City building games have always been popular, but over the last couple of years they seem to have become even more popular than ever, with tons of incredible new city builders coming out.
With so many great city building games to choose from, it can be difficult to choose which one to pick up. Thankfully we have put together a list of the best city building games, from timeless classics to modern hits.
Table of contents
1. Farthest Frontier
The newest city building game on the list, Farthest Frontier has only been out a short while but has proven even in its current early access state that the developers know how to make a truly unique city builder.
As we mentioned in our review of Farthest Frontier, it’s by far one of the most challenging city building games out there. With advanced mechanics, such as food spoiling and crop rotation, Farthest Frontier is perfect for those looking for a more realistic experience.
2. Cities Skylines
With plenty of Steam Workshop mods, Cities Skylines can be the type of city builder you want it to be. Whether you want to recreate Manhattan or flourish with a focus on the farming industry, it’s all possible.
If you loved Sim City back in the day, then you’ll definitely love Cities Skylines. Choose from a wealth of maps, build up your residential, commercial, and industrial areas, and expand into a rail network. There’s also a ton of DLCs to explore!
For a long time, Banished has been dubbed one of the hardest city builders by the gaming industry. It’s ruthless and doesn’t really hold your hand, much like Farthest Frontier.
In this city-building strategy game, you control a group of exiled travelers who decide to restart their lives in a new land. They have only the clothes on their backs and a cart filled with supplies from their homeland. The townspeople of Banished are your primary resource.Banished, Steam
With very positive reviews on Steam, it’s really worth looking into Banished if you enjoy a challenge.
4. Settlement Survival
Starting a new settlement with a few supplies and villagers can be tough, and Settlement Survival is no different. Similar somewhat to Farthest Frontier and Banished, Settlement Survival requires you to meet more than just basic needs in order for you to flourish.
You’ll need to invest points into the tech tree in order to research new technologies, from soap to fields, quarries to theatres, you’re in charge of prioritizing what your community needs.
5. Tropico 6
While building a stable economy can be challenging in Tropico 6, it’s one of the most chilled city building games on the list. Much like the Two Point series, Tropico doesn’t take itself too seriously, and at times can be outright ridiculous.
Tropico 6 is available on both PC and console, so is a perfect choice for console gamers looking for their ideal city builder.
Patron is another challenging city builder that rewards players for building smarter layouts and taking the time to think about logistics when planning their settlements.
As I mentioned in my review of Patron, it has one of the most expansive tech trees and tons of buildings, all designed to keep your economy going, or your citizens happy, which can become a challenging task.
Patron has a great community that is always happy to help offer advice on building the perfect town, as well as active modders who are constantly adding awesome mods for the game.
7. Kingdoms Reborn
Kingdoms Reborn is one of the largest city builders, with huge detailed worlds, impressive biomes and a multi-generation spanning tech tree.
Starting from humble beginnings, you’ll need to choose wisely when presented with certain choice throughout the game. Do you value fertile farms over extra income? Or would you rather boost your mines in favor of specific crops.
As your kingdom starts to grow, your citizens will soon be demanding greater luxury goods to keep them satisfied.
If you’re looking for more of a chilled city builder, they don’t get more chilled than foundation. Other than the need to farm resources to expand your city and feed your settlers, there’s not too much of a grind with Foundation, letting you focus more on exploring your own creativity.
Foundation is a completely gridless city builder, giving you much more creative freedom over your city than many other city builders out there, separating it as a truly unique building experience.
Another unique feature in Foundation is the path system. Instead of laying out neat paths along the city, as your citizens travel they will create paths in the grass, the more these routes are travelled, the more pronounced the road.
If you were looking for unique, look no further than Timberbon. Timberborn is one of the most unique city builders available, with players working to build and expand a city of beavers.
Timberborn’s biggest challenge is surviving the elements, with dry seasons and droughts causing mayhem for your beaver villagers. You must be smart about placing dams and other buildings to keep the town going throughout the year.
Timberborn features two factions to choose from, the Folktails, who are traditional beavers that build with wood, or the Iron Teeth, who have shunned wood in favour of science and iron.
Having two factions to choose from makes the game feel fresh when switching between the two, offering much more longevity and completely changing how you play.
10. Age of Empires 4
The Age of Empires games have always been popular for those who love both RTS and city building games. While Age of Empires is primarily an RTS game, thanks to the gorgeous graphics, you can make incredible cities, which is why it has made this list.
Age of Empires 4 features an impressive and educational campaign, as well as skirmish and multiplayer modes, giving you plenty of ways to enjoy the game.
Each civilization has their own unique buildings and units, making the game feel unique each time you play. And with the levelling up and rewards system you can unlock new monuments as you progress through the game.