A city-building game is a simple simulation game in which you build the city of your dreams.
This game allows you to construct, decorate, and expand your city or town according to your preferences. The city-building game is relaxing and challenging, balancing strategic challenges with relaxing gameplay, and involves planning infrastructure, housing, and tourism.
The core gameplay is the same, no matter which game you choose. It can be classified as a simulation game devoted to planning and construction. City builder games will serve you well if you are a city planner or wish to relax after a long day at work.
What makes city-building games fun to play?
Players in a city-building game are responsible for overseeing and planning the growth and development of an entire city or town. Such games allow players to design and customize the city according to their preferences.
Players can boost their motivation, attention, and mood by playing these games. These games can also serve as a means of distraction and help keep stress at bay.
A major feature of city-building games is that they emphasize no-win scenarios, which test players’ mental strength and decision-making abilities.
However, here are the top city-building games you can enjoy across all platforms. Let’s explore!
Anno 1800 lets you build a thriving industrial metropolis from farmland and warehouses during the Industrial Revolution. You can still attract tourists to your zoos and museums in the game.
Storyline – This game features an interactive story campaign, a customizable sandbox, and an exciting multiplayer mode. You can either challenge yourself against AI characters or beautify a colossal empire.
The key to winning Anno 1800 is attracting foreign investors and tourists, just like in popular 4X games. The game has three modes: campaign, multiplayer, and sandbox. You should also be aware of other islands’ decisions and reputations because you’ll compete with them.
Your business town will grow if you keep your employees happy. There’s even a local newspaper that reports on your city’s successes and failures. While Anno 1800 ignores the dark facts of the era, its captivating storyline and picturesque scenery make it highly compelling.
Developer – Ubisoft Mainz
Release Date – March 16, 2023
Platforms it’s available on Xbox Series X|S / PlayStation 5
Caesar 3 – PC
Caesar III is part of the popular Caesar series of city-building games. In the game, the player controls a Roman governor whose task is to save and protect the citizens of his city.
Storyline – Caesar III allows players to build cities, define zones, and talk with their province’s people. Trade and leisure are available, but you must stay in your town. Also, disaster can occur if you do not please the Gods.
It consists of two game modes: main campaign mode, where you advance by completing goals, and free build mode, where there is no emperor or goal to worry about. However, invasions and attacks still pose a risk.
The game’s interface is divided into separate tabs. “Empire Map” allows you to trade with other Roman cities. You will also get other cool features. You are not required to get involved, but it will benefit you.
Developer – Impressions Games
Release Date – September 30, 1998
Platforms it’s available on – Windows 98, Windows 95
Cities: Skylines (Nintendo Switch)
City: Skylines is one of the most popular city-building games available. It combines old and new elements to make city building more enjoyable. Since its release in 2015, the game has become a fan favorite.
Storyline – The game City: Skylines introduces the classic city simulation game into a modern context. It provides you with the excitement and challenges of building and protecting a real city while exploring well-established principles of city building.
As a city player, you manage the city’s public amenities, transportation, road placement, and taxation. You must also monitor the city’s economic, social, and environmental conditions.
The classic city simulation game Cities: Skylines has been updated with various gameplay elements to illustrate the excitement and challenges associated with building and maintaining a real city.
Developer – Colossal Order
Release Date – September 30, 1998
Platforms it’s available on – Windows/MacOS/Linux
Frostpunk – Console Edition
Frostpunk may sound chill, but it’s not. It’s the most challenging game in this genre, crossing over into survival and strategy. You will think of city-building games differently after playing Frostpunk’s first game.
Storyline – Players assume leadership roles during the late 19th century. In this game, you must build a city during a worldwide volcanic winter, manage resources, decide how to survive, and explore the surrounding area for survivors and resources.
In this game, the player leads an Arctic settlement in a world where humanity has been abandoned. The players gather resources quickly, expand their towns with care, and gather around a towering heat core in freezing temperatures.
It’s about building a city in a frozen world that’s trying to stay warm. You want to grow and expand, but different factions fight for control. Thrive in it, and you’ll be delighted.
Developer – 11 Bit Studios
Release Date – April 24, 2018
Platforms it’s available on – PlayStation 4
The main focus of Kingdoms Reborn is resource management and improving the lives of your residents. You can choose their location, provide them with food and luxury, and expand your area to attract more residents.
Storyline – Kingdoms Reborn’s world map and citizens are artificially generated. Growing your kingdom from a small medieval hamlet into a prosperous global empire is easy! It is up to you whether you want to compete against friends or work together.
