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PC Building Simulator 2 Review: A Soothing and Rewarding Learning Experience

Rating: 7/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $24.99
Logo of PC Building Simulator 2 with white text and PC components.
Spiral House Ltd

It’s not often that a simulation game doubles as a viable crash course for its subject activity. However, PC Building Simulator 2 bridges the gap between interactive experience and tech manual with a rudimentary glimpse at the inner workings of gaming PCs and the well-known brands that fuel them.

I admittedly sat down to PC Building Simulator 2 with heavy skepticism. Having built a gaming PC before and tinkered with the inner workings of an office desktop, I couldn’t fathom making a game of it. The most thrilling part of the experience is trying not to fry the motherboard or lose those impossibly tiny screws. Alas, in 2019, Claudiu Kiss and The Irregular Corporation found the right formula to essentially make working on the Geek Squad at Best Buy something entertaining and gameable with PC Building Simulator. Three years later, Spiral House Ltd took up the mantle of the sequel, which expands upon the original’s core experience.

I played a little of the original just to be able to make the comparison, and it’s clear Spiral House Ltd aimed higher. Some changes to the gameplay simplify the in-game processes, maybe to a fault, and the library of PC components has been updated to offer new customization options and liquid cooling. What should be a rather mundane simulator winds up being something you can really sink hours into. Whether you’re tackling the Career Mode or tinkering with different components to build your dream rig in the Free Build Mode, it’s way too easy to lose track of time. Unfortunately, PC Building Simulator 2’s biggest drawback is that everything is way too easy, and if you’re looking for any sort of challenge, you won’t find one.

Here's What We Like

  • Large library of real PC components
  • Teaches a bit about building a gaming PC
  • Bite-sized learning curve
  • Free Mode encourages creativity

And What We Don't

  • Career Mode is too easy and forgiving
  • It's impossible to fail at a job
  • Not every detail is 100% accurate
  • Repetitive and forgettable soundtrack

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A Basic Glimpse at Gaming PCs

Workbench set for painting with a black PC case.
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Anyone unfamiliar with gaming PCs may be intimidated by the idea of having to dismantle and reassemble them in a simulated setting. Even with the (admittedly outdated) experience I’ve had piecing a PC together, I didn’t think I’d find PC Building Simulator 2 to be anything but overwhelming and, to a degree, stressful. However, Spiral House Ltd does a fantastic job of taking what can be a taxing task and simplifying it for a general audience.

Sure, you’re still rooting around the innards of $2,500 units, but the game doesn’t leave you to your devices. There’s an extensive tutorial that shows you the ropes, and when new components are introduced, the game thoroughly explains how they fit within the PC gaming ecosystem. Throughout much of the game, it feels like Spiral House wants to make building a gaming rig far less intimidating. I’d even go so far as to say PC Building Simulator 2 is a learning experience for those without a deep knowledge of the mechanics of computers.

Different tasks will introduce you to components like thermal paste, and you’ll even get the opportunity to apply the critical element. Graphics cards, processors, fans, computer memory, and storage space are all represented in each unit, and if you feel like poking around a bit, you can remove and replace each piece to see where and how they fit within a typical case.

This is all welcomed and encouraged in the game’s Free Build Mode, where the only goal is to get your hands dirty and build the rig of your dreams. This includes choosing a case from several dozen options and customizing it with paint and stickers.

Adding Realism to the Simulation

Minimum Specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-3570 / AMD FX-8350
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) / AMD Radeon R9 380X (4GB)

Recommended Specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-10400 / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • Memory: 12GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super (6GB) / AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT (6GB)

Even if you have no knowledge of building computers, the simulator is a fine introduction to the task. This is largely because Spiral House did its best to make it as realistic as possible without sacrificing the entertainment value. Every component you use to build a rig is something you can find in stores. The pricing may be a little off, so don’t be excited by an $80 CPU in-game, as that’s likely to be at least double in retail. Otherwise, Spiral House worked wonders to add a level of realism to the experience. And that actually turns the simulator into a viable means of window shopping.

If you’re in the market for a gaming PC, nothing says you can’t boot up PC Building Simulator 2 and start piecing together components to achieve a build that fits your needs. Again, pricing isn’t a 1:1 ratio from game to store, but the game is mostly accurate regarding what components are compatible with one another.

There are a few discrepancies, so always verify the real-world product before buying, but I’ve played so few video games that impart a similar degree of knowledge that can help when making an expensive decision. In fact, before this simulator, the number was probably zero.

The library of GPUs, CPUs, motherboards, fans, radiators, SSDs, and ribbon cables is extensive. At some point, it will be obsolete unless Spiral House works to update it quite often. But for now, it’s a great resource for understanding what brands are on the market, from ASUS to AMD, and seeing the core specs of the individual products.

There’s even a degree of tech support hidden within the experience, as the game’s Career Mode takes you through connecting individual components. Not sure where the RAM goes on a motherboard? PC Building Simulator 2 can give you a relative idea. Of course, a YouTube video would be quicker and easier, but it’s a neat facet of the game, and performing the task on repeat may get you more comfortable with the placement of all components.

