While many city-building strategy games have rivalry between builders, it's rarely as explicit--or as silly--as calling in a mafia favour to whack a gaffer, sending a ghost to haunt an estate, or unleashing yobs to terrorise residents by belching and tossing bins. Constructor earned a special place in my heart in 1997 with its eclectic take on city-building, and now it's fancier than ever in the newly-released Constructor Plus. Following 2017's straight remake, Constructor HD, Plus is now out as an expanded semi-sequel sorta thing. Yes, I think I would like to send giant mutant cockroaches to raid a rival's Martian domehomes.
Rather than sprawling cities, Constructor takes a closer view of building estates and keeping individual tenants happy. Upgrade and decorate homes, fiddle with rent, unlock tiers of better houses, whack down parks and hospitals... but all on a neighbourhood scale. At times I've gone to absurd lengths to keep rich and productive families happy, blowing up their neighbour's gnomes and shifting important industries far away. Or one particular house would be a thorn in my side, its unruly residents upsetting the rest of the block. It's a scale where a game-winning play might be sending a dodgy plumber to trash the bathroom of a rival's prized tenants at just the right time to flood and ruin a vital block. Good, that.
Constructor is fighty too. Your builders can rough up their lads and maybe take over properties, special "undesirable" folks including a fence-chainsawing psycho and a fire-starting clown mess with their properties and residents, and some will just straight-up murder folks.
It is: weird. 22 years after first playing Constructor, I still struggle to concisely explain what it is. "It's a real-time strategy game about building English estates and keeping tenants content while fighting rival builders?" I don't know. That is: nice.
Constructor Plus is that plus newness. It brings new buildings including skyscrapers and casinos, new undesirables, maps set in new locations including the Moon and Mars, new monuments, new items, and so on. Along with ye olde sandboxe mode, it also packs sixty-odd scenarios starting us with existent towns and distinct goals, so we don't always have to start from scratch.
Made by System 3, Constructor Plus is out now on Steam for £19.49/€19.99/$19.99 (oof, rough exchange rates). Folks who own Constructor HD can get Constructor Plus half-price through this Loyalty Discount bundle thing.
I... will be buying this and muttering the Thief's lines to myself once more. His mockney "Awright my son, yeahhh" is etched into my brain.
Here's a trailer from Constructor Plus's Switch launch earlier this year: