Sanding down bits of old wood and pulling out rusty screws has no right to be this enjoyable.
Out now on Steam, Workshop Simulator might just be our new favourite wholesome game. You take on the role of a budding restoration expert who has been given free reign of their late grandfather’s workshop. Starting out with small objects such as a toy car and a rusty old mailbox, you’ll use a series of tools to restore them to their former glory. Eventually, you’ll move on to bigger and more complicated restorations, fixing up items around your grandmother’s farm along with helping out the local community.
Yes, much of Workshop Simulator could be described as ‘busywork’. But that’s part of its charm. Methodically washing down a piece of rusted old metal before moving on to the next component is far more rewarding than it should be, and slowly seeing an old, unloved item shine like it’s brand new leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
You’ll have to go through all the motions, sweeping your cursor along an item to sand it down, wash it or paint it, ensuring you’re not missing any spots. If you prefer gaming with a controller you’ll be glad to hear that Workshop Simulator has full controller support, too, and it works very well. Navigating menus can be a little slow, but thankfully most of your time will be in front of your work desk, working away on a restoration.
To provide a feeling of progression, there are upgrades to purchase as you play. Restoring an item for the community will net you an income, which can be used to buy better pieces of equipment in your workshop such as sanding machines and paint guns – though there’s something to be said for the simplicity of doing everything by hand. The money you earn starts out small; the toy car we fixed up in the video below netted us $25. But as you progress through the game and start working on bigger, more complex items, that wage will increase.
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When you’re not in your workshop, you can potter around your grandmother’s farm, taking in the scenery and looking around the house. There’s not much to do, admittedly, but it’s a nice environment to spend some time in. It’s a surprisingly nice-looking game, although we did experience a bit of screen tearing, even after enabling v-sync in-game. But since the majority of the game you’re stood in front of your work desk, it’s rarely an issue.
Workshop Simulator, despite its name and logo that will probably make you think of your dad’s tool shed, has quickly become one of our favourite go-to cosy games. There’s something incredibly wholesome in going through the motions to bring life back to an old, forgotten item. Seeing your hard work come together is seriously fulfilling – and honestly, it makes us want to do it for real. It’s probably not quite as easy as the game makes it look, though. So we’ll stick to playing Workshop Simulator for now.
Workshop Simulator is out now on PC via Steam. It’s available for £15.49/$19.99, although a 20% discount is available until 17th March.