Games of the Year

Constructor

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In a town where anything goes, you can’t rise to the top without taking a few others down. From dodgy deals to shifty tricks, do what you gotta do to go from small-time slumlord to filthy rich tycoon. In Constructor, you take on the role of a budding property tycoon who must do battle with your competitors to create a thriving and profitable city...in ANY way you see fit! Design and share city maps with online multiplayer battles against up to 3 of your friends. Build houses and factories; cope with the incessant demands of your tenants as well as keeping a whole bunch of UNDESIRABLE characters under control! This ‘colourful’ group of degenerates can also be used against the competition with humorous and catastrophic effect! If all else fails, call in the Mob…
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

If you're a fan of the original game, this remake is faithful to it and now in a good state developmentally. It makes some much-needed improvements without breaking the essential character and gameplay you remember. It's not without its flaws but is ultimately worth it.
Positives:
- Controls are better, for example you can now right click for context sensitive actions like foreman smashing a fence
- You can buy multiple tiers of a room upgrade at once without waiting for the previous one to finish, and room upgrades are now much faster
- No more delivery man bottleneck! Each item is delivered by its own person!
- Dog kennel is now available with cement instead of brick. This is a good change as it's too pivotal to rushh for it in the original. The dog is easier to kill now though to balance it out, so you can brute force through the dog if you need to.
- Combat balance is much better. Hippies are no longer practically indestructible
- Some UI shortcuts we needed are in. Like you can now click a button to send selected people to hospital and not just hq.
- There are story missions, and all game modes are accessible in all difficulties
- You can now auto-install tenants when they die in houses with the top tier kitchen
- There are tooltips and keyboard shortcuts for damn near everything, which certainly helps
- A lot of the original interactions and shortcuts etc are still there, like making nit groups with the F keys. The game felt immediately familiar even though the UI changes took a while to learn. It really is a faithful remake.
- The AI feels much improved. They now shoot your workers if they try to block a building site, and building AI is better.
- Undesirable actions have cooldowns now (much better!) and overpowered actions have been rebalanced. The thief now steals accumulated rent over the past few months, for example, so you can't have multiple thieves spamming theft to generate money but also a successful theft raises more money on average.
- New complaints and challenges. Cockroach infestations from poor bathroom levels and zombie outbreaks from lots of people dying, etc.
- Voices throughout, same kind of style as the original game and it adds some polish.
- Improved graphics, obviously
Negatives:
- The new building placement method feels awful and is impossible to control with a mouse.. Thankfully there is an option to use the old method
- Some of the new graphics take a while to get used to, all the characters look kind of alike and the empty plot graphics can be unpleasant.
- The tenant death sound effect is a woman crying, dear lord that needs removed.When an estate of tenants dies, you have to hear a woman crying for 20 seconds. I cannot overstate how awful this sound effect is, I am actively looking for a way to rip it out of the game before i keep playing.
- The text throughout the game is an unreadable mess. There are places where the text is so small you can't see it if you're far from the screen, places where there is white text on white background (seriously), and on every UI the font looks the wrong size. The choice of main font was very poor, all the letters squish together.
- The UI is awful, they made areas for text with hard colour gradients in them to make text harder to read and it looks cheap and low quality. The buttons and icons are not very good, you'll rely on the tooltips to see what everything does.
- The default options have the AI building only on their estates and some other things that are different from the original. Thankfully it can be changed, so explore the options menu before playing.
- The missions assume you know everything about how to play the game and go very hard very quickly. I would have liked them to start off with the basics of the different tenants and building and then have missions with undesirables and finally the story missions. Feels like a huge missed opportunity to do some smooth introduction that isn't a tutorial. The missions also have some weird issues that will leave you not sure how to proceed, and they actually disable tenant complaints which feels like a core mechanic. It's nice to have missions, but they could have been done a lot better.
- Some of the original AI quirks should have been improved.. The AI adds tenants instantly so you never get to use the squatting action from the hippy, and the AI still doesn't know how to repair water leaks or gas leaks from mr fixit so he's still very overpowered. It's also a bit more obvious that the AI is cheating in this version, like replacement workers appearing out of thin air and endless tenants.
- The whole concept of DLC buildings doesn't work for me. Since there are building limits in the game, that doesn't sit right with me.
Despite all of the negatives I listed there in detail, this is genuinely a much better version of the game than the original. The hope with a HD remake is always that you say you'll probably never go back to the original after, and I think that's the case for this one. There are so many small improvements but it's retained all of the original's core gameplay and charm.

