SteamWorld Build Guide

It’s time for another game guide on LadiesGamers. This one is for SteamWorld Build, a simulation strategy game. I reviewed SteamWorld Build and gave it our highest score of Two thumbs Up; you can find that review here.

SteamWorld Build is centred around building a city and a mine underground. You use Steam Bots to do lots of work, carrying resources and working in the mine. You must reach milestones in the game to advance and open up new buildings to build. The end goal of SteamWorld Build is to find all the rocket pieces, build a spaceship and leave the planet.

SteamWorld Build Guide

SteamWorld Build guide the Clutchsprockets
the Clutchsprockets

The toolbar

The toolbar at the bottom of the screen is where you will find all the tools needed to build a city. You can navigate the tool menu on the Nintendo Switch by using the L and R buttons and the D-pad buttons.

SteamWorld Build
The toolbar at the bottom is where you will find everything you need to build

Alternatively, the toolbar at the top of the screen shows you all your city information, such as how many bots you have, your income, and your milestones. It is on this toolbar you will also find the quantity of resources you have in your city.

World View Mode

To switch to select world view mode, press the Y button. In this mode, you can select a building in the city and press A to see the information associated with that building. To exit out of select mode, press Y again.


steamWorld build Guide the roads
The roads come in three types: Dirt, Paved and Magley.

Roads are the heart of any city, and it’s the same in SteamWorld Build. The roads come in three types: Dirt, Paved and Magley. Each road can be upgraded, increasing the range buildings can reach and the speed at which your delivery bots can walk the streets.

An important point to note is that when placing a building in SteamWorld Build, all buildings must be connected to the Old Train Station road to function properly.

Service and refinery buildings show their road coverage distance when placed as a blue highlight on the roads. You can upgrade roads by building a new road on top of previously placed roads. Upgrading roads makes your delivery bots faster, and your services reach further.

Residential Buildings

Upgrade homes to get the next teir of worker
Upgrade homes to get the next type of worker.

Residential buildings are the source of citizens and money; they also give your bots somewhere to live. The only residential building you can construct at any time is the Worker Home. Furthermore, as your city grows and the bots’ needs are met, you can upgrade a residential building from the previous tier to gain more bots of a different type.

Highlight the bot in the toolbar menu you wish to upgrade the house to and click on the house; the house upgrades and the next tier of bots will live there. However, you must keep an eye on the residential homes and build new worker homes when you upgrade others as soon you won’t have any worker homes in your city.

SteamWorld Bots

Now, let’s look at the different types of Bots in SteamWorld Build. There are four classes of citizen bots, from the standard workers to engineers, aristobots and even scientists. However, each type of bot requires different facilities to operate in your city.

As each steambot class is introduced, you will need to reconsider the layout of the city you have built. Worker bots tend to the lumber mills and charcoal kilns, while the engineers specialise in pickaxe making, working in sheet metal factories.

Additionally, when upgrading the houses to get the next tier of bot, you must meet all the bot’s needs before upgrading their homes. You can discover their needs by switching to select mode and clicking on the houses.

Bots in the City

Worker Bots menu
Worker Bots menu

Worker Bots (Grey Hats)

Worker bots are the standard bots that move into the houses once you build them. Worker bots carry resources from the refineries to the warehouse.

Engineers Bots (Orange Hats)

Engineer bots arrive once you upgrade the worker bots homes. They like making tools, spare parts and pickaxes, anything that involves metal.

Aristobots need must be fulfilled
Aristobots need must be fulfilled before their home can be upgraded.

Aristobots (Purple Hats)

As the name suggests, the aristo bots work in only the wealthiest conditions, as hatmakers, gunsmiths or in fine dining.

Scientists Bots (Pointy Hat)

The scientists’ bots like to get their hands dirty and smash things together in colliders to make resources needed in the city.

The Bots Have Needs

All bots in your city in SteamWorld Build have needs that must be met. By clicking on the bot’s head in the toolbar, you can see the buildings each type of bot requires for its needs. Fulfilling the bots’ needs allows you to upgrade their homes and employ others, such as Engineer bots, Scientist bots, etc.

The Bots’ needs come in two different types: resources and service buildings.