Tinkering With the Software

Working desktop PC with different applications and programs to download.
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

PC Building Simulator 2 deals with more than just the physical construction of a computer. Once you’ve pieced together a unit, you can also pop in a USB drive and tinker with some software. Some tasks will require you to enter the BIOS menu and change settings, while others will have you adjusting fan speed to meet a customer’s specification. There’s quite a lot you can access when logged onto a working PC, from simple games to a program that benchmarks the CPU and GPU, which essentially checks the overall performance.

There’s a lot of small detail throughout the simulator that really fleshes out the look and feel of it all. For instance, I spent way too much time swapping out peripherals like my keyboard and mousepad. It’s inconsequential to the experience, but the ability to customize your space is always nice.

Sharing Your Dream Rig

Completed gaming PC with white case, and green trim with monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

I spent more time than I expected just playing with different gaming PC configurations. A feature I liked, but couldn’t really make use of, was the ability to export the PC you designed and share it with friends. If I were in the market for a new PC, I would absolutely use this as a baseline tool to figure out a general configuration, from the power supply to the water coolant, and share it with some of my more knowledgeable colleagues for their opinion.

Sharing is fairly simple, as long as they have a copy of PC Building Simulator 2. Once you finalize a design, you’ll export a file of the PC to your desktop, and your friend only needs to import that same file the next time they boot up the game. They can then add their flair to the desktop, change anything they want, and make it their own unique build.

Breezing Through Career Mode

If there is one glaring issue with PC Building Simulator 2, it’s the lack of any real challenges. The game’s Career Mode tasks you with answering repair or alteration requests via email, building up a storefront, and generally keeping your business open. At no point did I feel that I was at risk of closing. I tried my hardest to do a terrible job to see if customers would lash out, but the game rarely lets you turn in an unfinished project.

Even the more complex jobs, typically those that include adding a water cooler, aren’t so difficult that you can’t figure it out without issue. The game even simplifies ordering parts and checking your email with a tablet that’s available at all times. Just press “T” and you have access to several useful apps.

It’s a little deceptive, as building a gaming PC comes with many challenges that weren’t present in the game. For instance, static electricity can be a killer to many components. It would have been neat to have a “static meter” to serve as sort of the game’s “villain.”

If you think of similar games like flight or surgeon simulators, there’s a way to lose, and you’re bound to hit that “game over” screen at least once. That’s not really the case here. In fact, I’m not even sure you’re able to fail. I went three months with negative $3,000 in my account, having paid no rent and no utilities, and the most I received were gently worded emails about the surmounting bill. That leads me to believe things like rent and utilities are inconsequential, and the only thing that can hinder progress is a negative balance that freezes your bank account.

Note: I was still able to buy over $2,000 in product before the overdrawn account was even frozen.

It’s a shame there’s no real challenge to it, as it makes the Career Mode kind of pointless. All you have to do is keep your bank account in the green, which is incredibly easy to do.

Should You Buy PC Building Simulator 2?

There is a specific audience for a game like PC Building Simulator 2, and that’s one that appreciates a slow-paced, soothing experience. There are no explosions or random alien invasions. You just spend the bulk of your time meandering your shop, purchasing items from your convenient tablet, unscrewing the tiniest of screws, installing new components, and collecting your payment. There’s a ton of repetition, which will grate on some after a short spell.

The most exciting thing I did was paint a case lime green. However, those that appreciate a good simulator or are really into building their own gaming PCs will find a lot to enjoy. Even as someone who’s not big into either, I can see the calming entertainment value. And it’s neat that I learned a thing or two along the way.

I do wish Spiral House was more conscious about adding some semblance of difficulty, as the game falls completely flat when it comes to a challenge. I couldn’t lose even when I tried to, which negates the need for a full Career Mode. Outside of being directed to perform a specific task and managing an easy-to-maintain bank account, it offers the same experience as the Free Build mode.

There’s no doubt that PC Building Simulator 2 looks good, and it’s neat to see the RGB lighting of certain components. But, again, these elements are going to appeal to a very niche audience, which is where I fear the game will fumble the most. For as good and as surprisingly entertaining as it is, it’s not going to appeal to the masses. Add on that it’s exclusive to the Epic Game Store, which is no stranger to controversy, and you have the makings of a potentially missed opportunity.

I’ll remain optimistic, though, as I can see PC gaming enthusiasts sharing their builds and showcasing what they plan on dropping a heap of money on.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $24.99

Here’s What We Like

  • Large library of real PC components
  • Teaches a bit about building a gaming PC
  • Bite-sized learning curve
  • Free Mode encourages creativity

And What We Don't

  • Career Mode is too easy and forgiving
  • It's impossible to fail at a job
  • Not every detail is 100% accurate
  • Repetitive and forgettable soundtrack

Mark LoProto Mark LoProto
Mark is a freelance reviewer for How-To Geek and Review Geek, a seasoned freelance writer, and a marketing manager with a strong footing in the gaming and esports industries. He’s been featured across the net on Cultured Vultures, Heavy.com, Bloody Disgusting, and more. Read Full Bio »