City Building games

The City Builder Genre

If you ever wondered if you have what it takes to build a city from the ground up, then city building games are a really great place to start! Building and maintaining a large city isn’t easy, but you can have a lot of fun playing the role of a planner. As you expand your city, city builders give you new and improved buildings to help you grow your city further and improve your citizens’ lives. Often tasking you with keeping your citizens alive and happy, you will need to manage your money and resources to ensure your city can continue to grow!

City building games aren’t exclusively for building modern cities either! Games like Timberborn put you in charge of a city of beavers and there's even a Game of Thrones city builder. City building games spark our imaginations and there is something within the genre for everybody, from the fledgling architect just starting out, through to the detail-minded perfectionist looking to design the ultimate city.

The Origins of the Genre

The SimCity series has been around for over 30 years and is the original city-building game. Since its original title was published by Maxis in 1989, the SimCity series has released numerous different titles on every platform possible. The original SimCity game introduced the core concepts that define the genre to this day; aims such as creating specific zones — to separate out industrial and residential areas — that still feature prominently in newer releases such as Cities Skylines.

Will Wright, the original developer of the game, struggled to find a publisher because of the lack of an end goal or any action elements within it. Looking today at the critical success of the game and the spawning of multiple sequels and new series within the genre it’s clear to see that city building games can inspire as much entertainment as more linear action games!

Since their origin, city builders have only grown and diversified. Many new additions to the genre have added new settings and new challenges for players to tackle. Building your perfect city has never been more fun, particularly with the games on offer here at GamePix.

Preparing for Disaster

Disasters that damage your cities and create problems for the player to solve have been there since the beginnings of the genre. Real world disasters like tornados and earthquakes can damage your cities and require you to address this damage in order for your citizens to go about their days once more. Games will often also provide you with buildings you can construct that will help reduce or eliminate the risk of certain disasters.

Some games feature unique disasters. In Frostpunk, the world has fallen into a volcanic winter, bringing with it a number of unusual challenges. You have to work around this situation when building your city, prioritizing keeping it warm. You must also manage your coal resources so you can continue to heat the city to avoid losing population and use of your buildings.

Looking to the Future and Rebuilding the Past

City building games also dip into the science fiction and historical genres. You can start a colony on another planet in Surviving Mars, where you’ll need to adapt to a world lacking in oxygen and build domes to ensure your inhabitants can leave their space suits! Create your own idea about what the future might look like in Anno 2070 where global warming has flooded the world forcing us to adapt to smaller land masses and expand our technology to compensate. Each city builder provides different obstacles to overcome in the quest to build your perfect city.

Some city builders allow us to develop a city in the past such as in Anno 1800, where you can build up your own colony in the industrial era, a period of great change and development in technology. You can even take part in naval battles against other cities being built on neighbouring islands. Your progress will be measured against your rival cities and your population will become dissatisfied if you can’t keep up!

You can enjoy a more comical look at the genre with Tropico 5, where you become a governor in the Victorian era with aspirations to become ‘El Presidente’ of an ever-evolving island nation. This game perfectly blends city building with politics, so you can rig elections and bribe officials as you develop your dream community on an island nation aiming to keep hold of your power so you can continue to make the decisions on how your paradise will grow!

City Building Games on GamePix

On GamePix, our city-building games let you build your own version of paradise. You won’t find complex instructions or long tutorials. Instead, they’re simple to play and you can start building your own version of paradise in a matter of minutes. From building and perfecting your very own shopping mall in Shopping Mall Tycoon to developing your very own island nation in Empire Island and defending it throughout the ages there's something for everyone within GamePix’s selection of City Building games.

Games like Building Rush provide a modern city-building experience and there's plenty of fantasy-based settings for you to explore with games such as Elvenar and Forge of Empires. If you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to play god then check out God Simulator and create a religion to expand throughout the world!


What are the Main Features of City Builders?

Key features of city builders include;

  • Resource management
  • Improving infrastructure
  • Preventing and overcoming disasters
  • Managing your population and their happiness

What is the Setting of City Building Games?

City builders can take place in a variety of settings! The past, future, present day and even other worlds are all possibilities! You’ll be able to find a city building game to suit your needs and provides you with the ability to take on the terrain of wherever you find yourself within the world (or galaxy!).

What are the most popular city building?