In 2022, what are the top city-building games for PC? Nothing beats a calm afternoon spent playing city-building games while sipping a hot beverage. We’ve squandered endless hours lining up buildings just how we want them or trying to save a population on the verge of collapse, and we’ve even purposely brought that collapse about simply to see how our folks would react. As it is, things aren’t doing so well.
From serious town planners searching for a challenge to entries that welcome genre beginners with the promise of tutorials, stripped-down interfaces, and few apocalyptic threats, our selection of the best city-building games has something for everyone. In case you become tired of setting out your metropolitan expanses against a classic backdrop, we’ve included a mix of realistic city builders and sci-fi simulator games.
Whether your goal is to regroup and repopulate Earth, conquer other worlds, or combat the commuter’s menace that is traffic, this list of the greatest city-building games for PC should be of great assistance.
In 2022, these are the greatest city-building games for PC:
#1 Tropico 6
Tropico 6 is a game developed by Tropico.
El Presidente is back, this time in an archipelago where you can manage and rule many islands at once. This city-building game tasks you with constructing a metropolis from the ground up while balancing the island’s economic demands, the happiness of your residents, and keeping paradise afloat through shady deals with foreign friends.
Tropico 6 is about achieving equilibrium in a city that can’t satisfy all groups and citizens, as tasks occur from unscrupulous government officials that you’ll need to complete in order to progress towards your overarching aim, which varies depending on the scenario.
Tropico 6 gives you a plenty of options, as you’d expect from a dictatorial city builder, but make the incorrect decision and you’ll pay the price. If a general election is on the horizon, you’ll have to choose between bending the figures and staying spotless, but there’s a trade-off between losing the election and having to restart the level and angering internal factions.
The bombastic appearance of Tropico 6 betrays the amount of love and care you’ll need to dedicate to your regime in order to keep everyone happy, at least in the short term. Thankfully, the island setting makes it simple to keep track of your buildings and notifications, whether it’s spotting rebels on the streets or a cluster of shacks that signals the need to create more dwellings for your citizens.
#2 Aven Colony
Aven Colony is a colony of vultures.
The simple city builder is transported to a distant planet in Aven Colony, where you’ll face far more difficult difficulties than picking where to lay your roadways. To begin, you’ll have to consider the difficulties posed by all of the horrifying new space biomes as well as the hostile climate.
Instead of building a new city to attract residents, your main goal is to reconstruct humanity, which is a lofty goal. In order to accomplish so, you’ll have to acclimate to the environment, fight constant natural disasters, a lack of oxygen (which is a significant concern), and even alien lifeforms like gigantic sandworms.
You’ll begin as a governor and work your way up the ranks to become the president of your colony as the rest of the game follows suit, expanding your toolkit and putting your skills to the test by beginning with simple tasks like building a water pump and working your way up to commanding a full-scale Starship Troopers-style army.
Aven Colony isn’t just a city-building game, though; it incorporates elements from the best 4X and strategy games. There’s some minor combat, as well as an interesting excursions system that allows you to learn about the planet’s past.
Frostpunk is the type of city-building game that will make you question your own morality repeatedly. Your mission is to survive an impending ice age in a shielded steampunk-powered city that was left unfinished before the big freeze. Your job as the leader of a group of survivors is to reconstruct the city around a massive heater that requires continual fuel to keep its inhabitants safe and healthy.
Frostpunk, like some of the best survival games, is all about successfully managing resources to keep the city running, and your primary priority is keeping the furnace fueled. Frostpunk, unlike other city builders, is about living rather than dominating, and it’s a constant balancing act to keep your new inhabitants happy while keeping the city stocked with food and the furnace running.
As you’d expect from one of the best post-apocalyptic games, Frostpunk isn’t your typical city-building simulator. In this harsh tundra, death is unavoidable, and you’ll have to make a lot of difficult decisions just to keep the city running – instead of worrying about structure placement and how everything looks, you’ll have to make laws that keep your citizens in line, gamble on risky expeditions, and occasionally make a criminal an example of.
