Like an onion, or a baklava, SteamWorld Construct has layers. What at first looks like a fairly simple metropolis builder simply retains increasing and opening up as you play. After 4 hours with an early preview construct, I am nonetheless left questioning precisely how deep this rabbit gap goes.

A part of the numerous and steadily wonderful SteamWorld sequence, Construct is the primary entry to not be developed by the unique workforce at Picture & Type—however with its cute, steam-powered robotic protagonists and artistic style experimentation, it matches effortlessly into the canon.

(Picture credit score: Thunderful Growth)

You are charged, as you’d count on, with constructing a metropolis—not only for robots to dwell in, however to assist the larger mission of discovering historic know-how buried beneath the earth. The purpose is to search out sufficient components to construct a rocket ship and escape the planet, although why precisely your steel friends are so eager to go away, I am unsure. It appears fairly good round right here to me. 

The fundamentals of constructing are quite simple—you plonk down homes to get staff, after which join these homes to numerous providers to make them comfortable. These providers require their very own assets, with easy manufacturing chains to handle—harvesting wooden with one constructing to refine it into charcoal with one other, for instance.

Blissful homes entice extra staff, and as soon as maxed out, they are often upgraded to a unique sort—first engineers, then aristocrats, then scientists. Importantly, although, these employee upgrades aren’t merely higher—larger tier robots unlock entry to new buildings and assets, however they will not work at your present ones, making certain you all the time must hold a stability in your inhabitants. 

(Picture credit score: Thunderful Growth)

Down right here, issues work otherwise—it is a Dungeon Keeper-esque administration sim.

However that is simply what’s occurring above floor. Early on within the game, you unlock a mine—a full underground map you may change to at any time. Effectively, you have to do some digging if you wish to discover that historic tech, right? Down right here, issues work otherwise—it is a Dungeon Keeper-esque administration sim where you dig out rooms moderately than plonk down buildings, and discover searching for uncommon assets and treasures. 

It is a splendidly intelligent trick, mainly providing you with two linked video games to play concurrently. Preserving all of your plates spinning in each locations ensures you by no means run into that boring state of merely ready for brand spanking new assets to roll in—there’s all the time one thing to be twiddling with, whether or not it is rearranging your residential district above, or sending your miners searching for a hidden door change beneath. Although the 2 layers work fairly otherwise, they’re cleverly related—assets discovered underground are despatched as much as town to gas additional growth, permitting you to create factories and refineries that produce components that you must hold mining additional out. 

However simply as I am beginning to assume I’ve received each layers operating in concord… I uncover one other mine shaft underground, resulting in a fair deeper stage. It seems that, like SteamWorld Dig, Construct is predicated round descending ever additional by way of underground biomes, and I’ve simply shovelled my means down into the mushroom-infested swamplands. 

Pest management

(Picture credit score: Thunderful Developments)

Instantly I am in the course of a tower defence sequence, with swarms of bugs throwing themselves at my miners.

Not solely am I now operating three layers of settlement concurrently, however this new biome has its personal distinct challenges. Together with its distinctive new assets, it is also infested with insect-like enemies, and instantly for the primary time my bots are drawn into full-on battles. Fights are automated, any guards you have recruited scurrying wherever they’re wanted, however you may place numerous turrets and defences to hold key areas protected. Once I begin attempting to excavate the world’s historic tech, instantly I am in the course of a tower defence sequence, with swarms of bugs throwing themselves at my miners as grenade turrets and flame traps pop off throughout them. 

All of the whereas, my metropolis’s financial system grows larger and extra advanced, and I am having to handle a buying and selling system through a frequently arriving practice to verify I am clearing out considerable assets and shopping for up rarer ones. Found know-how might be slotted in to buildings to grant them highly effective bonuses, however it’s uncommon sufficient to make each selection tough—do I would like to hurry up my sheet steel manufacturing so I can construct underground bridges for my miners, or wouldn’t it make extra sense to get purified water flowing sooner so I could make extra staff comfortable? 

(Picture credit score: Thunderful Growth)

Evidently, as I am experimenting to search out the solutions to questions like these, I uncover one other mine shaft—there’s one more stage to discover… Given I am lower than 4 hours in, I’ve to imagine there are then many extra beneath that, every including much more moving components to the Rube Goldberg machine that’s my settlement.

It positively teeters on the sting of changing into overwhelming, however the game does an ideal job of preserving issues accessible and clear, and the implications of one thing going mistaken are delicate sufficient to make sure that issues by no means get too annoying. What all these layers do is guarantee which you could’t relaxation in your laurels—there’s all the time one thing new to do, and a complete handful of tasks to work on, and if one a part of your metropolis appears to have peaked for the second, that is simply your cue to return to messing with one other. 

If it is something like earlier SteamWorld video games, Construct most likely is not tremendous lengthy—however given all I’ve found in simply 4 hours, I can not wait to see what surprises it nonetheless has in retailer for me deeper within the earth. There is a extra restricted demo out now if you wish to test it out for your self—however consider me after I say, it solely scratches the floor.