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Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Construction Simulator 2014 ($2.99 Universal) is a simulation game where you inherit your family’s construction company. Unfortunately you do not know much about the family business and need to get up to speed quickly in order to make enough money to expand.
You start out owning four basic vehicles: a deposit tipper for removing waste materials from construction sites, a small excavator for filling the tipper with waste material, a small flatbed truck for hauling and a forklift for loading. There are fourteen different vehicles in all and although that does not sound like a lot, you realize that the combination of different vehicles can accomplish quite a bit of work around town. Even though each vehicle operates a little differently, the on-screen controls are easy enough to get the hang of. Right from the start you learn that there are two basic modes to each type of equipment, driving and operating.
When driving, most of the traditional vehicles move forward and backward as well as right and left. These are your trucks, haulers and flatbeds. You can use the tilt controls if you like but I preferred to use the optional left and right sliders. Other vehicles like the forklift have the same type of control, but with the turning wheel is in the rear they maneuver quite differently and can rotate in place. Then there are the machines with two independently controlled tracks like the excavator. Learning how to drive each vehicle is an important skill to learn since you will also need to transport your equipment to each job site. If you do end up getting lost in town, each vehicle has a button to quickly return it directly to your business.
There are a series of tutorials to get you started. Each teach you the basics of operating the different types of machinery. The instructions are easy enough to understand. Fill a tipper with dirt from a site, haul a pallet of wood to a construction site, or even load a truck with the necessary materials for a job. Learning the controls of each machine in order to get various missions done around town takes more time to accomplish than one would think. While I am no expert at how each piece of heavy machinery works in real life, it does appear that the number of moving parts that you need to control accurately depict each type of equipment.
When traveling from job site to job site, there is a map with a sort of in-game GPS to help you learn your way around. Outside of town there is a factory, gravel pit and sawmill. In town there is a builder’s merchant where you pick up the material necessary for various types of construction, a harbor by the sea and of course your business. Getting around town takes a little getting use to at first, as it would learning you way around any new town you visit. The camera can be positioned in first or third person perspective when driving, and can even be manually controlled to give you a 360 perspective when you are stopped in one place. The map that you can look at when you need to will indicate the various landmarks around town as well as your current position.
As you start to take on some of the easier missions you will earn money that you can set aside to purchase additional equipment. Each new mission will involve more and more machines in order to complete. The larger equipment will of course command the right job prices. You have a bank account and will keep earning money that you can in turn spend on additional equipment as you expand the business. You can bankroll your operations through in app purchases as well.
There promises to be a Mac/PC version of the game coming soon that will incorporate all of the same job mechanics. If you are the type of person that can’t help but enjoy watching heavy machinery in the real world, or loved playing with your Tonka trucks as a child, then this weekend you are in for a treat as you can own and operate your own assortment of construction vehicles in the virtual world.