If “SimCity” put you off city-builders, “Cities: Skylines” will make you fall in love again – Review

I’ve long been a fan of the SimCity franchise. My first foray into the series was with SimCity 2000 for the PlayStation and I subsequently enjoyed SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4 on the PC. Like many others, SimCity (2013) was a disappointment and while I didn’t hate it anywhere near as much as some, everything was just so limited.

Since SimCity (2013), I haven’t touched anything SimCity-related but I’d been told that Cities: Skylines could fill the void in my heart. Thanks to a Steam sale, I picked up a copy of the Deluxe Edition for next to nothing and was ready to start building Indienapolis (you’re welcome).

So does Cities: Skylines satisfy my dreams of mayoral domination?

Pros

Unparalleled control over your city

Cities with character

Tonnes of DLC and extra content available

Cons

Cumbersome menus

Unwelcoming for newcomers

As a fan SimCity, I was delighted to see that this game is almost a carbon-copy on the surface; I could get straight into it. While there are some tooltips to get you started, I was straight into placing roads and zoning the familiar residential, commercial, and industrial zones just like in the good old days.

Cities: Skylines really shines once you start to tinker with your city. The amazing amount of control afforded to the player means that you can build your city however you want. The ability to outline districts and independently manage policies is great, too. After all, you might want to increase educational spending in an area that needs it but not across your whole city (which can be costly and quickly upset the balance).

Of course, all this control has its drawbacks, too. Cities: Skylines isn’t for those new to city-builders. In fact, with menus upon menus upon menus, the cumbersome layout of the game can make it very unwelcoming for those new to the genre.

If you can get past this, the benefit to all this control is that your cities feel more unique than they ever did in the SimCity games. There are plenty of things that you can plop into your cities once you earn them and the different road layouts and building options allow you to make unique cities.

If you get as obsessed with this game as I have (there is definitely a “just one more turn” feel to it), there have also been plenty of add-ons and DLC since the game’s release. Just expect to pay an eye-watering amount to get them all.

For me, the Deluxe Edition is keeping me more than entertained… for the time being.

The Verdict

This is a great game for anyone who loved SimCity and has been desperate to get back into the genre since its earlier (and more enjoyable) editions. While not very welcoming for newcomers, once you’ve got into the game, there’s a lot on offer for aspiring mayors.

Cities: Skylines was developed by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive. It’s available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

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