- Game: Cities: Skylines
- Consoles: PC, Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed)
- Publisher: Paradox Interactive
- Developer: Colossal Order
Cities: Skylines is a new take on an ever shrinking genre. It has been several years since the release of a new SimCity game and we may never see one at this rate. Although the city-building genre hasn’t really ever been wildly popular, there is still an audience for it. Cities: Skylines takes the formula of SimCity and does a lot of things right.
Cities: Skylines has been available on PC since 2015 but console players haven’t gotten a chance to play until this year with the Xbox One release coming earlier this year and the PS4 release coming today. The user interface has received an overall to accommodate for a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard. For the most part this works, but I found myself wanting a mouse and keyboard more often than not. Using a controller isn’t bad but it’s hard to escape the feeling that this game was designed for mouse and keyboard users.
Fortunately, that’s one of the few issues with the game I really ran into. For those who haven’t played Skylines or any city builder before then everything can be a little daunting. You do have access to tips and tutorials but in my experience the quickest way to learn was to go out and do it. If this is your first time playing then you also have the luxury of players likely having asked the same questions you have now so you can find them rather easily on the web. The game could certainly do a better job at telling you what to do. There are situations where it says you’ll need more residential buildings but then you’ll see a whole district of abandoned residential buildings, leaving you to wonder whether you really need those buildings or not.
In terms of actual gameplay, there’s a lot to love if you’re a fan of the genre. When you first start out with your city, it lies on what looks like a little plot of land. As more people move into your city you’ll start to unlock additional buildings such as hospitals, fire departments, police departments, etc. You’ll also have the ability to purchase more land and make your city even bigger. Like SimCity, you also have complete control over the amount of taxes you take from your citizens, the city’s budget as a whole, and other things to make you feel like the city is really yours to control.
As mayor of the city, you do have an approval rating that is pretty hard to tank. Even with multiple abandoned buildings and burned down plots of land, I found it hard to make my city turn against me. The only way I can see your city getting really mad at you is if you flat out don’t build police stations, fire stations and other essential buildings. If your whole city burns down and becomes overrun by crime then I can safely say your city won’t like you. If that happens then you might be better suited to being mayor of Gotham City.
Where Cities: Skylines really shines is when your city becomes as living metropolis. After playing for an hour or so, don’t forget to take a step back and marvel at the various moving parts of your city. If you zoom into the road, you’ll see people living their everyday lives in a world you created. That is just one of many simple pleasures this game makes available to you. There really isn’t much more to say about Cities: Skylines that hasn’t already been said two years ago. It’s a great game and if you’re a fan of the genre then you’re doing yourself a disservice to not pick this up. If the PC is an option available to you, I’d recommend you go that route. If console is your only choice, it will more than suffice.
- Excellent city builder
- The ability to create sprawling cities is unmatched by any game
- Hard to make your citizens hate you
- Mouse and keyboard is a better option
- Moderate learning curve
- Hard to make your citizens hate you