PC Building Simulator: Console Edition. The power of a PC workhorse in your favorite console.

I am supposed to be on vacation, a tour through Europe with at its pinnacle a visit to Gamescom, the worlds new goto event for all things ...

I am supposed to be on vacation, a tour through Europe with at its pinnacle a visit to Gamescom, the worlds new goto event for all things video game entertainment. But while I am sitting here soaking in some rays, I am also inside a small workshop cleaning and repairing computers for fickle clients.  I have built rigs for myself and others since the early nineties and have dealt with my share of demanding customers. You would think I would want to distance myself from such an existence, and yet I am sitting here sipping on a cold drink accepting more orders.  Such is the life of a technician in PC Building Simulator.

Released initially as an Itch.IO tech demo, PC building Simulator went on to sell over 750,000 copies on PC via steam as a full fledged game.  Now publisher The Irregular Corporation has brought the PC building experience to Xbox One, Playstation 4 and the Nintendo Switch. 

PC Building Simulator lets you experience the life of owning a small PC repair shop where you are tasked with the responsibility of building, maintaining and upgrading various PC’s. From fairly mundane tasks such as the removal of viruses, to building exciting gaming rigs, while overclocking and tweaking hardware, all within budgets and on time. As you level up and grow your skills, the game adds more challenges and options into the experience along the way.

The meat of the game is PC maintenance in a story mode. You are helping out Uncle Tim by watching over his workshop for a while. He left before helping you get situated though and all he leaves you with is an email and a bank account containing a negative balance.  It turns out the Uncle Tim was not so good at his job and you are faced with an unimpressed customer base that will need some convincing in order for them to leave you a good review in order to increase the reputation of the workshop.

The game also comes with a free builders mode where you can access all parts that the game offers in order to create your dream machine from scratch, and perhaps imagine a machine that you probably will never be able to build in real life.

PC Builder Simulator comes with a vast array of real life computer parts (over 1000) featuring some of the most famous brands such as Intel, AMD, NVIDA, ASUS, 3D mark and more.  Besides excellent parts you also have the opportunity to add LED parts, colored cables and beautiful cases to create a true masterpiece. 

The presentation of PC Building Simulator on a console is somewhat of a surreal experience. For one the lack of a mouse seems to be a big drawback.  In the case of the Switch, you can use the touch screen as well which removes some of the awkwardness but it is not always the best feeling as you try to add and remove several cables and parts during gameplay.  For instance to plug in cables, I instinctively tried to click and drag the cables to where I knew they belonged and it was not working. Turns out that I need to hover on the pointer (not the cable), click and hold a button until it highlights the areas it could plug in, and then move the pointer to one of those highlights and click and hold that spot. It works but feels sluggish and unnatural. The same goes for removing other parts such as the side panels or a graphics card. I get it, it is a simulator.  If you want to remove a panel, you need to unscrew the screws before it comes off, but with the analog sticks it just feels needlessly slow at times. At least to move the PC off of the workbench, it can be done without removing each separate cable from the back.  

Accessing parts and software is easy with a simple push of the up key on the D-pad. 
All parts are categorized and it will be indicated for you when something is new, old, broken, and if it is compatible with the computer you are working on.
The same goes for the part store you can access for all you needs. Each part has a description and a price, you can sort by price, filter on features or straight up do a text search with the onscreen keyboard.

In story mode you need to check your email to receive work orders and decide which ones you can perform. There is a calendar to keep track of all of the jobs as well as paying your bills and each email request comes with a spec list for the computer so you can make sure you order the right parts in advance of the computer arriving. Of course do not forget to actually order instead of just letting them sit in the store shopping cart.  As you play, you build a reputation which you can see in a yelp like app, which surprisingly cost $300, but I guess good customer feedback if priceless?  Leveling up you will gain access to more tools, parts and larger jobs. Finish a job, put the PC back in the shipping area and collect your money. The game even features customers who will be more obtuse in their wishes making it so that you have to read between the lines to meet hidden objectives for extra bonuses. 

During play, I encountered some glitches that forced me to replay a part of the game and in some cases did not seem to work at all causing some frustration. In some cases, it was not registering the replacement of certain PC parts causing me to be unable to complete a build and collect the money. If you miss a deadline, you cannot turn in the PC, you can only quit the job causing you to lose reputation and money. It would have been nice to be given the option to just turn something in late. Might be not good for you rep, but better than not finishing the job at all. 

Even with the minor complaints about the game, PC Build Simulator is a title that can suck you in and be a real time sink and I had a good time with it. The realism of all of the real parts and BIOS tweaking, peripherals and other touches make the experience feel real.  It is even possible for anyone new to computer building to get a feel of what is inside the box and make them more comfortable building their own real PC one day.  I would not go as far as to say this is a full on training tool for future technicians. 
It is fully family friendly and anyone that can read will be able to pick this up and get started. 

Game information:
Title: PC Building Simulator
Developer: Claudiu Kiss, The Irregular Corporation.
Release date: August 13, 2019 
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
ESRB: E for Everyone


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