Reviewed by: Joe Wilcock
Once again, the video game medium exemplifies its infinite diversity and variation in the form of Model Builder. Moonlight Studios have well and truly revived a diminishing hobby, seemingly lost to time, for a new generation to admire. It's a brilliant sample of a niche concept, targeted at a small demographic, executing its intentions perfectly with class, polish and authenticity to boot.
Model Builder's existence speaks volumes to the demands of experiences such as this, of which there are plenty of examples. Much like games of its ilk, the fundamentals are solid and intuitive, it is everything you would expect from a model kit builder game. Where this particular title excels though is in its performance, presentation and its UI which are all exemplary.
Meticulously piecing together bits and pieces to create aeroplanes, figures and boats is of course satisfying, but not exactly noteworthy regarding pioneering gameplay mechanics. Simulation games oftentimes offer genuine, authentic experiences for their concept but neglect the presentational aspect of their games. A rudimentary example of this would be the massively successful Farming Simulator games. Up until their last iteration, which admittedly looks a lot better, its aesthetics had never been their strongest trait. Despite this, it offers a legitimate farming simulation that is both fun and realistic, relatively speaking.
Model Builder manages to incorporate both beautiful graphics and authenticity thanks in large part to its ridiculous attention to detail, high-resolution textures and modern, dynamic lighting. The workshop typifies this sentiment aptly. It looks like a real, lived-in workspace that would rival any video game space. Add to this an outstanding level of customisation that is available to apply to your models and it makes for a tranquil, fun and satisfying experience.
There is a fantastic variation to the different models on display here as well, ensuring that there will be something for everyone. You can build planes, trains, dragons, dwarf figures, tanks and cars to name a few as well as being able to paint and add decals to them as you wish.
When finished, these models can either be sold to a client for money or put on display in a glass cabinet for you to admire all of your hard work. It is truly a sight to behold when a dozen or so of your finished models are presented in such a way.
Veterans and newcomers alike can rejoice as Moonlight Studios offers an experience that caters for both. Intricate and expert models are available as well as simple and basic ones. It serves as a self-explanatory entry point for rookies and has the potential to spark a real interest in the age-old hobby that could easily translate into real life. The problem that Model Builder smartly circumvents is the affordability of the craft which makes this title an extremely accessible method to partake in. This would obviously be very appealing to newbies.
For enthusiasts, the opportunity is there to build at will without having to worry about storage or space. It may not be the best option for purists given the obvious omission of the holistic aspect, but it could be a game that supplements their interests instead of replacing them.
There isn't really a bad word to be said about Model Builder. Sometimes, when critiquing games, you have to simply examine what was the intention and how was the execution. When considering this, Model Builder is pretty much perfect. The only improvements that could be made are the inclusion of a massive career mode, where you have the opportunity to move from a small workshop to a large factory. Some licensed builds could be really fun to tinker with as well, such as a Batmobile or a Godzilla etc. Other than that, for fans of model building, this is a perfect game for you.