Every now and then, a game turns up in early access that manages to shake up its genre to the core. Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is one of those games.
Developed by 3Division, Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is a Soviet city-building tycoon economy simulation game. That’s quite a mouthful because to call this a simple city builder would be a crime worthy of the Gulag because it’s so much more. Sure you are in charge of building and managing the economy but instead of focusing on a single patch of land and building a multi-industry super city that has a casino on one side of the road and industrial sectors on the other, you build a small country. Resources are scattered throughout the minimap, and you will need to set up towns and cities that focus on one particular resource.
Workers need to be ferried from their apartments to their workplace and will require public transportation. Goods need to be transported from their raw source to the factories and then the finished good needs to be distributed to other factories to produce other products or to be exported. The opportunities are endless, if you think it’s possible, it probably is.
The biggest challenge new players will face in this game is the logistics of everything. Everything needs to be micromanaged. Nothing happens without your approval. Of course, certain elements do happen autonomously but you will still need to establish a proper chain for it to happen.
Created a new cement factory? you have to make sure that raw materials are delivered appropriately. This means creating a transportation center, which gets constructed over time and not instantly, then you have to purchase the correct type of transport(out of many), set up destinations and pickup points and finally launch it. Of course, workers need to be present to work at the factory, so you have to set up bus stops, and again purchase a bus, set up stoppages to make sure your workers get to work on time. Once the raw materials are processed, you have to figure out what to do with it. Do you transport it off to storage for your own construction needs? or do you export it for money? And how do you transport tonnes of cement any way? do you purchase a fleet of trucks? or set up a railway system?
The above process is just one small example of the various ways you can set up one part of a much much bigger supply chain. And I haven’t even started on the most important resource of them all, humans. You will need to take care of the needs of your workers, otherwise, they will refuse to work. They need food and entertainment, religion and all the other needs any hard-working member of the motherland might have.
If all this wasn’t deep enough for you, the economy is simulated as well. This means that the cost of goods and selling prices will fluctuate based on demand and production costs. You will have to import resources and export them to earn money, and it will take a long time for you to become self-sufficient.
All of this might seem daunting, even to seasoned city building veterans, and it really is. There’s a tutorial added in the latest patch, which does a decent job of explaining the various mechanics in place as well as teaching the basics of logistics. But it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the absolutely colossal task that awaits anyone playing the game for more than a couple of hours. Over time, as you build your glorious soviet republic, managing resources and manpower will become continuously more hectic as you constantly expand to meet the growing demands of your cities.
There are some slight issues the game suffers from, due to its early access nature. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the clunky and cluttered user interface that feels straight from the early 2000s. There’s already a megaton of information for the user to process and having to go through a lot of hoops to manage certain aspects of your production chains shouldn’t be a thing. Another issue is, the terraforming and road construction. I managed to snap my roads to buildings most of the time without an issue, but sometimes it would get wonky and simply refuse to snap.
In all my years of playing city building games and sims, I have never played a game like this. Even in this stage of its early access, the game goes toe to toe with some of the biggest juggernauts of this genre. It has everything to satisfy every type of city-building lover and allows finetuning your gameplay experience to have the experience you want. Don’t want to deal with the hassle of worker management and want to focus on building your dream city? no problem turn down dissatisfaction, want a sandbox experience? turn on unlimited money. Want a more realistic simulation? just hit hard mode and prepare to go down the journey of greatness, comrade.
If it wasn’t apparent already, I’m absolutely smitten with this game. I can’t stop playing this game, and I don’t remember the last time a city builder got me this excited. The sheer freedom to let you design the Soviet Republic of your dreams is insane. The micromanagement and lack of hand-holding can get to beginners and even seasoned players at the start, but if you manage to get through the sharp learning curve at the start, there’s a deeply rewarding experience waiting for you.