Countless simulator-type games exist today, with their areas of simulation ranging from goats to truck driving across Europe. As last week taught us, even parking cops now have their own simulator. However, a new challenger has approached from the realm of PC repairs.
PC Building Simulator never strays too far from its title, but that works in its favor. The game offers a career, free build, and tutorial modes and boasts a vast amount of parts from manufacturers — both real and fictional. In the career, the player has taken over a PC repair shop and must check their email on issues people are having, and accept or decline to work on said computers. Then, the player must buy parts or software if they are needed, which is managed by the money made from most jobs. Pretty early on, the game becomes a process of determining what jobs will pay the best and save you the most on parts. For example, if a potential customer wants their computer to have a very high benchmark score but is only willing to pay $300, the job is most likely not worth it—the player would have to buy a new graphics card or processor or both in some cases, which undoubtedly would not be under $300. The game’s prices are laughably low when compared to rates in real life on some parts, but the pricing often makes sense concerning the usual payouts from repairs. Jobs can range from merely installing antivirus and running it or cleaning parts with compressed air to replacing the entire motherboard and other components. The process of doing either is incredibly simplified (this writer also works in computer repairs), but removing and replacing parts is incredibly intuitive.
There are four main processes when one begins to work on a computer, ranging from 1-3 on the keyboard and the “P” key for power (these can also be clicked on-screen). 1 covers installation and brings up a menu of parts and pieces to select. Once chosen, a color highlight will tell the player if the chosen piece can be installed in the spot, with green being the signal to go. From that point onward, one must hold down left-mouse until it quickly completes. 2 is removal, and this feature only highlights things that can be removed. It too involves highlighting components with colors that indicate their removal status—typically, if a piece cannot be removed, it needs to be unplugged first. Finally, 3 is devoted solely to plugging in cables, which works like installation and removal in that left-mouse must be held down first on the cable, and then the corresponding slot. Cabling and placement is very accurate, and the process flows well. For those who are new to the world of computer repair and their internal components, PC Building Simulator is a great first step to understanding what the parts look like and where they go.
The workspace begins with one workbench, meaning the player can only work on one computer at a time, but two others can be purchased to allow for simultaneous work on the maximum of three computers that can be in the workshop at a time. Some items and shop space are locked until the player reaches a certain level, which speaks to another aspect of the game. For every repair that is completed, the player levels up and unlocks more parts in the shop and areas of the shops that can be purchased. Leveling goes by quickly, and before long the player will have to decide if it is worth paying over a grand for a new workbench, or if they should just hold off until their balance is more secure. If the career mode becomes too confusing, the free build mode has everything unlocked and is instantly accessible from the first time the game launches. Here, players can test builds for the game itself and potentially for real life, though in the latter case the prices should be adjusted accordingly. It is a wonderful feature, and its unlocked status at the start is a nice change of pace from most other games.
Everything in PC Building Simulator looks crisp and polished, even down to seeing the circuitry on some parts. Effort was put into the textures, which is to be commended. The game could have very easily been a lazy attempt at making a quick buck, but it is clear that time was put into the visuals. The soundtrack seems to have only four tracks, all of which can be viewed and seen in the in-game music application on the player’s home computer. These tracks are neat, but what’s better is that the player can also choose to listen to their own music by telling the music app which folder to look in, or they can choose from a long list of internet radio stations that range across a variety of genres. These inclusions are great because the same four tracks would get old after a while, and it is nice to other have music as an option to play in-game.
The developers have kept the game up to date pretty consistently since it launched in March, and in addition to the usual bug fixes, they add new parts to the game quite often, which offer more variety both for the career mode and free build. There is near-infinite replay value here given the sheer amount of possibilities and the consistency of updates. For $19.99, it is perhaps geared more toward those who are serious about computers but do not let that stop you. The game may lack other aspects of PC repairs such as installing operating systems and troubleshooting many software issues, but the inclusion of these issues would very much bog down the quick nature it has. As stated at the beginning, PC Building Simulator stays true to its title and is better for it.