Do you want to release that inner child and have a go at driving some diggers and dumpers? Well, thanks to Construction Simulator 3 you can do just that! Developed by weltenbauer. Software Entwicklung GmbH and published by, easier to pronounce, Astragon, it is out now on Playstation and Xbox with a release later on this year for Nintendo Switch. Priced at just £11.99 on the Playstation store, is this a bargain game to occupy you while you stay at home?
As the game title suggests, this is the third edition of the fairly successful Constructor Simulator franchise that began back in 2014. Where the last game was based in the USA, Construction Simulator 3 takes you back to Europe, and as you can guess from the name of the developer, Germany to be precise.
You begin the game with a simple flatbed truck complete with a hi-ab crane and initiate the tutorial that lets you build up the basics. The backstory is that you have been taken on to help build a construction company up from pretty much scratch. You have a fairly large yard with warehouse buildings and this is where you begin.
Like many simulator games of this nature, you are set in a pretty large open-world town with roads, traffic light junctions and other vehicles roaming about as well as a builder merchant, a quarry and a vehicle hire/sale shop where you will later purchase machinery and offload/pickup materials.
You are set small tasks at first such as using the hi-ab crane to pick up pallets of bricks and transport it to a designated location. I really wasn’t sure how well this kind of game mechanic would work in a game, having never played any of the previous versions but I was left feeling pretty proud of myself! The controls were very self-explanatory and remained on the screen at all time as well as being guided if you got stuck. Each of the vehicles has two modes, one for driving and one for operating the machinery and yes you can even turn on the flashing lights to get that authentic construction vibe going!
Using the twin analogue sticks I managed to fairly easily manoeuvre the crane arm about with full control of the various hydraulic arms such as raising, lowering, extending, contracting, turning, etc. Yes at first it was a little bit tricky to get the hang of however there was a real sense of satisfaction and achievement when hooking the first pallet and loading it onto the back of the truck!
One thing I really liked was that it didn’t seem as finicky to play as some of the other sim games. A helpful indicator on the ground showed you what your hook was hovering above at all times so there was no guesswork. You did not have to be 100% millimetre perfect with the hook on the end of the crane for it to allow you to select the item to be hooked, loading items onto your flatbed was simple as a ghosted image would show you where it will go when you unload. That said, when it came to folding the hi-ab crane away I may have had a little hissy fit as I could not remember how it went! thankfully a ghosted image appeared once more to indicate where it should go and any part that is incorrect is highlighted in red. Once you have completed the folding away task once you then do have the option in future to simply reset the vehicle which will do it all for you so that you can drive away.
As you progress through the challenges you unlock new vehicles to play with, the awesome backhoe being the next one. Overall there are over 50 different licensed vehicles and machines from diggers and dumpers right through to road laying machines, giant static cranes, rollers and even a huge piling rig. Every machine allows you to play a tutorial should you want to get a basic overview of what you can do with it and can be either hired or purchased depending on funds.
Driving your vehicles across the 10km² town is good fun. At the beginning of the game you can opt to leave on traffic violations or turn them off. With them left on, any red light you drive through, collision you have or speed trap you set off gives you on the spot fines that are deducted immediately from your bank balance in the top left of the screen. Drive carefully, or turn them off and just go full crazy taxi, the choice is yours!
One concern I have with these types of games is camera angles. I know through playing farming sims that sometimes it can all go a bit wrong when orientating machinery about, however, you have a choice with Construction Sim 3 to free move the camera at any time as well as select specific angles including sitting in the cockpit, which on occasion is actually the easiest thing to do. It was all pretty fluid.
When you undertake a large contract you will require several vehicles to complete the task. You can switch between them very easily and even fast travel across town, sometimes for free or by paying a small fee. This becomes helpful when there is a lot to get done.
As you complete more contracts you earn more money which in return allows you to purchase better machinery for then undertaking more advanced types of work. There is also an RPG element attached where you can level up and spend the points on perks such as “Earn more money and experience.” to gain more benefits in future contracts. In total there are 70 missions to undertake!
I found Construction Simulator 3 looking pretty good. There is a lot of focus on the licensed machines which in turn has made them lovely and detailed. The town itself is aesthetically pleasing, but in no way photo-realistic, with trees, houses, birds flying about and it gives you a sense of a busy thriving place. The construction animations are ok, when digging and dragging your bucket through the ground an area will become exposed in stages but to be honest you find yourself more watching the bucket load indicator fill up than watching the hole open.
The roar of the engines and sheer power of the machinery sound throaty and awesome when both taking to the streets and performing tasks on your construction site. The ambience, on the rare moments that you are being quiet, is actually quite tranquil with birds in song and the distant chime of the church bell.
The initial tutorial alone is a couple of hours long and then after that the contracts are very varied which serves to keep your attention span for a long time. There is also a strange feeling of calm when playing and I really needed this right now!
Construction Simulator 3 certainly unlocked my inner child and I loved it. I felt a real sense of achievement when playing and this is something definitely needed by a game in order to keep your attention. Yes, there was the odd moment whereby I got the controls wrong, however, I didn’t need to pause the game and check the controller layout every time as I could look on the screen and see where I was manoeuvering my analog sticks to then perform the function properly. With so many contracts to undertake, vehicles to purchase and skills to unlock this is a perfect game to relax to.
I award Construction Simulator 3 the Thumb Culture Gold award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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