My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I received the game Cities: Skylines from my boyfriend who purchased it via Steam. I’m obsessed! He bought me the deluxe edition, which had a few real life structures, like the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.
Cities: Skylines is a city builder game, very similar to SimCity, but I have never been as addicted playing SimCity as I have playing this game. For the past few nights, I’ve been staying up late (on Saturday night past 3:00am), constantly trying to improve my towns and cities!
So far I’ve made a few different towns and cities. The first one I made was to basically learn how to play, learning how to connect electricity, water, and building roads. After I got the basics down, I made another city where I tried to master plan the zones and use the entire map right away! That didn’t work out, and I had issues with the fire department and other services not being able to get around the city efficiently. Everything was too far out, and it wasn’t built how a city would naturally grow and develop.
The third city that I made, I did a lot better! I was getting the hang of things, and my zones were placed properly. However, I almost destroyed an industrial sector of my town. By placing a sufficient amount of schools, eventually your whole population becomes educated, whereas when you start building, no one is educated. Those uneducated people are able to easily fill the jobs provided in the industrial zone. However, this depends on what industry you make it. My industrial zone had no specialization until I changed it to a forestry district. Over time, however, as the population became more populated, they had a lower desire to work in places that they were overeducated for, and so my forestry district began to suffer. Companies were closing down, and I had to bulldoze quite a bit. I eventually got it back to normal by having a better balance of industries, commercial, and office zoning, but that was a lesson that I learned.
In the latest town that I made, I wanted to see how long I could go with only elementary schools and no other higher education. I did pretty well! I created large farming and forestry districts, but I noticed that many of the commercial buildings still lacked educated employees. There was a low demand for commercial zoning, so I didn’t bother with it too much, until I began to seriously expand the town. The demand for residential zoning was increasing, and I didn’t want to continue sprawling out with the low density residential zones, so I zoned out a few high density residential zones, which are your mid to high-rise condos and apartments. When the demand for commercial zoning increased, I didn’t want to continue building if they were unable to find enough educated employees, so I finally built a high school and a university. I had a lot of money at that point to do whatever I wanted.
Suddenly the demand for industrial zones became insatiable, and I noticed when I added to the forestry and farming districts, they also could not find employees because a lot of the population was overeducated and didn’t want to work there. You can also see the unemployment rate of your city, which at that point was at 18%, which is abysmal.
Eventually I built out lots of office zoning along the river, which I think looks fantastic and San Francisco-esque with the hills and sloping roads, and my unemployment rate decreased back down to less than 5%.
So far, I have not tried to power my cities with anything other than wind and incineration trash power, so I’m going to try to build a town with a coal plant and the other power alternatives. I’m also going to put a little more effort into putting public transportation in my town and improving highways, which I’ve seen so far as unnecessary, since my citizens don’t seem to “tweet” about traffic.
Another fun thing I enjoy about the game is seeing land/property value increase based on the parks and amenities you put around an area. Sometimes I have to stop and place a park or two in areas that need an uplift!
I also like that the game is easy enough to work on perfecting one town in a night, and then trying something new for the next. When I get over the honeymoon phase, I’ll probably stick to one town for shorter play periods over a few days instead of a marathon playtime like I’ve been doing, but I’m excited to try different scenarios. I like that you can make it as easy or as hard as you want. There is an option for unlimited money and all the unlocks, but the game is easy enough that you are not hurting for money unless you’re really, really bad at managing it.
For me, the game is so fun to geek over, especially considering the type of work I do in real life! I love working out the economics of industries and zoning types and keeping the citizens happy and healthy. If you liked SimCity or any type of city builder at all, I would highly recommend Cities: Skylines! It’s well worth the base price of $29.99 considering all of the hours I’ve already enjoyed the game.