Simulator games have risen in popularity for a number of years now. No longer do you need to pick up a technical manual alongside your new game – low impact job sims let you dive straight into a new life.
Construction Simulator 2 US – Console Edition (catchy name), is brought to us by Astragon Entertainment and Weltenbauer. SE, and is the first of their popular Construction Simulator series to be ported across to consoles.
Last year saw a Playstation 4 and Xbox One release, which Thumb Culture awarded a Silver medal (click here for that review). So now the games finally ported to the Nintendo Switch, how’s the build?
Construction Simulator 2 is very much what it says on the box. You start-up a company, and after completing a quick tutorial, it’s your goal to become a titan of the industry.
In order to do so, you’ll be completing contracts which range from small deliveries, to building bridges and shopping malls. Each job you take on is broken down into smaller, manageable chunks, mirroring the basic steps to building in real life.
But herein lies the problem. The game focuses on having you control everything, and as a result, everything is basic and similar. Mission variety is limited, and contracts get repetitive quickly.
As you complete contracts, you’ll earn money and XP. Ranking up allows you to move into new areas, which, for the most part, means you’ll be building bigger things. However, building doesn’t feel any different. Machines are bigger, there are more floors to the house, but the game doesn’t offer any greater challenge. You just have more concrete to pour, or bigger holes to dig. The further into the game I progressed, the more tedious things became.
Controlling the game is frustrating and things certainly suffer more in later contracts. There is a noticeable lag with your inputs, and Construction Simulator 2 doesn’t offer the finesse you want.
Camera controls add annoyance as you have to switch between controlling your vehicle’s function or the camera. This is somewhat elevated in handheld mode as you can use the touch screen, but it never feels smooth or intuitive.
Construction Simulator 2 is a mobile port of an older game, and it shows. The graphics are functional but basic.
The game is set in an open world, but, thanks to its short draw distance, even sitting atop a crane you’ll never be impressed by the views. Textures are flat, and the polygon count is low. I also experienced inconsistent frame rates (whether playing docked or in handheld) and constant objects popping-in.
Menus are clean and simple, but they’re clearly the same menus present in the mobile game. Little things, such as the mobile inputs remaining present in your UI, show that Construction Simulator 2 hasn’t been adapted to take advantage of a console.
It all adds to the feeling this was a rushed job. As much as the title states console edition, you’ll remain very aware you’re playing a mobile port.
Much like the graphics, sounds are basic, and fail to leave any impression – good or bad.
Vehicles all sound like the thing they’re supposed to, but carry little weight, and different brands or models of machines sound the same. Throughout your time, you’ll hear the same royalty free tunes playing, which, whilst boring, did have me reminiscing over the educational videos I had to watch in Geography classes.
Construction Simulator 2 offers over 60 different jobs to complete, along with a wealth of machines to purchase, and even has 125 hidden medals to find.
Of the missions, you’ll find yourself excavating, laying pipes, gardening, operating cranes, and paving along the way. Later missions are a genuine time sink, and it’s easy to find yourself taking towards an hour to complete a single job. But there’s also a surprising lack of anything else to do.
You get a regular financial report, but you don’t negotiate any contracts, have any time restrictions, or people management.
I never once need to use the in the game bank for a loan, or had a tough time choosing where to invest my skill points (yes, this game even has a skill tree). Whilst the lack of challenge meant it’s easy to play on a lazy day, the game doesn’t hold your attention.
The foundation of Construction Simulator 2 is solid, and there’s an enjoyment to be found in the simple, repetitive nature of the game. And at £17.99, there is a lot of content packed in.
However, the game suffers from a lack of ambition. Of the many missions, there’s limited variety. There’s no real management of your company, and no challenge to keep things afloat.
Having a bigger scope, and a lot more polish to the game, it has the potential to be as beloved as a game like SimCity or Theme Park. However, as it stands, I can only recommend this to fans of the genre already. As such, I award Construction Simulator 2 US – Console Edition a Thumb Culture Bronze award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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