Each type of bots must have service buildings and resources
Each type of bot must have service buildings and resources

Resources are produced in refineries, such as planks for the workers’ needs, and the bots consume the resources. If the production in the city is lower than the demand, the bots will not be able to consume as much as they want, and you will lose the needed benefit.

Click on a bots house to find out its needs
Click on a bot house to find out its needs.

Service buildings, like the general store, fulfil the need for that service as long as they are connected to a workers’ residential building by road and within its reach, as indicated by the roads highlighting the affected buildings.

Selecting any residential building will highlight the service buildings it has access to. Upgrading the roads will let the service reach further and affect more residential buildings.

Service buildings can be slotted with service items (bonuses). These items improve the service building by adding a bonus such as more tax income or extra bots to transport resources. To add an item to a service building, you press Y to go into select mode and then click on the building to add the service item. Once you choose the item bonus, press A to add it.


Refineries in SteamWorld Build produce resources for your city for the bots, or you can sell the excess resources via the trade panel in the train station.

For any refinery to function, it needs resources; selecting a refinery will show you what it needs and what it will produce in return. As you place some refinery buildings in your city, it will show a percentage out of 100 of the resources it can extract from that area.

For any refinery to function, it needs resources
For any refinery to function, it needs resources.

Furthermore, for any refineries to function properly, they need a workforce in the form of Steambots from the citizen tier the building originates from. The production speed will decrease if you don’t have enough Steambots for the refinery.

You can track your available workforce in the top toolbar. If the numbers are negative, your production will suffer, and you should consider building more residential buildings or fulfilling their needs.

Warehouses and City Storage

Warehouses collect and distribute resources in the city. Each refinery must be within delivery distance of a warehouse, again indicated by the highlighted road. Worker bots collect any resources that the refinery has produced. The bot will deliver it to a warehouse, making it available globally in the city.

tems to use for a bonus
items to use for a bonus

Additionally, your SteamWorld Build warehouse can only store a maximum of 50 units of each resource, but building more warehouses does not raise this number. Also, a warehouse has a limited amount of deliveries that can be made to it. Delivery queues will form if too many refineries can only access one warehouse.

To increase the city storage, specific items (bonuses) can be found in the mine and train station store that can be slotted into warehouses to raise the storage amount.


Money is earned from residential tax. Each need you fulfil for a residential building earns you some extra money gained every 10 seconds.

The amount of money you will gain is the difference between your taxes and upkeep. Almost everything you build in the game has an upkeep. You can always see the amount of money you will earn next in the top toolbar and the difference in upkeep between your city and mine.

the top toolbar shows you the economy and how much cash you have.
The top toolbar shows you the economy and how much cash you have.

If your income is negative or red, try building more residential houses or fulfilling your bot needs. Depending on the difficulty level you play on, destroying things can also give you a full refund, which is handy in desperate times.

The administration window can be accessed by pressing the X button. It is the best way to get an overview of your city and mine production. All numbers in the Administration Window are updated once per minute.


The production tab on the top toolbar shows the optimal production in the city if everything is going as expected. For resources from the mine, it shows the average production in the last few minutes. Therefore, it takes a while to reflect your current production.

The balance shows the difference between what your bots produce in the refineries and the demand from your Steam bots. If the balance is negative, you should consider increasing the production of that resource.
Demand is how much your Steambots and Refineries need per minute.

Underground Mine

Placing a support to stop the mine roof collapsing
Placing a support to stop the mine roof collapsing

Once you have progressed enough in SteamWorld Build, the underground mine becomes accessible. The mine contains several mine floors, though, in the beginning, you only have access to the first floor. Each floor offers new resources you will need to continue building your city. You can switch floors anytime by pressing the R button and down on the D-pad.

The city and mine are both simulated simultaneously, so make sure you pay attention to all parts for a short time. Resources are shared between the city and the mine, and once a resource has been delivered to a warehouse or a mineshaft, it immediately becomes available everywhere.

Mine SteamBots

Miner Bots (Yellow Hats)

Mine bots are your workhorse in the mine; engineer bots dig and expand your mine, clear rubble and reinforce the walls. Once you reach the first mine, you must construct Miner Quarters in the mine. They work extremely hard and like decent-sized Miners’ quarters to work in. If you build a miner’s quarters around the size of 9×9 squares, it’s big enough to keep them happy.