Check Also: Best Cross-Platform Games
#4 Surviving Mars
Surviving Mars, like Frostpunk, combines survival and city-building, but on the desolate red planet rather than a freezing wasteland. As you explore Mars’ dusty surface, looking for fertile ground so you may continue growing across the planet, you’ll be armed with everything you need to build a viable, happy metropolis for colonists.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a scientist like Matt Damon on hand to guide you through the entire process. As you struggle to keep your swarming colonists nourished and happy, you’ll be your own botanist, biologist, and city planner – but that’s the least of your worries. Surviving Mars is a little more difficult to manage; it necessitates a lot of attention to ensure citizens have access to oxygen and are shielded from oncoming natural disasters such as dust storms and cold waves, but it does a fantastic job of keeping you up to date on your city’s progress.
In this survival city builder, research and exploration play a big role, allowing you to drastically modify the structures and facilities in your colony to meet the Asimovian fantasy you have in your head. Plus, with a vibrant mod scene, the number of crazy sci-fi colonies you can create is limitless.
#5 SimCity 4
SimCity 4 is a simulation game.
The SimCity series has been around for a long, and you can see how much other city-building games have taken from – and, in the case of Cities: Skylines, improved upon – it. SimCity 4 was released in 2003, and while it doesn’t bring anything particularly novel to the genre, it’s still a fun and tough game.
Like Cities: Skylines, you’ll only have one goal: to build your ideal metropolis. You can develop different zones of buildings in a grid style, but you can also spend money on more complicated road networks, innovative architecture, and even world wonders. As you grow your city, you’ll receive alerts informing you of the demands of your population as you gradually unlock additional features and attract more residents. When it comes to SimCity, there isn’t much to think about, but that can be exactly what you’re looking for in a city-building game.
#6 Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines’ meteoric climb to fame is due to its simplicity. Cities: Skylines is perhaps the best city-building game for either party, whether you’re a seasoned town planner who can handle nearly any scenario or a beginner to the genre.
Cities: Skylines divides the majority of its structures into categories like residential, commercial, and industrial, allowing you to quickly construct a skeleton for your city before agonising over the minute details. The skill lies in balancing the many requirements of your residents and each district, which forces you to think like a mayor.
It’s not that Cities: Skylines is simple; far from it; it’s merely simple to grasp, and when things go wrong, as they undoubtedly will, you won’t be discouraged by the thought of starting over. Cities: Skylines includes a deliciously deep and complicated mix of transit options, as you’d expect from the studio behind Cities in Motion, which means you’ll be able to spend countless hours ensuring your citizens are getting around as fluidly and smoothly as possible.
There’s still a strong mod scene for serious players, with scenarios, new buildings, and, er, traffic solutions, allowing you to successfully reproduce any metropolis in the globe or attempt to solve LA’s infamous traffic problem. Take a look at some of the most popular Cities: Skylines mods.
#7 Anno 1800
Anno 1800 takes the city-building game back to its historical roots, putting you in charge of a business empire during the Industrial Revolution, as you trade and expand your empire from a few farms and warehouses to a flourishing industrial metropolis envied across the world. As you migrate to the modern world, you’ll eventually be able to lure tourists to one of your numerous museums or zoos, negotiating all of the logistical and societal challenges that come with such drastic change.
Anno 1800’s campaign, multiplayer, and sandbox modes all offer a variety of ways to play. There are a multitude of strategies to win Anno 1800, similar to the best 4X games, ranging from accumulating wealth and investors to luring tourists and securing diplomatic ties. When you’re pitted against other islands, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your adversaries and their global actions as you discover out how they operate and if they can be trusted through diplomatic blunders and commerce.
As you develop commerce and establish your company town, you’ll need to keep your employees happy in addition to keeping an eye on your competitors. There’s also a regular newspaper that circulates, affecting population happiness by disseminating tales of your city’s accomplishments and failures across the country. Details like these serve to bring the world of the Industrial Revolution to life, and while Anno 1800 does a good job of glossing over the era’s dismal reality, it’s difficult not to get sucked in by its picture-perfect landscapes and charm.
#8 Surviving the Aftermath
Surviving the Aftermath is a procedurally created post-apocalyptic game that puts you in charge of a colony in a randomly generated wasteland. As you construct and expand the survivors’ city, you must guarantee that it can withstand natural calamities, robbers, and dangerous monsters.
It’s a harsh climate, and in order to maintain your colony alive for as long as possible despite a scarcity of resources, you’ll have to make tough choices about what to risk or sacrifice in order to survive. Your decisions have an impact not just on the wellbeing of your population, but also on the reputation of your colony and its capacity to trade with other societies.