Construction is a dirty, messy, sweaty, backbreaking job. Just ask any tradesman. Wood shavings, plaster dust, bent nails, mud, paint spills and, well, you get the picture. Fortunately, you won’t get dirt under your fingernails or even break a sweat in Reflexive’s upcoming Build in Time, a game similar to Hipsot’s Build-a-Lot.

A click management diversion, Build in Time offers play akin to the likes of the Diner Dash series, but with a focus on house construction rather than food service. In this case, filling each client’s order by building the home of his or her dreams.

A tutorial on basics of construction management and tips provided at the start of each level assist in mastering the nuances of play, while progression from level to level, based on the years ranging from 1950 to 2009 (a total of 60), gradually introduces new game elements. You also have a choice of modes to consider, Standard and Kids. In the former, you’re required to meet client needs in a timely fashion and fulfill revenue goals on each level. In the latter, you can’t lose. Customers won’t become impatient and no revenue requirements need be met.

Construction begins with the selection of a house. Drop it on a vacant lot and your building crew will start work. When complete, add paint and it’s ready for sale. It all begins with a call from a customer. Thought balloons depict the type and color of house wanted, as well as the kind of garage, if any, and other landscaping preferences. Simply follow directions to the letter, move the homeowners in when ready and collect the financial rewards.

Of course, there’s a bit more to Build in Time. The goal is to keep your customers happy, their demeanor depicted by a row of hearts. The quicker you complete a home, the happier they’ll be – and the greater your revenue. Allow their happiness to plummet below two hearts, though, and house value declines. Initially, it’s not a problem. But, as more and more would-be homeowners appear, the job becomes more difficult. The remedy, however, is simple. To maintain a positive clientele, you need to keep all your crews busy. While one is building a house the other can be painting one that’s already completed or adding landscape elements.

Moreover, continuous and rapid clicking while its being built and painted can speed up work on a home. It’s like the foreman hovering over his workers shouting, “Work faster!” If you want the happiest clients and greatest revenue, it’s something you need to do. In fact, it’s essential for advancing in Standard Mode due to revenue requirements. Provided you’ve reached your goals, when a year’s complete you can view your neighborhood, replay the level or continue to the next.

In addition to completing the basic revenue goal, for which you’ll earn a star, you can receive an additional star on each level by completing an optional task. The stars earned doing so provide greater rewards as you progress through the game, so it’s worth netting them when possible. Optional tasks include such things as reserving lots for specific clients near special terrain features or significant landmarks, securing larger lots for those with greater needs and maintaining a set overall happiness average.

As with most click management games, you have regular opportunity to add upgrades. At the start of each year (level), you’re shown the upgrades available, their cost and how much cash is available. Initially, you can’t afford the most helpful items. In fact, the first upgrades you purchase have a minimal effect on the game, appliances, for instance (to appease impatient customers). Still, as revenues increase, more useful upgrades become available such as additional and faster crews, various new homes and garages, helpers and landscape add-ons like gardens and pools.

But, that’s not all. As indicated earlier, Build in Time incorporates a chronological element. While play starts out in 1950, it progresses to 2009. This includes a change in home construction, hair and clothing styles, house prices, and music to match the current decade. It also features a match-three twist to play. When you build three of the same style or color of houses in a row vertically or horizontally, you earn a Mega Click Assist, granting the temporary ability to build or paint houses lightning fast!

Though still lacking a final coat, the game’s rock solid. It sports great visuals, catchy music and intense play that should make for an engaging experience, especially for those who love management-style titles. Slated for an imminent release, fans of the genre should check out Build in Time when it arrives. It looks to be an above-grade release for wannabe contractors. In the meantime, you just may want to invest in a hard hat.