construction simulator review a jcb digging

Construction Simulator (2022) review

When I first saw the trailer for Construction Simulator, I was torn: the part of me that loves simulator games was excited, but the part of me that has played far too many games was worried. I’m happy to report that if you’re curious about whether to play Construction Simulator, then you shouldn’t be. Construction Simulator is deep enough to please series veterans, but it has just the right amount of beginner mechanics for new players to easily get to grips with it.

See, the game runs you through a long tutorial before you get to unleash yourself on one of the two maps (Germany or US). You quickly learn that each vehicle has an easily accessible manual to understand how to operate it. It usually involves extending arms on a crane, explaining how to rotate said arm and pick up items, and how to drive it too. We won’t get bogged down in the details, but a quick thirty-second peruse of the manual will have you JCBing gravel in no time.

One of the greatest things about Construction Simulator is its open world that plays similarly to something like Farming Simulator. Once the tutorial is over, you start your own company, and that means buying and operating a fleet of construction vehicles too. You’re free to tackle jobs all over the map however you want, so it offers a lot of freedom in its approach.

construction simulator revierw a truck being loaded

The game really comes alive in all of the small intricacies and mechanics that suck you into the world. For example, going into first person when driving a truck down the autobahn makes you feel like you’re playing Euro Truck Simulator, shipping around gravel in a flatbed truck smacks of Farming Simulator, and walking around on foot and being in full control of your character is like being on patrol in Police simulator.

It, therefore, takes the best parts of all of these brilliant simulators and puts them into one fantastic package with its own unique twist: a world that actually feels real. In the games of its peers, something is always a bit off. Traffic moves just a tad strange, or maybe the graphics are a bit too two-dimensional. Construction Simulator had me gasping at how fantastic its dirt physics were; it had me shouting into Discord to tell a friend how I’d never seen gravel so clear and lifelike. It sounds bizarre, sure, but it’s true. From the car with the pounding stereo to just how realistic that knocked-over lamppost you pick up looks, Construction Simulator has an astonishingly crafted world for a niche simulator created by a small team.

Construction Simulator also has a bunch of quality-of-life features that stop “too much realism” fatigue from setting in. For example, when you’re done with your crane truck, you would normally have to close up the boards, swap modes, stow away the crane, and so on. Here, you can simply select the “reset” setting from a radial menu and it resets whatever vehicle you’re in to its default configuration.

construction simulator review a jcb loading a truck with gravel

It’s these small touches that stop the annoying niggles from other games from rearing their heads and making your experience less than stellar. Thankfully, that’s all taken care of in Construction Simulator and it’s one of the most beginner-friendly experiences of any simulator game.

For those who don’t want to play alone, there’s also a multiplayer mode that allows you to be joined by a friend with their own company for added shenanigans. So, if you’re co-op inclined, then this is a great game to pick up and work on something meaningful together while chatting until the early morning.

All in all, it’s hard to fault anything on offer in Construction Simulator. If it had a bigger budget, I’m sure the team could do something amazing, but it’s a niche simulator and you’ll find all the little quirks that come with that, like b-movie voice lines or poorly signposted activities like buying a vehicle. However, the fact that there are voice lines at all is a huge step forward for a game like this.

Genre fans will want to check out Construction Simulator as it’s a great experience from start to finish. Those with little knoweldge of the simulator genre will also find it one of the most welcoming experiences around and shouldn’t be put off. Yes, I know, it isn’t an overall 100% perfect affair, there is still quite a learning curve when it comes to what to do and where to go, but hey, it is a simulator after all.

Construction Simulator: Construction Simulator will please simulator-genre fans with its brilliant graphics and well-realised world, but it's also welcoming to newcomers with its easy tutorials and control systems. It lacks the overall polish of a AAA game, but what lies underneath is a surprisngly great game. Voxel Smash Staff

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