Released: April 21st 2017
Have you ever wanted to live out the fantasy of being the boss of your own city? It’s the stuff of an egotists dream. Well dream no more because Cities: Skylines will make it all a reality. It’s been doused with a whole heap of realism, from needing enough inhabitants to unlock certain key aspects of a city all the way through to worrying about water, sanitation, taxes and how to provide enough power without heavy amounts of pollution.
“How on earth did an Ice-Cube Factory catch fire?!”
The award winning city management game has now been optimised for use with a controller by Tantalus Media, and also features the nightlife expansion Cities: Skylines – After Dark, allowing players to plan for and accommodate a whole host of night time and tourist attractions. There are two main modes of play, which although similar offer two very different play styles, although the game features no tutorial barring a few pop up boxes when an action is made for the first time. It’s like being the Bear Grylls of City Building, except with less drinking of bodily fluids.
The main mode of play requires players to build a city to attract citizens, starting with a limited monetary supply. Build roads, choose where each of the three main zones will be (Residential, Commercial and Industrial) and then provide power, water and sewage to all of them. As more people arrive, different Milestones are unlocked bringing with them additional areas with which to build upon. On the face of it this is simple, but can get increasingly complex when things like noise pollution from the factories, environmental lobbyists complaining about burning fossil fuels, taxes and location of trash disposal areas are taken in to account. Often a very fine line exists between pleasing everyone and no one, and players must tread carefully. Try too hard to please everyone and face bankruptcy, don’t try hard enough and soon the only inhabitants will be the tumbleweeds. The second, and somewhat easier, mode comes with an unlimited supply of money and all milestones unlocked. While this will block players from unlocking achievements, it allows far more scope for a carefully thought out city to be constructed, as everything is available right from the get go. Budding city planners will be in their element, as even budgets for various sectors and amenities are adjustable to suit various needs. Interestingly, budgets can be adjusted for time of day, so funds can really be sent where they’re needed at a given time.
Alas, as ever, there are bad points to the game. Although optimised to use a controller, the control system is a little fiddly, though over time this will become less of an issue. Waiting for milestones can take a while, so the lack of a fast-forward option on the game speed feels slightly like an oversight. That being said, if it is taking too long there is plenty of space to try and plan out cities and place the roads nice and early. The lack of urgency early on also gives players a chance to familiarise themselves with the control system, so it does have a silver lining to the lack of a fast forward.
A fantastic time-killer, and so absorbing the hours will fly by. Strangely addictive and gives a real sense of achievement for reaching new milestones. Yet, a slow start and lack of a tutorial can hold it back, but not by enough to be concerned.