, and Steambots move in and populate the place. It’s very much SimCity 2000 only with robots and fewer things to take care of. Soon, you have to get into the second bit of the game, which is mining. Under the city are three layers of mine, each more dangerous than the last, where you send miners, engineers and guards to strip the area of resources and stop the evil creatures that lurk from destroying your robots and machinery.
The mining is further split into two sorts of game. There’s the expansion 4X-lite stuff, digging out more mine and developing new machines to gather different resources (as well as devices to shuttle those back to the surface more efficiently), but then there’s also a number of “hives”, which frequently spew out a stream of baddies and these bits are almost Tower Defence in nature. You have to make sure you’ve plenty of weapons set up to target them, and some engineers to repair the turrets (and your guard bots) if they get a bit eaten.
There’s a lot to juggle, nipping back and forth between the surface (to expand your population and unlock and develop new tools and buildings) and the mine, as well as keeping an eye on the needs of the residents and ensuring your factories don’t run out of the resources they need in order to make such mission-critical things as burgers and casinos.
The aim of the game is to build a spaceship then fill it with fuel. Parts for the ship are buried in the mine, digging them up triggers a wave of attacking baddiebots, and fuel – once you have enough scientists and the right buildings – can be refined from a resource. Complete this, and the ending of Dig 2 happens as you all escape into space.
It’s bloody great. So great, that I immediately started what is essentially New Game +, where I was rewarded with a buff from completing the game on one of the starter maps to use on another playthrough. Which I then also completed. And then, started a New Game ++. Yes, it’s that good.