Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

Even in such a specific genre as urban strategy, there are lovers of Soviet aesthetics – the presence of mods for popular projects like Cities: Skylines, which allow you to build up your city with Khrushchevs, and let the routes of old “pazikov” along the roads, will not let you lie. Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic from the Slovak studio 3DIVISION, which appeared in Steam Early Access, went even further, not limited to authentic surroundings: almost all game mechanics are somehow built according to the precepts of the great comrade Lenin.

In reality, no one has managed to build a communist utopia. Maybe this game will work?

All power to the Soviets!

You are the general secretary of a socialist republic, located exactly between the countries of the Soviet bloc on one side of the border and European capitalists on the other. More precisely, there is no state as such yet: there is only a fairly large territory available for development, as well as two cash accounts – in rubles and dollars. What your state will become and whether its people will be able to build a communist utopia under your wise leadership depends only on you.

At the very beginning, communism is still far away, but some of its laws are already in force: for example, there is no internal economy at all. For the population, everything is free – from travel by public transport to groceries in stores. However, the concept of “wage” is also missing – everyone should work for the good of the Motherland disinterestedly. And you have to work a lot – the game is not in vain received such a name.

Money is used only for trade with the outside world: the products obtained by socialist labor can be sold, and the proceeds can be used to purchase those goods that the young republic is not yet able to produce.

At first, you will have to buy everything in general – for this you need starting money. Dollars or rubles are flowing abroad, and invited experts, using imported raw materials, are building houses, factories, mines, roads, infrastructure facilities in a matter of seconds – something that will allow the young state to get on its feet. Of course, this is all “playing out in the head”, in fact, building for money is an analogue of the instant construction of buildings and roads, which has long become the standard for such strategies. But if you have your own resources, a sufficient number of workers and equipment, absolutely any object in the game can be built by the forces of your citizens. Be prepared to provide access to the construction site and the supply of materials and do not forget that the construction will take a decent amount of time. But it’s free!

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic game preview

Native models of technology are something that is so lacking in other similar games.

Everything goes according to plan

However, the long construction time is a mere trifle compared to another difficult task, the solution of which lies at the heart of WRSR gameplay. Planning and implementing the production cycle is what this strategy is about. Production chains are not limited to the simplest lines like “got a stone and built a house out of it.” Everything is much more complicated, and at first some of the nuances become clear only at the later stages of production, which leads to fatal consequences.

Let’s take the same residential building. Ordinary Khrushchev – how much is needed to build it on your own? To begin with, we need a quarry where stone is mined. We transport the stone by trucks to the gravel plant, where we get gravel. He, in turn, is sent to a cement factory, a concrete plant and a reinforced concrete plant. Please note that these are three different productions, and the last two also require cement, which is made on the first of them. You need steel, which is made at one of the most expensive buildings in the game – a steel mill (and iron ore, previously mined in the mines and processed, must also be delivered there).

Do you think that’s it? Formally, it is, but we do use transport – it needs fuel, the extraction of which is a separate production chain. Nothing will work without electricity – build a mine, a coal ore processing plant, deliver fuel to thermal power plants, pull power lines. I’m not talking about such trifles as laying roads or creating related infrastructure such as gas stations, electrical substations, car depots and conveyor belts.

Haven’t forgotten anything? That’s right – you must have a sufficient number of workers, without which any production will stop. People need somewhere to settle, feed, provide them with access to the simplest entertainment, deliver to the place of work, in the end. It turns out that the production of some final product (like the same concrete slabs) makes it necessary to build around itself at least a separate workers’ settlement.

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic game preview

The radio station is a powerful propaganda tool. But if you want to influence your citizens, provide them with radios.

Therefore, we are given a certain amount at the start (depending on the level of complexity): at the very beginning, one cannot do without buying this or that resource abroad. You can strive to create an independent production cycle that allows you to completely do without spending money, and having created it, consider that the game has been completed. Or, on the contrary, setting yourself the goal of accumulating a certain amount, try to make your country a supplier of raw materials for neighbors, and spend the money received on those resources and materials that you are not able to produce. In the end, nothing prevents you from combining these two methods, especially since at the moment there is no campaign mode here – only a “sandbox”.

To each according to his needs

Of course, we must not forget about our subordinates – simple hard workers who work hard day and night for the benefit of fellow citizens (or to replenish the Secretary General’s account in a foreign bank). These people are unpretentious: they will go to work, even without electricity in the apartment, not paying attention to the fuming chimneys of factories right outside the window and the shortage of goods. But still, it’s worth taking care of the mood of the people – otherwise people can get sick or run away to where there is no dry law and hour-long queues for sausage.

