The city building genre has been one of the most beloved game types the PC has ever had to offer ever since its original creation back in the late 80s. Since that time, the genre had been largely overtaken by the titanic SimCity series, but it looks as though those days are at an end. There’s a new series on the block, and its name is Cities: Skylines.
Longtime fans of SimCity were left with a sour taste in their mouth with the 2013 release of the series’ fifth installment receiving rather negative overall reviews. It seemed as if fans of the genre were just out of luck, but that was until Cities: Skylines was released earlier this year from a relatively unknown game studio.
The game is from the Finnish developer Colossal Order, and they’ve taken everything that was loved about SimCity and added a ton of great new features that are sure to simultaneously give those longtime fans of the genre that level of freedom and control they love while also introducing the city creation experience to brand new fans that have never played these types of games.
Anyone who’s played a city building game will feel right at home after loading up the game. The beginnings are the same: you’ll be able to build zones, place roads, set taxation rates, create public services, and all while working to increase your city’s population, happiness, levels of employment, and health.
Players begin with a relatively small plot of land equal to about a 2km? along with access to a major highway (to allow people to visit and move into your city). This land area is rather small for a city building game, but gives new players just the space they need to start their little city. Later on as the player starts to understand the games mechanics, they’ll be allowed to purchase neighboring land to increase the total size of their city to a gigantic 36km?.
Another thing that Colossal Order has brought to the genre is the huge amount of detail present in the game. It really feels like a living, breathing city when you’re able to zoom in on individual citizens and follow them around from home to work and see them live out their lives. They’ll even be able to contact you with their concerns using an in-game communication system to let you know just what they want. In addition to that, there’s also great water physics that allow you to erect dams or even totally flood areas out. Overall, there are a ton of great features such as these that take full advantage of the powerful computers we have today.
One of the greatest things that sets Cities: Skylines ahead of its peers is the access to the Steam Workshop. This openness allows players to create their own assets in the game and share them with others online. They’ll be able to fiddle with virtually everything from difficulty, to area, to graphics, to basic mechanics. The game really gives players the total freedom they want to make their city just how they want it.
Overall the game is a great addition to the city building genre and one that will be talked about for many years to come.