Originally released 20 years ago on P.C, I was a bright eyed 16 year old on a random trip into my local town and noticed Constructor on my local game store shelf (with an awesome free orange flashing light). Constructor became one of my first solo purchases as a young adult and soon captured my imagination.
Over the last twenty years, there’s not been anything quite like the humour and people management of Constructor especially on home consoles, Sim City was on a much larger scale and while Cities Skyline etc, brought a little more about the individual tenants, there wasn’t quite the same direction of building pawn shops, mob hideouts and getting your friendly neighbourhood mobster to take down your competitors estates.
Constructor allows exactly that and while it can feel a little tough to get to grips with, after a few games you’ll soon be throwing up the initial houses to unlock the cement and brick yards which is where the heart of Constructor beats the fastest.
Cockroaches infesting your properties, hippies protesting outside your factory brick yard bringing production to a standstill, there’s always a way to succeed even if it means roughing up anyone stood in your way.
Constructor (2017) is a very close representation of the 1997 hit, graphically there’s been a major high definition upgrade, but the core gameplay still feels very similar, controls on the game pad are well laid out, with a few shoulder / face-button combo’s worth remembering for shortcuts to certain screens, but all shortcuts are clearly shown on screen, so before your slob tenants have too much chance to complain you can quickly agree to decorate their kitchen as they’ve requested and have a work-team round in a jiffy to finish off the work.
Your life in constructor will start off with a few low-life tenants and a handful of properties as you slowly climb the ranks from small time landlord to real estate tycoon.
You’ll get notifications of tasks required, such as decorating, a new fence or troublesome tenants that the council want removing. As you get more money and workers your quality of housing and tenants will start to improve, but they’ll also need amenities such as a park, school, police station or hospital.
Creating a police HQ will help keep the peace, but sometimes you’ll need to go beyond the law and consider a Mob HQ, because once you’ve got to grips with the game you’ll realise you’re own tenants are only half of the problem, in each game you’ll have up to 3 other opponents each trying to buy up land and expand their own real estate portfolio, send round a few friends to sabotage an opponents work, or speak to your gangster friends about helping some opposition workers have an unfortunate accident, and there’s far deeper game-play than first meets the eye.
The packed main menu gives you numerous options for gameplay but you’ll want to start off looking at the play guides which outline the undesirables, such as the mobsters, a killer clown who has a tendency to set things on fire and the thief who can help out by stealing resources and weapons from enemy teams. The Tutorial goes on to explain the basics and with a pretty steep learning curve everyone would be best taking a good look at these two areas.
Once you’re up to speed, you’ll be able to make a start on your new tycoon. Play Game allows you to start off a custom game, with 6 scenario’s to choose from and 7 locations, there’s plenty of opportunity for testing the AI’s building prowess, but Designer provides even greater choice for creating a game which can then be used online in Multiplayer for the ultimate test against other players who are equally as eager to rise to the top by any means necessary,
Thankfully there’s also the option to play with friends, for a more peaceful outing, but as I found out, this might only last until they have an army of psycho’s knocking on your door.
Constructor continues the tongue-in-cheek humour found in the original 20 years ago, with many of the same characters and lines re-skinned and re-sampled for the 2017 release, I’m personally over the moon to find so much of the original game in tact, and especially on console there’s nothing else quite like Constructor available, with only Cities: Skylines coming close and more than enough space for the two in any collection.
Graphically there’s more than enough detail to know exactly what you’re doing and navigation is mostly simple and straight forward, with only character selection ever presenting much of a problem, when your foreman is stood surrounded by his workers and I would occasionally take a few seconds to select the foreman.
Overall though, both Graphics and Sound are on par, and bring Constructor neatly in to the 21st century, some might complain that more could have been done, but it’s great to see the core of the game remains unchanged, meaning anyone who played the original is in for a large slice of nostalgic pie.
Bottom Line :
Constructor is a deep and engrossing game that isn’t perfect, disappointing 20 years after it’s original release. It’s still a fantastic recreation of he original which will take some getting used to, but prove equally rewarding for those who are happy to invest the time into it.
Gameplay : 7
Graphics : 7
Sound : 7
Story : 6.5
Value : 7.5
Overall : 7 / 10