When you upgrade, the worker bots home to the next tier of bots, the new Miner Steambots will arrive through the mineshaft to help in the mine.

All the different quaters in the mine
All the different quarters in the mine

Prospectors Bots (Blue Hats)

Prospector bots are useful for extracting resources from the mine veins. They help empty resource extractors and deliver them to the mineshaft to allow the resources to be available in the city above.

Mechanic Bots (Green Hats)

Mechanic bots are used to install and repair all your machinery in the mine and help with anything mechanical.

Guard Bots (Red hats)

As you progress in SteamWorld Build, you will eventually need to employ guard bots. The mines don’t just have gems and resources. They also have Creep nests.

You need Guard bots protect against and fend off the creeps
You need Guard bots to protect against and fend off the creeps

Guard bots protect against and fend off the creeps; they can also burn up enemies if they are equipped with a flamethrower. Make sure to keep a couple of guards in the mine to defend against enemies.

By increasing the size of any quarter in the mine, many more Steambots will arrive. However, you must ensure that you provide a mix of quarters. Alternatively, expanding an existing quarter is more beneficial than building a new one. Quarter tiles require a significant amount of upkeep, so it’s important to recruit only a few bots.

In the mine, you can view the number of bots you have on the current mine floor in the top toolbar. It also shows how many idle Steambots you have. If you have many idle Prospectors, try to find more resources to keep them occupied.

Soil Types in SteamWorld Build

The mines have four different types of soil
The mines have four different types of soil.

The mine consists of different soil types. All miners can dig dirt with their handy shovels. However, some soils require better digging tools.

Sandstone: Sandstone requires that you have pickaxe makers in the city; the miners use pickaxes to be able to dig through the sandstone.

Granite: Breaking Granite stone works the same way as sandstone but requires carbide drills, which are produced when you build a carburising plant in your city.

Bedrock: Bedrock is impossible to dig through.

Resources in the Mine

Use an extractor machine to retrieve the resource
Use an extractor machine to retrieve the resource

Some resources can only be found in the mine. The first resource you will encounter is Gold. It can be found in dirt blocks and, together with Rubies, can be dug for a one-time resource increase. The resources come in different varieties, such as scrap and ironium, and can be extracted from resource veins by your prospectors or an extractor.

Furthermore, resources such as water and gas must have an extractor machine to retrieve the resource. Resources in the mine supporting an extractor can be extracted repeatedly and never run out.

Farm in the Mine

Farms grow pink shrooms
Farms grow pink shrooms.

As you get deeper into the mine in SteamWorld Build, you will find soil allowing you to set up a farm. The Mine Farms are constructed like the Quarters and Rooms but can only be placed on fertile soil. The Mine Farms grow pink shrooms that Prospectors can harvest when fully grown. You’ll have to explore to have enough space in the mine for a farm.

Mine Infrastructure

The mine is a dangerous place for the bots. As they remove the soil, the ceiling can fall down, and you will hear rocks fall. Of course, you don’t want your miner bots to be injured, so you must take precautions.

Pillars: Pillars are needed to prevent instability in the mine and stop rocks from falling and crushing the bots. Place them where you see rubble falling from the ceiling.

Place pillars to stop rock falls
Place pillars to stop rock falls.

Bridges: Bridges allow the bots to cross chasms in the mine. They can also be used for extra building space as you can place both machines and rooms on them.

Speed Vents: Speed Vents are used to make your mine more efficient. Place them where you know your miners will pass through, and they will get a speed boost for a short time. Speed Vents can be found hidden somewhere on the first mine floor.

Teleporters: Teleporters can shorten the distance even further in the mine. Placed as a pair, they allow your Steambots to travel large distances almost instantaneously. Teleporters can be found hidden somewhere on the third mine floor.

Conveyor Belts: Belts can be a good solution when the distance between resources and the mineshaft becomes too great. Place them between the mineshaft and an extractor, and the resources will be delivered automatically. Conveyor Belts can be found hidden somewhere on the second mine floor.

