Cities: Skylines

Good
  • Insane level of city control across all aspects of city life lets you micro to your desire
  • Various starting maps that alter your starting position and city growth to ensure great replay value
Bad
  • Extensive amount of DLC content that requires a significant purchase to access all available developed content and is becoming increasingly shallow
8.5

Cities: Skylines brings the city building and simulation genre into modern times with an impressive 2015 release offering that brings new challenges and opportunities to keen city planners everywhere. Since this original game release on computer platforms the game has also expanded to various console experiences which are often a rare place for titles within this genre. Alongside this expansion of platforms Cities: Skylines has advanced its available content and challenges with a growing list of downloadable content.

cities-skylines-gameplay-map

Designed as a single player adventure that provides players with an open ended city framework you’ll be responsible for planning an entire city from start to finish. Not only does this mean building the actual structures but also requires players to zone areas, determine road placement, ensure sufficient public services and the associated budget to fund it.

For the most part players are completely free design their landscapes as they please and can start with any of the game maps. With the base game having a dozen such options players can opt for wide open Green Plains, a Two Rivers setup or even Islands which can alter your strategy by altering the available natural resources and methods of growth that your city might be able to access.

cities-skylines-gameplay-traffic-planning

Building off these various vacant lots of land players will start by creating vital infrastructure such as roads, power plants, water pumps, landscaping, parks, unique buildings and other basic services that are the foundation of any city. Careful planning of these basic functions is of course key to the long term success as things like traffic, environment and basic citizen needs can quickly turn into a headache during the later parts of the game if not planned out from the start.

This results in an experience where after each playthrough you’ll have one additional element of mastery to factor into your future plans to push your city to new limits. Just like real world cities though not everything can be pre-planned otherwise you’ll find yourself without a prosperous city at the lower population levels and unable to reach the necessary milestones to progress.

cities-skylines-gameplay-overhead

With your basic infrastructure in place players will then turn to the two other central pillars of Cities: Skylines which is governance and general city management. On the governance side players will have a list of milestones that unlock extra services, buildings, areas and funds to push your city borders further and generally guide your progression. You’ll also have to zone areas as residential, commercial, industrial, office and municipal that influences what is available for building and then can become named districts.

One of the most unique governance elements though is the policies that players set across services, taxation and city planning that impacts how your city operates. At the basic level this might be a water policy that reduces consumption around your town for additional upkeep costs or the advanced extra insulation policy that creates energy efficient homes but lowers tax income. These all flow into your general city management mechanics which give you a large host of information around citizens, happiness, economy, natural resources, tourism and pollution that each need to be balanced and again have subsequent impacts to consider.

Summary:

  • Create your own city from scratch on a diverse range of challenging game maps with their own challenging designs.
  • Strive to achieve various milestones in each game that will allow your basic city to become a thriving metropolis.
  • Design the transport services, landscaping, parks, services and special buildings on your map grid for maximum efficiency.
  • Balance your citizens, the economy, resources and tourism to keep a happy city that also minimises its environmental impact.
  • Originally for computer gamers and now expanded to a diverse roster of console platforms

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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