Game: Cities: Skylines
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Tantalus Media
Age rating: UK 3+| USA E
Price: £35.99|$39.99|€ 39,99
Genre: Simulation, Strategy (One Player)
Release Date: 13th September 2018
Also available on PC/PS4/XBox
No code was provided I bought it myself
Skylines is a very popular city building simulation game on PC that has been around for a few years with various DLC drops added to the main game. The Nintendo Switch version comes with a newly designed UI especially designed for the Switch. It also comes with two DLC’s: After Dark and Snowfall, which adds night-time leisure activities and wintry conditions to the base game.
Starting with a blank canvas
During the Nintendo Direct in September it was announced that Paradox Interactive and Tantalus Media where releasing Cities: Skylines on the Switch. Around a week later I bought the game on a whim. I knew about the reported frame-rate drops in largely populated cities but that didn’t stop me and I’m glad it didn’t. The game does slow down sometimes during automatic saving and while you move the camera overhead across the city. But it only happens in large populated cities.
You’re the Mayor with a plot of land (hopefully a city soon) and a budget. In typical city building style it’s up to you to build and manage your city. From laying roads, water, electricity, zoning residential, commercial and industrial to checking the taxes and happiness of your citizens.
You have to supply jobs, collect refuse and upgrade roads and infrastructure as your city grows, all while managing a budget.
There is a tutorial that leads you through the start of a new city. After that, you are pretty much left to it, other than messages from your citizens ( in the style of Tweets) to tell you what they want. The rest you find out by trial and error.
There are some info boxes that appear randomly on screen to tell you snip-it’s of how to do something. Annoyingly I found these usually popped up on screen when you where trying to read something else. A more detailed tutorial would have been better than the pop up info boxes.
Having the entire city in handheld mode
I’ve only played the game in handheld and the controls work well, navigating the menu is easy with every thing contained on a task bar at the bottom of the screen. Plus there are a lot of options within the menus where you can view anything from how crime is in your city to how full the schools are.
Cities: Skylines is more of a straight city building game, more so than Sim city. You won’t find any disasters like UFOs, the only disasters you’re likely to have are your residents leaving. Or running out of cemetery space and dead bodies piling up or your budget is at zero.
I have one city with a population of 100k and it has taken lots of mishaps on other saves to get to that size population, like learning not to zone residential near industrial as your citizens don’t like the ground or noise population that industrial buildings give off.
It’s a learning curve but a fun learning curve and pretty soon you have everything under control for a short while and you can sit back and watch your citizens cycle to work or the local school.
From a hamlet to a megalopolis
You’ll spend your time re-laying roads to help your heavy traffic problem or building more wind turbines to increase your cities power as it grows with an ever demanding population. It never feels repetitive even though there is always some thing needing done in improving you city and keeping it running.
You go from a humble hamlet to a hopefully thriving city as your population increases. You unlock milestones, more of the cities infrastructure become available. From trains to ports for exporting goods via ship or monuments to decorate your city. Once you reach a population of 80.000 they call it a megalopolis. All of the infrastructure components are unlocked by then though there is still the odd unique building or monument to unlock.
There are 16 maps to build on ranging from islands, sandy beaches and snowy maps. A map with unlimited money is also available. Weather can be added to your map along with a day and night cycle, and all can easily be turned off or on in the options menu.
Cities: Skylines does have its issues with the frame rate drops. Sometimes it can look a bit boxy while moving the camera over a large city at speed. But if you can get past that there is a deep city building sim underneath those few faults. At nighttime when your city is in darkness with the street lights twinkling it can look good…or during sunset when the sky is turning red.
There is a lot to do and learn if you’re new to city building games. That’s the fun of it and the challenge to get a massive city up and running somewhat smoothly is there for those that have played this genre before. The gameplay just keeps pulling me back into it until I’d realised I’d played over 200 hours and still my city is growing.
I believe that for me, buying Cities: Skylines on Nintendo Switch on a whim has proved correct, I like it a lot and I’m still enjoying it.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot