image 2023 12 04T041711.786

SteamWorld Build: Review

When I first jumped into the world of SteamWorld Build, I was ready for another standout game from the folks who brought us the delightful SteamWorld series. Known for tossing together different kinds of games under one big story umbrella, this time around, they’ve handed us a mix of city-building and mining adventure that’s part old western, part robot hustle.

Starting off, SteamWorld Build had me smiling at its quirky design and simple-to-grasp game rules. The game is like a friendly handshake that says, “Hey, don’t worry if you’ve never managed a town or dug for treasure before – I got you.”

Setting Up Shop in the Wild Robot West


The game begins with a pretty straightforward task: I’ve got a bunch of robot settlers, they need a place to call home near this big, old mine, and it’s up to me to build it from the ground up. Cue the classic city-builder setup – I’ve got to balance gathering resources like wood and coal with making sure my robot friends have homes and shops to keep them happy. I loved starting from scratch, laying down roads, and watching my little bot town come to life with places like a store for spare parts and a spot to grab some oil to drink.

The tutorial did a solid job of holding my hand as I learned the ropes. The controls are smooth, whether you’re using a gamepad or a keyboard with a mouse, and with a few clicks, I had houses popping up and trees coming down.

And can we talk about the charm? The game oozes it, from the cowboy hat-wearing robots to the western-themed music that had my foot tapping as I planned out my next move.

Digging Deeper – Literally and Figuratively


At first, things feel well-balanced. SteamWorld Build isn’t a deep dive into city management, which means no headache-inducing tax charts or noisy neighbors complaining about traffic. As long as buildings are hooked up by roads to the central station, they tick along nicely.

But it’s not just about slapping down buildings and calling it a day. The game has a puzzle-like twist where keeping your robots running smoothly is the real goal. The needs of the robots get more complex as your town grows, and juggling everything becomes a fun challenge. Basic workers need basic stuff – a wrench here, some oil there. Upgrade them to engineers, though, and suddenly they want parks and hats (seriously, hats) to keep their gears grinding happily.

Getting to the goal – building rocket parts to blast off the planet – pushes you to keep expanding and advancing your bots. It makes for a game that’s peppy and engaging, at least at first.

Underneath the town is where the real action happens. It’s here in the mines that the game shows off its hybrid style. I found myself swapping between playing mayor on the surface to dungeon master underground, telling my bots where to dig and setting up defenses against critters. It was a fun change of pace and made sure the city-building part didn’t hog all the limelight.

Trouble in Robo Paradise


The good times keep rolling until you hit the last part of the game. And let me tell you, this is where the wheels start to wobble. To get off this dustball of a planet, I had to promote a few of my bots to scientists. Sounds cool, but they are needy, let me tell you. If they don’t have everything just right, they throw a fit, and suddenly my grand city plan hits a wall.

I’m all for a challenge, but this felt like a different game. What was once a fun, flexible city-builder turned into a wait-it-out grind. My slick moves and smart town setups didn’t count for much if the scientists weren’t 100% happy all the time.

And about that story – there isn’t much of one. Sure, SteamWorld Build tosses in a few nods to what’s happened in past games, which is a treat for fans, but there are no big moments or characters that grabbed me. It felt like they gave just enough story to get the game moving and then forgot about it.

The Final Stretch

After those last, grueling hours, seeing the credits roll is a mix of relief and pride. And there’s a glint of replay value too. Each map can toss new perks your way once you finish them, which could make starting fresh a bit more tempting.

If you’re big into games like Cities: Skylines, the simplicity of SteamWorld Build might not be for you. It lacks the disasters and deep strategy you might be used to. But it’s not aiming to compete with those heavy hitters; it’s in a quirky league of its own.

Zooming into my little robo-town never got old. The animations are top-notch, and playing city planner without the fear of messing it all up – thanks to the handy move tool – is genuinely fun. There’s something satisfying about tweaking the town here and there, watching your bot citizens get on with their lives, and knowing you’re keeping them tick tocking along.



SteamWorld Build is a game I wanted to love from start to finish. It has that same special sauce that made other games in the series so endearing. And for a while, it delivered. It’s an accessible, pleasant blend of genres with a dash of that charismatic SteamWorld vibe.

But then it hit me with a curveball that slowed the fun to a crawl. It’s a shame because, for the most part, building up my steambot town and managing my underground mining ops was a blast. It’s hard not to love guiding these little metallic pioneers, feeding their appetite for growth, and watching as my once-empty plot of land turns into a thriving community.

Still, if you’re up for a light, inviting city-builder and don’t mind a bit of a slog at the end, give SteamWorld Build a whirl. Just be ready to dole out plenty of hats to keep those high-maintenance bot citizens happy.

My final score: 7.8/10