Kingdoms Reborn offers the unique feature of playing online with other players in real time on the same map. The game can be enjoyed together by sharing gifts and resources or competitively by cornering global markets and flexing your muscles.
Playing with a friend makes it even better.
Developer – Earthshine
Release Date – November 2, 2020
Platforms it’s available on – Microsoft Windows
Romans: Age of Caeser
Romans: Age of Caesar focuses on rebuilding the Roman Empire, one of the most successful city-building empires of all time.
Storyline – Stronghold’s latest historical strategy game is Romans: Age of Caesar from Firefly Studios. Romans allowed players to rebuild an empire by gathering resources, reestablishing trade routes, and protecting shared cities from barbarians.
During your time in the game, you can construct and maintain cities with a team of 16 players while the rest of humanity builds and maintains its towns.
You’ll get resources to expand your city, defend it from barbarians, and build trade routes and relationships with other cities, just like building a big, digital empire. Having a part in it is an honor.
Developer – Firefly Studios
Release Date – April 27, 2022
Platforms it’s available on – Microsoft Windows/ Android
The Sims 4
If you’re looking for a nostalgic experience or a city-building game, The Sims 4 is one of the best. This game has excellent graphics, music, and an overall experience.
Storyline – The Sims allows users to customize their lives according to their preferences. Players must work, build relationships, manage feelings, and even have a family to fulfill their character’s wishes. The game may reflect the real-life needs and hopes of players.
You can change your Sim’s appearance, personality, and emotions. Decide what your Sim’s hairstyle, walk, and fashion will look like.
You can choose traits that let your Sims control their minds, bodies, and hearts. There’s a lot to see, unique neighborhoods, and worlds to explore. You’ll meet new people, visit parks with friends, and collect stuff.
Developer – Maxis
Release Date – September 2, 2014
Platforms it’s available on – PC, Mac, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4
Creating a historical or futuristic city on Earth is easy, but building one on Mars will be tough. There’s only one way to survive on Mars with a colony.
Storyline – Surviving Mars is the latest game from Haemimont Games, the same company that developed Tropico. It is a game where the player is responsible for building an independent colony on Mars. The colony will be capable of surviving the elements and supporting life.
In Surviving Mars, you’re on a quest to make Mars habitable, which is currently a barren wasteland. You’ll be able to see a map created using real-world data. Only try it if you’re strong.
First-timers may find the game overwhelming. There’s a steep learning curve and no instructions on how to get started. There’s no oxygen, infertile land, and a deadly atmosphere, so setting up your colony will take much work.
You’ll get colonists flocking once you build a livable settlement. Your job is to ensure they survive – which will be challenging, and you’ll have to micromanage them.
Developer – Haemimont Games, Abstraction
Release Date – March 15, 2018
Platforms it’s available on – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Classic Mac OS.
Tropico 6 – PC
Tropico 6 city builder is easy to use. If you want to achieve your overall goal, you’ll face dishonest officials, depending on the situation.
Storyline – There is no better time to be president than now. In Tropico, you can be both a fearsome dictator and a peaceful statesman and shape the fate of your banana republic throughout four eras.
Tropico 6 has many options, but making the wrong choice can be devastating. No matter what you do, losing an election is a serious matter.
As Tropico 6’s dramatic presentation shows, you’ll need to care for its system a lot, and this will make it a success. As you build more houses, you can monitor your buildings and notifications, whether you’re trying to find rebels or shacks.
Developer – Limbic Entertainment
Release Date – March 29, 2019
Platforms it’s available on – Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, macOS, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, Linux, SteamOS, and Mac operating systems.
Farthest Frontier has the potential to become something great. The game takes place in colonial America, and you must set up a settlement somewhere you’ve never been before.
Storyline – There’s a story about a group of working-class people tired of the rich squatting on them, so they set off to make it to the Farthest Frontier. That’s the dream.
It’s a more challenging city-building game. Droughts, blights, sicknesses, bandits, labor shortages, and other realistic challenges exist.
Those who want a more relaxing experience can adjust. If you’re brave, you’d prefer frontier life with all its warts and plagues.
Developer – Crate Entertainment
Release Date – August 9, 2022
Platforms it’s available on – Microsoft Windows
Now that you have better understood city-building games, it may be time to play one for yourself. So choose any of these from the list and have fun!
Deepjyoti is a technical writer having 4 years of experience in writing. He curates articles and blogs on niches like Gaming, Digital Marketing, Growing Business, Technology, etc. He has done his master’s in Business Administration. He… read more
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