The Best Of The City Building Games Genre

by Seelyon

Looking for city building games? I've put together a list of my favourites in the genre that I've loved for my entire gaming career.

Looking for city building games? I've put together a list of my favourites in the genre that I've loved for my entire gaming career.

Tycoon, strategy and city building games are probably one of the gaming genres that I continue to return to on a regular basis. I love having control over an entire city and being in charge of decisions that effect the lives of my tiny citizens below.

These days it isn't hard to find countless games that let you live out the city building fantasy but like most game genres not all of these experiences are fond ones. As such I've put together this small but helpful list of what I consider to be the best in the genre, not everyone will agree with me and I'd love to hear your constructive comments about your own favourites in the comment section.

Images on this page are used for review purposes and are provided by game media departments for the purpose of review and critique.

SimCity Series

The Father Of City Building Games

No list of city building games would be complete without the game that started it all. I haven't missed a single PC game in the SimCity series from the very first game in 1989 to the most recent release in 2013.  And you know what? I've loved every single one of them (okay I'll admit that SimCity 2013 had launch issues, but it is a great game now!)

SimCity is the definition of a city building game with your task being the creation and development of a thriving metropolis. With the ability to also alter terrains throughout the series it's definitely an all inclusive experience. Your goal in the games don't vary much and will have you focusing on maintaining a certain level of happiness in your city and keeping your finances steady.

Despite being the same general experience the games did keep evolving your available options and areas that needed your attention so each did feel different enough to purchase and play.

For newcomers to the genre or old timers wanting to get back into the heart of the genre I can't not include the SimCity series at number one on this city building games list.

SimCity: Limited Edition

The defining city simulation is back! Create the city you desire and make the choices that shape your city and power the Sims within it. Every decision, big or small, has real c...

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SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition [Download]

SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition turns you into a citizen, a criminal, an architect, a mayor, even a god -- bringing you deeper into SimLife than ever! As you create railways, ferries, ...

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Cities In Motion 2

Focus On Transportation In This City Building Game

Cities In Motion 2 was definitely one of the city building games that split fans of the genre into two, I personally really liked the game but not everybody got the same fun experience out of it as me. I do encourage you to check it out as  I think it's a really overlooked game in the genre with a huge amount of depth and replay potential despite being deceptively simple on the surface.

The idea behind the game which is somewhat portrayed in the name is that the player focuses on building up the transport infrastructure of a city. Depending on what transport you use and where you place it parts of the city will develop around these routes, as it would in real life.

Transport options include making use of buses, ferries, trams and trains which all combine to create your ultimate transport network. With nice small touches like day/night cycles, timetables and multiplayer the game covers plenty of different angles.

Some will argue that it's not a true city building game but I can't deny how much fun and how many hours I've gotten from Cities In Motion 2.  It's worth checking out at least once if you want something a little different.

Cities in Motion II [Online Game Code]

Cities in Motion 2 Cities in Motion 2 (CIM2) is the sequel to the popular mass transit simulation game Cities in Motion. Build, manage and lead your transportation network to pr...

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Cities XL 2011 and 2012

Another One Of My Favourite City Building Games

Cities XL is often a close second to SimCity for most people and it's easy to see why with a game that takes a lot of inspiration from the series. The game isn't trying to be a rip-off though and introduces plenty of its own ideas and direction so that the experience is different enough.

The franchise has three games available (Cities XL, Cities XL 2011 and Cities XL 2012), I recommend sticking to the two most recent games which are both readily available and in my opinion are the much better offerings. They are actually closely linked in terms of gameplay with Cities XL 2012 really just being an updated version with more options (maps, structures, etc).

The games brand themselves as a city simulator experience rather than a straight city builder. This is mostly a true representation as the games do have really in depth non building elements like taxes, trading and transport.

I'd recommend Cities XL to people who enjoy city building but don't want the entire experience to focus on it.

Cities XL 2011 [Download]

Imagine and Conceive cities of all types and sizes on Cities XL planet. From a several million citizens megalopolis to a hyped seaside resort, to an industrial city, everything ...

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Cities XL 2012 - PC

Discover the first images of Cities XL 2012! Content is key to the new game, as Cities XL 2012 offers a staggering number of unique structures with over 1,000 in total, and also...

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Rising Cities

One Of The Few Free City Building Games I've Enjoyed

Like most fans of SimCity I've played plenty of free city buildings over the years and none of them have come close to offering a good Simcity like experience. This changed the day that I started playing Rising Cities and I believe the game deserves to be on the same list as these paid games.

In the game you'll get develop your own vacant area of land into something worthy of a city name. How this city takes shape is completely in your hands with options to develop something urban or high rise depending on your tastes.

You'll need to carefully use your management and strategy skills to get there though. By carefully managing your income from rent and your expenditure on infrastructure you can build your own thriving city.

If your gaming budget is an issue on your search for city building games then Rising Cities is your solution.

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Updated: 08/30/2019, Seelyon
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