Cities: Skylines was developed by Colossal Order, whose previous games consist of Cities In Motion 1 & 2 and published by Paradox Interactive whose previous games include Crusader Kings 1&2, Hearts of Iron 1 – 4 and a list of published games longer than my arm (Magicka possibly being the most well known).
It was a just over a month ago that I reviewed Cities: XXL. Cities: Skylines is from a completely different developer and Skylines has nothing to do with that game, which is a good thing. Why you ask? Read on.
When you start up Cities: Skylines you’ll notice there is no tutorial option. The tutorial appears in the form of pop-up hints as you progress through your game, this is an open-ended city building game as such your game will continue for as long or short as you want it to.
You’re given the choice of 9 maps to start your city in, as is customary each map has its own resource stats, levels may have Forests, Ores or Oil reserves placed somewhere upon them and if you wanted to you could dedicate industrial areas to specialise in production using one of those resources.
Your starter area will have a highway ramp located near the edge of the building area, this will be where your new citizens will drive into your town, so don’t forget to connect both sections to a road. My first town went bankrupt because I failed to notice I was only connected to the on ramp.
With your first road down, you are left to plan out your town. From this point you will need to balance the wants and needs of your citizens whilst trying to balance your budget and taxes; tax too high and you will lose your citizens, tax too low and you will start losing money very quickly.
The interface is beautifully simple, helpful hints will teach what each button and option does. There is also a Skylines version of Twitter, complete with hashtags called Chirper, this will tell you exactly how your citizens are feeling, what they want more of or just tell you how well or bad you are doing. If you click on the citizens name you will be taken to his or her home, which is very useful for finding out where the problem areas of your city are.
Get bored of the 9 maps? Make your own! Cities: Skyline comes complete with a map editor that is ridiculously easy to use, as well as an asset editor to use if you wished to create/edit any in game structure more to your liking.
I’ve always found that City Builder games will either survive or die due to the size of the area available to make your cities, Skylines has possibly one of the largest map sizes I’ve seen. You start in a tile that’s roughly 2km by 2km, and as your city population expands so can your building area, up to 9 tiles by default although there are 25 tiles to choose from, and there are a number of mods on the steam workshop to open up all 25 tiles if your PC can handle it.
Yes, despite only being recently released, the community has created a vast array of mods, maps and custom buildings to download; of course using any form of mod disables your Steam achievements, unless you use the mod that enables them while using mods.
My one and only problem with the game is the complete lack of an auto save function. After accidentally kicking the power cable and causing my PC to reboot, I found that the previous hour of gameplay had been lost, which was pretty disheartening. But again, there is a mod for that on the workshop, hopefully Colossal Order will add that in a future patch.
Cities: Skylines is an essential purchase for any city builder fan and after the demise of Maxis the chances of a new SimCity game is pretty low. Cities: Skylines looks to be the game that fills the SimCity gap that has been left behind.