Review from Steam

Constructor is a game I've always wanted to get into, infact I bought the DOS version on GOG probably around the time GOG itself launched, but with the original not having any tutorial and myself both not being able to parse a long manual or appreciate the nuance of the RTS genre back in those days, it always sort of spat me out every time I made the attempt. What Constructor 2017 does is it takes seemingly that exact same game, and makes it accessible with both a robust tutorial and series of training missions, and a great interface with easily-understood hotkeys.
The first important thing to understand with Constructor is that it looks like a City-Builder, but it's actually an RTS. Sure, that's a hazy distinction to make, after all, you do build a city, and City-Builders require strategy that unfolds in real-time, but SimCity this ain't. Constructor is competitive and aggressive. You're competing against other teams and send all kinds of troublemakers to mess with their cities, and murder is frequently the best option. I've found that games like SimCity or RollerCoaster Tycoon, while certainly absorbing and fantastic in their own right, can hit a point where it feels like things are kind of running themselves and you've "solved" the city. Constructor constantly throws new problems at you and you have to be really fast about addressing them. You have to be fast about building and leveling up to the next set of buildings and you have to stay on top of things 100% of the time. Juggling it all is a massive cognitive load, but it's deeply compelling and when you finally do get the upper hand it's incredibly satisfying.
While the game has a lot of moving parts, the systems work smoothly and the tutorial does a good job easing you in and making you understand how each part works. The hotkey interface lets you do things quickly and the game even plays really well with a controller which is fantastic for Steam Deck users (I "gamepad with mouse" config that emulates a regular gamepad but has the right trackpad as a mouse, and I mapped the pad click as a mouse click. I've been wanting a city/management/rts game that would play well on deck and this is the best so far. The only real interface gripe I have is it's hard to select only workers, since those are what you do your defense with, but they mainly follow around the noncombatant foremen. Still, that's minor and the game plays incredibly smoothly letting you focus on the strategy.
I lose a lot, but every go-around I learn something and realize where I went wrong, and that makes me eager to jump back in. Visually the game is great, it captures the look of a 90's isometric strategy game while still looking "HD" and that's a very fine balance to pull off. The visuals are colorful, but grimy enough to convey the generally seedy theme and I love the character designs and animations. The only true complaint I have about the game is that some of the mission requirements are occasionally a bit too vague or ambiguously worded, which can be bothersome, and some missions don't seem suited to respond if you do too well early on (one mission requires you to destroy a lot of buildings, but it's easy to destroy so many and ruin your enemy so badly that they can't aford to rebuild and you get stuck). This won't be an issue if you're playing a standard non-mission game and the missions are otherwise very fun, especially as you figure out what to do and start to be able to almost speedrun certain parts.
Constructor might not be for everyone, some folks might expect one thing and get something else, and it's an incredibly fast-paced and aggressive game, but it's constantly interesting, easy to understand, and smooth to play with a great sense of style. There is an updated version on Steam called Constructor Plus that adds some things and apparently has some quality-of-life improvements, but that's version's 20 dollars and this version is 3 dollars right now, and I just wanted to dip my toes in and see what Constructor is about before committing to a bigger, more expensive version, and since this game is so hardcore I'd say it's a good way to try without getting too committed. Suffice it to say I'm pretty enthralled with it so far and I imagine I'll get the Plus once I master the basics.

Review from Steam

The game still follows the original concept but adds details that make the experience feel like it's new game altogether.
Veterans picking up the game can still complete this in a cinch, but new players may need time to learn the ropes.
This is still a gem that deserves another play through all in all.

Review from Steam

You're a 90s kid who loved this game? This iteration is the same as the original you loved so much but completely revamped. Lovely graphics, no bugs whatsoever (that I have noticed) and it can even run on 10 year old integrated graphics computer like mine. Must buy 1990s/1990s

Review from Steam

Great on sale. The game is ancient, but it is charming in its own way. Good nostalgia.

Review from Steam

Marvellous and challenging game with intelligent humour straight from the 90s. Worth playing.

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