A city/town-building is a genre of simulation game where players plan, build and manage a city or town. Due to their strategic nature, city-builder games have been getting more and more popular on PC and consoles. In this article, we are going to showcase the best city builder games on PC 2022.

1. Cities: Skylines

This is an exceptionally outstanding city builder game, in a genre that for too long, has been deeply troubled with over-casualization, poor optimization, ill-thought-out concepts, microtransactions, and general publisher shenanigans.

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Excellent Performance. I find that my city runs extremely well on my laptop even as it grows. I have not really noticed any dips in performance. The game seamlessly transitions between following an entity and zooming out to broadly appreciate my traffic network.

Intuitive game mechanics. I was able to jump straight in and make assumptions about mechanics that made sense, and those were reflected in the game. As an example, I assumed people would use a variety of methods to get to work (hop on the metro, then take a bus), When I tracked people, they would do this.

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Full Simulation. Things just make sense, you build a dam - the water level raises. People go to the store. People go to work. The water gets dirty from pollution. I get a sense that the city is a living and breathing entity - it gives me context to the experience.

Free, Focused Construction. You place roads and zones freely, focused on the placement of the roads. The zones are indelibly linked to this. It was a great design decision and simplifies the more annoying aspects of construction. It also makes transport very obvious as one of the key aspects of the game.

2. Tropico 4

It's a fun city-building game with humor. It is pleasant to look at and you can almost build your city the way you like. Being on a tropical island is refreshing. You are basically a standard Latino dictator (parody of Castro) who has to build up his Island into a prosperous city amidst the Cold war.

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One of the major gameplay mechanics is Political juggling between Seven Factions (Capitalists, Communists, Religious, Environmentalists, Militarists, Nationalists, and Loyalists) as well as the United States, and The Soviet Union. The seven factions are still around, but now there are three more foreign powers, Europe, China, and The Middle East. Unlike the Soviets and Americans, who will invade you if you're relations with one or the other get too low, these three won't invade you, as much as remove bonuses you receive during good relations. Sometimes during your reign on the island, you'll get noticed that something bad happened between one of the nations, and you'll have to pick a side. There are also representatives for the factions. They mostly add two things. First, a face and personality to represent the faction they represent. Second, to provide side objectives during your reign to earn respect if you've lost some. The side objectives go for the Nations too, mostly in the form of sending goods that the nation likes, or donating some money to that nation to earn respect.

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Farming, industry, tourism, education, and transport are some of the many aspects of the economy you'll have to manage in order to keep your islanders fed and happy.

3. Islanders

Islanders is a charming and relaxing puzzle strategy game, wrapped in the guise of a city builder.

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Islands are randomly generated and you're given options for which building packs to choose. You have to try and think ahead to what space you have and what buildings will compliment each other, and then fit them into the terrain in a way which maximises your points. Some will be complimentary to each other, whilst others detrimental, and slowly you build up your settlement into something that hopefully looks pretty and has a high enough score to continue. You need to meet progression levels to continue on to a bigger island and if you run out of buildings before you get there, it's game over. Your highest score is pitted against other steam players to calculate your global rank, giving you something to strive for if you're so inclined.

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Islanders is the perfect example of a simple game done well. Completely minimalistic in design, it nonetheless offers a completely satisfying level of strategy and gameplay. Most of all it just feels very calming to play it, serene and soothing - something I definitely need right now. My friends may be grateful for a concise review for once, to match the game.

4. Dorfromantik

Dorfromantik is a wonderful city builder game that aims to provide the most calming and relaxing experience possible by keeping the gameplay minimalistic yet extremely addictive. Since ISLANDERS was released in April 2019, several other games using more or less the same mechanics appeared on Steam, but none of them managed to capture its inner brilliance. After having experienced Dorfromantik fully, I strongly feel that it has the potential to be a worthy competitor, if not even better than ISLANDERS in some ways.

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The core ideas of the two games are the same: you begin with an empty environment that contains an already set default tile, then you build up your landscape by placing down title by tile, expanding in all directions and gaining points by arranging them in an optimal way. While ISLANDERS offers a choice between two packs of buildings belonging to the same type as long as you don’t have enough tiles, in Dorfromantik you are by default given a stack of random tiles, with only the topmost one always being usable. The gameplay is thus simplified a lot, and the decision making shifts towards determining what the optimal spot for placing this tile is, based on the existing configuration.

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The tiles are randomly generated mixes of five different elements (houses, fields, trees, water, railroad), featured in various shapes and amounts, but most of the times it's a combination of 2-3 different elements, with the water and railroad bits being more difficult to handle than the rest. Some of these tiles give you a quest when they're placed on the map, requiring you to connect a certain amount of tiles to them.

5. Frostpunk

Frostpunk is a catastrophe simulator and pits you, a simple ape with opposable thumbs, against the cruel and ultimately deadly effects of the oncoming global apocalypse.

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In Frostpunk, you must balance the needs of what may very well be the last people on earth, with the needs of the generator that keeps your city warm and alive (and that will doom you to failure should you be unable to keep it lit or accidentally make it explode), whilst fighting with the daily struggle to scrape together resources in a frozen apocalypse. If you force your people to work gathering wood, steel and coal in the frozen snow, they will get sick, but building better resource-generating buildings takes time and extra resources you may not have. If your people get too sick, they will get frostbite, forcing you to choose between leaving them sick and bedridden for the rest of their (probably short) lives, or leaving them as amputees, who will be unable to work and may eventually commit suicide rather than continue to be a burden in such extreme circumstances.


And herein comes one of the strongest of your few weapons against inevitable doom: Laws. Every day and a half, you can enact a new law to help your people survive. Laws vary from more practical (the option to make soup instead of normal meals to make food go further, the option to force children into child labor, the option to build care homes and prostheses for amputees) to the more spiritual and forceful (will you use law and order to help give people purpose, or will you turn to faith and spirituality?).

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As days pass, various crises will arise, from people stealing food, to refugees suddenly appearing on your doorstep - how you choose to deal with these situations will affect how your people feel about their odds of survival. Actions can either raise or lower the two main emotional resources you must look after - Discontent, and Hope. If discontent gets too high, people will start to riot, becoming angry and resentful, and, if it raises to the maximum, leading to your horrific death by execution or exile. If you cannot keep your people Hopeful, they will give up, leading to the death of your city as people choose to simply freeze to death and accept oblivion rather than spend a single day longer fighting a seemingly impossible fight.

>>> Read more: Top 5 Best Deck Building Games To Play On PC (2022)