Mining Machines and Facilities

Build a workshop in the mine
Build a workshop in the mine.

To improve the mine, you can construct rooms, giving you access to some very useful machines. The bigger you make the room, the more machines you have the capacity for on that floor.

The Workshop: The workshop allows you to build resource extractors that are more efficient than your Prospectors. Additionally, you can optimise your mine by connecting an Extractor to the mineshaft and using conveyor belts.

The Surveillance Facility: This will give you more information about the mine floor, such as the amount of resources that can be found and where the rocket pieces and the elevator that will take you further down are located. Also, placing radars will reveal secrets and enemies in the dark when selected.

The Armory This allows you to build defensive machines. Be it thumpers to force worms into hiding or turrets against more nasty foes. The defensive machines will react to any enemy presence without the need for your guidance.

Mine Defence

Construct guard quarters and watch out for Creeps
Construct guard quarters and watch out for Creeps.

You can construct guard quarters to recruit guards to protect against the dangers that lurk in the dark. The guard bots will respond to any threat that appears and protect your other Steambots and machines. Equip them with rifles or flamethrowers to make them even better at tackling your foes. There are certain passageways that only guards can break down.

However, you’ll need a little extra help, so the Armory and its defensive machines are handy to have. Build Turrets and traps which can be constructed near enemy hives, ensuring you are ready when the enemy shows its ugly head.

Creeps and Hives

Creep hive
Creep hive

There is something hidden in the deeper parts of the mine: horrible creepy bugs called…creeps. These enemies will spawn from hives when you are trying to unearth rocket pieces in the mine and might be startled when uncovered and then attack.

Once a hive has awakened, they will periodically attack your miners. These attacks strengthen over time, so it’s best to deal with them quickly. Protective machines can be constructed to help you fend off the enemies. Building the Armory allows you to place Grenade Turrets, Flame Turrets, and more; they are excellent tools against enemy hives.

Watch out as enemies can also be found in certain soil cells; take care when uncovering them, and ensure you have guards recruited to help you protect your bot’s base of operations.

The Rocket

Find all the missing rocket pieces in the mines
Find all the missing rocket pieces in the mines.

For the Steambots to escape Earth, you must finish the rocket by finding all six Rocket Parts in the mine. Once all pieces have been collected, you need to fuel the rocket, and it unfortunately can’t run on steam alone.

This is where Rocket fuel is needed. Rocket Fuel is produced in the Rocket Fuel Processing Plant; it needs Gas and Jetshrooms that can be grown in the mine on fertile soil.

The fuel will be delivered to the rocket if it has access to a Warehouse. When it has been fully fueled, you can launch the rocket by selecting the Astrdrome and pressing the Launch Rocket button.

Items and Equipment

Buy items at the train station to give your city bonuses
Buy items at the train station to give your city bonuses

Items and Equipment can be found in the mine in treasure chests or bought from the Train Store in the city. These items give your resource buildings a bonus. Once you get a hold of an item or Equipment, slot it into a building or quarter using the Item Tool in the toolbar.

Items can be slotted into buildings in the city. There are three types of Items: refinery, service, and warehouse. Each can only be used by the corresponding building type. These items boost the effectiveness of the building and can be good for boosting the weaker parts of the city.

Equipment can also be slotted into quarters in the mine, giving weapons to the guards or improvements to the other steambots in the mine.

Trade Resources Via the Train Station

Click on the train station to trade resources
Click on the train station to trade resources.

In the game, you might sometimes run low on a certain resource. Trading is a great way to boost the weaker parts of your production chain. You can create trade deals through the train station for any necessary resource.

Located in the Train Station, the Train Store has an assortment of items and Equipment available to purchase to help optimise your city and mine. The available offers are refreshed each time the train arrives at the station, so don’t wait too long if you see something you like.


Battle enemies in the mines
Battle enemies in the mines

Everyone loves a beautiful city, including the Steambots, so to make them happy and content, place decorations around your city. There are many decorations to place if you want to improve the look of your city. More and more will become available as you progress through the game.

Decorating the city is not mandatory and does not give your bots any bonus, but it does make the city look pretty.

Most of all, have fun playing SteamWorld Build.