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The next SteamWorld game is a citybuilder, and there's a demo out right now

I think you're gonna dig it

The key art for SteamWorld Build, showing a western town above, and a mining operation below
Image credit: Thunderful

Thunderful have just unveiled the next game in their excellent SteamWorld series, and it's not the one we thought it was going to be. Third person action co-op adventure SteamWorld Headhunter was initially teased in November 2021, but Thunderful used their SteamWorld Telegraph: Special Broadcast this evening to talk about a very different kind of new SteamWorld game - and it looks rad as heck. It's a citybuilder, and (appropriately) it's called SteamWorld Build. I've played a bit of it already, and you can read more of my thoughts about it right here. Spoiler alert: it's a little bit good. If you just want the facts of what was announced, though, read on below.

Cover image for YouTube videoSteamWorld Build Announcement Trailer

Coming later this year in 2023 and developed by Thunderful studio The Station, SteamWorld Build is an intriguing twist on the classic SteamWorld Dig games. In Dig 1 and 2, for example, you played a robot who dug deep into the earth to find exciting treasures and old tech so you could return to the surface, upgrade your tools and dig further into the bedrock. The town above would often grow and develop in your absence, with new bots and shops rolling in as time went on, but it was more of a nice reward rather than anything you had direct control over. Well, in SteamWorld Build, you now get the best of both worlds, as you can now manage your growing robo-town above, while also issuing orders for your worker drones to dig for treasure below.

Thunderful describe it as Anno meets Dungeon Keeper, but there's also a hint of tower defence thrown into the mix as well, as you'll need to deal with lots of metal-chomping creatures lurking beneath the surface. You'll need to dig deep, too, as your ultimate goal is to find various different rocket parts so you can escape your ruined planet and head to the stars. Until then, though, you'll be building homes for your workers, cactus farms and service shops to keep them cool and oiled up, warehouses to store your goods, workshops to drill out tough minerals and much more.

It's very moreish, but don't just take my word for it. You can try a slice of SteamWorld Build for yourself right this very second if all that sounds like it's up your management game alley, as there's a demo that's just gone live on SteamWorld Build's Steam page to coincide with Valve's Base Builder Fest.

Plus, if you want to catch up on all the other games in Thunderful's SteamWorld series, there's also a SteamWorld sale on right now as well. My personal favs have always been Dig 2 and SteamWorld Heist if you're looking for absolute must-plays, but they're all top-tier adventures in their own right.

As for Headhunter and those other SteamWorld games we sort of but don't really know much about yet, we'll likely hear more about those later in the year, as SteamWorld Universe and franchise director Brjánn Sigurgeirsson said they'll be doing more of these SteamWorld Telegraph streams to chat all things SteamWorld at various points throughout 2023.

Until then, though, I'd strongly recommmend giving the SteamWorld Build demo a go yourself - available on Steam, GOG and the Epic Games Store - and then come and chat about it over here in my early in-depth impressions.

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SteamWorld Build


SteamWorld Dig 2

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About the Author
Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.