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City Building Games Like SimCity
City Building Games Like SimCity
Searching for city building games like SimCity? As a long time fan of the series I've put together a list of my favourite alternatives for a variety of budgets, platforms and tastes.
Whether you're a SimCity veteran or new to the genre you'll find a game that suits your needs on this page. I've been in love with the SimCity franchise since I was first introduced to it (at a much younger age), since then I've followed the series closely but also dabbled in the other city building games that are available.
Something about being able to create my own thriving city and watch it evolve before me has always interested me. I like to have control of the way my town is ultimately shaped and love how these sorts of games can provide hundreds of hours in their sandbox game modes as you try all sorts of different combinations.
As a dedicated gamer I always love to hear other opinions though so please don't hesitate to leave your own thoughts and suggestions for this city building games like SimCity list in the comment section.
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If the money and economic side of the SimCity series has always been the main attraction to you then consider signing up and playing Anno online. One of the great economic city builders of its time. It's completely free to play inside your browser which makes it accessible to everyone.
Heavily inspired by the popular Anno series which is itself half city builder, half strategy game and half economic simulator (yes it's 150% of a game). You'll explore economic expansion in Anno Online taking a small simple settlement through the ages to a more advanced central hub of trade.
With plenty of quests and scenarios to overcome you'll find good variety as you have to fend of rivals, work around complex land formations and more to build the ultimate settlement. This task orientated approach to gameplay is easy to follow while also giving the game plenty of structure. For those that prefer to have more control though it is easy to take a a path off the beaten track.
The Settlers Online
If you want more building elements in your experience then The Settlers name should come as no surprise to those that have followed the city building and strategy game genre for years.
As the name of the series suggests it is very much about building up your own settlement and of course facing countless challenges along the way. This building element ties in closely with the society structure of the game as players grow their society in a way that increases their citizens status and quality of life.
The graphics also play an important role in bringing your settlement to life as you watch your little settlers move around the game world completing their daily tasks.
Settlers fan or not the free to play nature and simple design (but still plenty of strategy) makes The Settlers Online worthy of a spot on this list.
The Cities XL series has always been the best of the city building games like SimCity for me, with several releases under its belt the updates to the game have taken it from a good experience to a great one.
The game series has a nice blend of building, transport and other customisation options which is why it's first on my personal list.
Building wise you've got an amazing amount of variety in terms of both commercial and residential properties. You've also got plenty of social classes to consider in designing the ultimate city which does give the game more simulation elements than most games like SimCity that I've played.
I also really liked the importance that the game places on transport because I like to feel in complete control of my infrastructure and fitting it into my grand city plan.
I'm hoping that this city building game like SimCity will catch a few readers off guard because I simply don't see it recommend much at all when the topic comes up in discussion.
Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile is definitely an older game and it's more than just city building with strategy also playing an important role.
The game is mostly about building a thriving civilization that encompasses everyone from workers to people in the government. All of this is tied together in a great Egyptian style setting, this historical setting definitely hasn't been touched in the same way since which is why I really love it.
Your focus like most city building games is keeping all your citizens happy and meeting their needs. If you can't meet the varied needs of all the classes in your city then you'll have a revolt on your hands.
The best aspect of the game though is the realistic aspects that really make it feel like you are in control and even a part of the civilization.
Tycoon City: New York
Like many people around the world I have a love for New York City and in this game I got the option to recreate the entire city (landmarks included) but with my own personal spin.
Building New York takes place through the campaign mode which slowly unlocks more of the city for you to build. If you'd rather just have complete control straight away then nothing is stopping you from loading up the game in a sandbox mode instead which gives you more freedom over the experience.
As the name might suggest to you the game is more than city building though it's also got tycoon style elements as you have to carefully pick and choose which businesses you place to maximise your profit and keep you expanding.
As someone who also likes the tycoon game genre I found it very easy to slip into this genre combination and found it quite enjoyable.
I always love a video game that works humour into the gameplay and Tropico 4 has it in spades (along with the rest of the franchise). I consider Tropico 4 to definitely be the best of the series which is why I'm recommending it here but the other games (currently up to Tropico 5, are equally satisfying).
In the game you'll get to play the leader of your own island nation as you play dictator and control the country in the way that you see fit.
How the game plays out is entirely up to you with a huge amount of depth to customise your personal character (including unique traits and the story of how you rose to power). Gameplay comes in both campaign and sandbox modes like most good city building games.
Tropico 4 takes the series to new heights in my opinion by giving you an insane amount of depth. From choosing laws to picking your cabinet to the balancing of relationships with external factions.
If you're on the hunt for one of the more casual games like SimCity I think Tropico 4 is perfect with so much humour in a game that doesn't ever take itself too seriously it's a great option for people that want high entertainment value.
No list of city building games like SimCity would be complete without offering some sort of free to play game that is available on a smartphone. Many gamers including myself love the flexibility in gaming that iOS and Android devices offer.
The ability to play on the go (while eating up battery and data!) is growing and after looking long and hard I decided that Megapolis was the one that I liked the most. The ratings on the Google Play store are over 300,000 while the iTunes store currently has nearly 20,000. With an average of a 4 star rating (current version at 4.5 stars) it's hard to deny that the game is high quality.
Your job in the game is to build up your cities infrastructure with a big focus on power producing structures and transportation. Bringing it all together are some impressive graphics that really bring the city in your hand to life. In terms of depth you've got hundreds of different buildings so I always felt like I actually had decisions to make.
Guiding the entire city building experience is quests and achievements so I did always feel like I had something to chase as well.
Images on this page are either provided by the respective developers or are my own images from the game. They are used solely for review and identification purposes.
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SimCity Related Pages:
- SimCity 2000™ Special Edition - GOG.com
Want to go back to the roots of SimCity? GOG (Good Old Games) has SimCity 2000 at a bargain price ($6!)
- Games Like SimCity (Games Finder)
If that urge to create is still there then this larger list of city building games is a good place to start.
- Reddit - SimCity
Discuss the game that you love with like minded individuals on this subreddit dedicated to SimCity.