After returning from a work shift, our citizens want to go about their daily business: go to the store, go to a bar or a movie theater. Many have children who need to be supervised – if a kindergarten is not found nearby, then the worker will stay at home with the child. Teenagers go to school where they receive a basic education – without it, it will not be possible to work even in a mine. Universities are needed to obtain highly qualified specialists, without which one cannot do without them. By the way, such valuable workers (however, as well as people with ordinary education or without it at all) can be imported from other countries – not for free, of course.

Even one residential building requires a certain infrastructure, therefore, in order to save money, it is better to use quarterly development, providing residents with everything necessary.

Shops, kindergartens and other social facilities also require workers, electricity and an accessible location. As a result, the layout of residential areas becomes no less important than the logistics of production for maximum resource development.

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic game preview

Now it is almost impossible to achieve the filling of all available jobs. We need a Gulag – or patches that fix this error.

In the working village, which is slowly becoming a small city, life is in full swing: someone is in a hurry to work, trucks with stones and buses with workers are rolling along the roads – they had to start a round-the-clock flight to the mine, otherwise the residents of remote areas did not have time to work out a full shift. The plans include the construction of a steel mill. True, we will have to come to grips with the railway communication: the ore is far away, and two rail tracks will have to be pulled to the mine – the first is necessary to send raw materials to the plant, and on the second we will launch an electric train for workers.

But you still need to build a state farm, sow the fields – stop buying food abroad! There, you see, we will get to our own production of meat and alcoholic beverages, we will be engaged in sewing clothes and creating electrical appliances for the population.

Yes, all of this – a full-fledged transport system (including railways, highways and public transport), agriculture, an education and science system, an external economy – is in the game and done with the same attention to detail as the production of resources. For example, in order to sell goods abroad, they need to be delivered to this very border – by road or by rail. Realistic scale captivates with its scope: the big city looks authentic both at the maximum zoom of the camera and from a bird’s eye view and is especially beautiful at night.

But there is something in the Soviet Republic that makes you think about the fate of the project.

She fell apart

After learning the basics and understanding how WRSR works in general, you feel that something is not right here. More and more flaws, bugs and strange decisions of the authors are striking, preventing you from enjoying the process.Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic game preview

Despite the unsightly graphics, at night the city looks very pretty.

One of the main problems is the simulation of the daily cycle of citizens. Each resident spends a certain amount of time on work, and after the shift ends, he goes about his business. He goes to work on foot or travels by transport (the inhabitants of each individual house can be sent to a specific place of work, or you can give them a choice), but he returns home with the help of instant teleportation. Such is the game convention, the use of which the developers probably had good reasons. Do not be surprised if the electric train, packed full of miners, is empty halfway to the mine – the working day is over, everyone ran to the shops and bars.

Local residents are not trained to transfer from one transport to another – they will have to build logistics chains for passengers using the simplest routes. There is a real problem with the railway communication – so far only single-track tracks are working normally.

Forget about the separation of residential and industrial quarters and verified public transport routes for workers – it is much easier to build housing near factories. Of course, this hits both the ability to create beautiful and logically organized cities, and the efficiency of industrial buildings.

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic game preview

The division of production: in the foreground is a state farm, a little further is the city itself, and in the distance are thermal power plants and coal mines.

Another sign of early access is a rather controversial implementation of control and interface. You have to make a lot of unnecessary movements to perform elementary actions, and the terrible terraforming system deserves a separate kick. Superfluous microcontrol in almost everything: for example, there is no way to copy transport routes, there are no at least some notifications about problems that have arisen – click through each building separately to find out what its inhabitants are unhappy with or why production has stopped.

There are also questions about the balance: for example, there is practically no need to think about choosing models of equipment – you can safely take the most effective ones. Single purchases cost a penny, and when the machine park becomes large, the player will be more concerned with questions related to how to cope with the inconvenient management of this whole horde. The research system for new technologies is boring – almost everything is available from the very beginning.

Graphics … What is there to explain – you yourself see everything in the screenshots. The picture is 10 years out of date, but this is perhaps the least of the many problems of the Soviet Republic.

The realism of the scale is one of the main advantages of the Soviet Republic.

***

Do you want a full-fledged city-building simulator? We’ll have to wait for patches and mods (full support for modifications is promised). Now the Soviet Republic is more suitable for creating cities in “creative mode” with endless money.

There are a lot of original and interesting game mechanics here, the combination of which is rarely found in such strategies. Note that they are not in other representatives of the genre, precisely because collecting all this into a single system is not an easy task. WRSR has huge potential, but at the moment it is not clear whether the developers will be able to unlock it.

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