Is It Worth It To Buy Steamworld Build?

With an already impressive series of genre-crossing games, the Steamworld series continues its theme of unique, interconnected experiences with its latest series entry, Steamworld Build. Dripping with its trademark steampunk-inspired charm and enjoyable robot characters, the developers have crafted an accessible but complex experience.


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Steamworld Build: Every Mineshaft Floor, Ranked

It’s a game with narrative and sedimentary layers.

Is it worth investing your time and money in this city-building, dungeon-crawling fusion game? If you’re undecided, curious, or want to make sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of the game, we’ll breakdown Steamworld Build’s cost, how much time you’ll be spending on it, and give you some other players’ opinions to help you out.


Review

Jack Clutchsprocket and the Core having a conversation about the dangers below the ground in Steamworld Build.

Steamworld Build is a new take on the classic city-building genre, and can be summed up fairly well by the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race”. This well-crafted game has a brief but endearing narrative that packs a punch, and makes great use of introducing new gameplay mechanics over time to add to the challenge.

As highlighted in our review of Steamworld Build, the game starts off slowly and appears overly simple, but it gets increasingly complex as you progress through the game. The longer you play, the more you’ll unlock and the more difficult the game will get.

But with each new Milestone achieved, that complexity grew just a little bit larger. Now I had one more resource to figure out and one more production chain to establish. I had to be mindful not to steal the resources I was already using in previous chains.

I had unlocked new buildings for the underground, allowing me to progress the story and access new areas and resources, while the Steambots grew more and more picky. Before I knew it, I was on Milestone 15, with several haphazardly placed production chains and a sizable town built on duct tape and dreams.

Besides its city-building base, Steamworld Build also offers a more involved and in-depth way to obtain resources you need: the underground mines.

The Abandoned Mineshaft floors you’ll be excavating is not only a call back to two of the series’ prior entries, Steamworld Dig 1 and 2, but it introduces extra challenge and dungeon-crawling slash tower defense mechanics not often used in other city-building games.

You’ll spend just as much time above ground placing residences and buildings for different types of Steambots and managing their often-specific needs as you will underground, digging up resources and battling different hostile beings. Deep in the earth, there will be big, angry bugs and hostile bots to battle, mine instability that can cause cave-ins, and you’ve got to keep your Steambots underground well-equipped with shelter and items.

All of these mechanics and gameplay elements are deftly introduced via the unique Milestones system, which gradually introduces them as you build up your city by requiring certain amounts of a Steambot type to be in your city.

It also gives you simple but engaging tutorials, and if you need more information, the game’s handy Notebook section gives you more in-depth details while not shoving them in your face if you don’t want or need them.

Time Expenditure

Several conveyor belts bringing goods away near a t.rex skull in the ground in Dusty Caverns in Steamworld Build.

At the time of writing, Steamworld Build can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours for a first playthrough depending on your prior experience with city builders, how much exploring you want to do, and the mine layout you get.

Steamworld Build offers the choice between a pre-determined mine map or a randomized one.

If you’re looking to explore and find everything possible, you’re looking at a good 30 or 40 hours, and the game time can run even higher if you’re looking to obtain all 28 achievements. Steamworld Build also incentivizes playing through and completing each of the five maps, thanks to special unlockables called Landmark Buildings, so Build can exceed even Steamworld: Hand of Gilgamech’s game length.

Cost

Astrid talking to her father Jack Clutchsprocket and receiving his hat during the intro cutscene in Steamworld Build.

Steamworld Build is available on multiple consoles, including PC, Playstation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series S and X, and it’s priced at $26.99 for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.

Currently, Steamworld Build is also available via Xbox Game Pass. It can be played on Xbox, PC, or via the Cloud, depending on your Game Pass subscription.

For players on the Nintendo Switch and PS4/5, you’ll be getting a slight increase by three dollars for a total of $29.99. At the time of writing this article, there is no Deluxe Edition or any DLC or Expansions, and while there’s a chance of a small DLC like what prior Steamworld games have gotten, it’s unknown if they plan to do an expansion of any type at the time of this article.

What Players Are Saying

Starts Slow, But Never Stops – Branden Lizardi

At first, Steamworld Build is a slow burn of easy to follow rules and mechanics, which can feel a bit underwhelming. But the longer you play, the more the arsenal of buildings, resources, and Steambots stack and stack and stack, until you’re juggling numerous supply lines and production chains. If it starts to feel dull, just keep playing, it’ll pick up.

Satisfying, Stylish Fun – Ryan Bamsey

I’ve enjoyed the SteamUniverse for a long time now, and this game is no exception. This game is half city builder, half dungeon builder, with a heavy emphasis on production lines. Maximizing efficiency aboveground and dealing with non-threatening threats underground is a fun balancing act that never feels too stressful – it’s a finely-tuned, very aesthetically-pleasing experience.

An Easy, Interesting, And Creative City Builder РJes̼s Cruz

The City Building Simulator sub-genre is flooded with Cities: Skylines and SimCity lookalikes, and such a fresh game, both in theme and in premise, as it is Steamworld Build, was pretty needed. You never see a simulation game that puts so much effort on setting a story and explaining why you are building a city in the middle of the desert, and why you are finding strange beasts in the depths of gigantic caves.

Those details set the mood and give you an extra motivation to keep playing. Also, the game is pretty fun to play, easy to understand, and offers a fair challenge. You can pepper your experience by increasing the difficulty or by playing in different maps, which will force you to change your strategy and plan your city in different ways. In short, you’ll have to go through a lot until you get tired of Steamworld Build.

Next

Steamworld Build: Complete Guide

Here’s every step, from wood boards to rocket parts.

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