All difficulty settings in SteamWorld Build

Guards and turrets attacking enemies in SteamWorld Build
Credit: Thunderful Publishing

Guards and turrets attacking enemies in SteamWorld Build
Credit: Thunderful Publishing

New to the city building genre, and not sure which difficulty setting is right for you? The start of your journey in SteamWorld Build can be daunting, so this guide will explain all difficulty settings in SteamWorld Build.

Beyond the binary choice between easy, normal, and hard, SteamWorld Build offers some interesting toggles. These let players skip story content and tutorials, making repeat playthroughs an interruption-free experience.

If you're eager for more SteamWorld, look no further than our SteamWorld Build guides. We can teach you how to get gold nuggets, reveal the game's PC requirements, and let you know if it's on Game Pass.

A built-up city in SteamWorld Build
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Credit: Thunderful Publishing

All difficulty settings in SteamWorld Build

When making a new game, players are given several toggles and difficulty options to choose between. We've explained each one in turn below.


It may seem like an insignificant choice, but the destination players choose will have a large impact on the layout of their city. Landscapes, indestructible props, and train tracks are all totally different; beginners are encouraged to choose Giddyup Gorge.

When completing the game's story, the destination players chose will also provide a different landmark building. The effects of each one are shown below, and they must be placed for the effects to activate.

Landmark Building
Giddyup Gorge
Train Depot
The train arrives faster and the train store has a mega sale.
Highroller Dunes
Desert Star
Free roads and conveyor belts
Grand Gully
Rail Rush
Free item chance in the train store and additional item slots
More tumbleweeds and they grant an extra reward
Fossil Park
Natural History Museum
Faster miners and fewer tiles required for rooms and quarters


There are four difficulty options in SteamWorld Build, giving players the power to customise their experience as they see fit.

Sandbox difficulty provides a relaxing experience, but is not recommended for beginners. Every resource, tier of the mines, and building is available in unlimited amounts immediately. It's easy for new players to be overwhelmed if they haven't tried the story first, and achievements can't be unlocked in this difficulty.

Casual is the game's most beginner-friendly difficulty. It promises plentiful resources, low building costs, and enemies that are easy to defeat. For players that love SteamWorld but aren't familiar with city building games, this is a good choice.

Balanced is the recommended difficulty for first timers. It provides a decent challenge, with resource management and challenging enemies keeping things interesting.

Difficult is a challenge. Players will need to manage resources carefully, as destroying buildings yields no resources, and enemies are both numerous and more aggressive.

New game setup screen in SteamWorld Build
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Credit: Kieron West // StealthOptional

Optional Toggles

As mentioned previously, there's more to the game's setup process than just picking an area and difficulty.

The tutorial can be toggled on and off, saving lots of time and hand-holding for players that are used to the game. If you're used to city building games, it may still be worth leaving this on for a general guidance it provides.

Similarly, the game's story can be toggled, with the only major drawback being the lack of dialogue after each milestone is reached.

Finally, players can choose if their city's mine map is randomised or not. Speedrunners may wish to keep a set layout, while a random layout could keep things interesting in repeated playthroughs.

That's every difficulty option in SteamWorld Build! For more, find out how to get sand or check out our early hands-on preview of the game.

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