SteamWorld Build Hands-on Preview – Robot capitalism at its finest

Posted on November 7, 2023

When a planet is becoming inhospitable, it’s time to get out as soon as possible. That’s the premise of SteamWorld Build, as a robot society becomes painfully aware that their planet is dying. Fortunately, a mechanical core offers a solution; dig up old-world technology and fly to another star. Build a thriving town to gain the resources necessary for your underground mining operations, but be careful, as danger lurks the deeper you dig.

Even if the world is going to end, you must make money to fund your operations. Build residential buildings for robot workers, making them harvest resources and pay taxes. Keep your robots happy while you fund underground expeditions to dig up rocket parts. But don’t get too dig-happy, as threats lie hidden beneath the earth, waiting to ruin everything.

In SteamWorld Build, balancing city management while digging underground is difficult. Your robots have needs that you must satisfy or they won’t work. Flying into space requires more advanced robots with even more needs, which forces you to dig further underground. Your miners need help and you must supply them with quality gear to dig through obstacles.

Finding the right balance is challenging in a good way, like a lesson in proper capitalism. As tempting as it is to recklessly expand, it drives up costs and makes the future more complicated. Focus too much on mining and you never get enough resources to leave the planet. Your workers have needs that must be satisfied or they refuse to work. But if you focus too much on addressing worker needs, you run up debts that you can’t pay off. You can’t be too greedy or selfish and must find a good balance. That’s how you achieve goals and prosperity for everyone.

You have five different maps to explore and three difficulty levels to challenge yourself once you are comfortable. Each map gives you a different experience which changes how you approach your town building and mining operations. It’s great to experience the full extent of the surprises that each map offers. Instead of being complacent, you must deal with situations that can quickly spiral out of control. All it takes is thinking you can handle a threat before you lose your entire mining operation.

SteamWorld Build is not an easy game and will force you to think of the big picture. How you lay out your town is just as important as what you put in it. Wasting valuable resources and believing that you can get them back is a dangerous mindset. Doing the bare minimum is also risky because it’s not possible to win without expanding. Fortunately not all mistakes are fatal and you can always come back from accidental overspending. As long as you don’t provoke the underground wildlife without a plan, there are few unwinnable situations.

SteamWorld Build will be available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4/5, Xbox One and Series X|S consoles on December 2nd 2023.