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9 Games You Must Play if You Love SimCity

April 2, 2019
11 min read

SimCity is a game that has managed to dominate the better half of the 2000s with its fun and addictive gameplay. Though it is not the first title in city building simulators, it is the one that made the genre famous. It was also extremely accessible and could be played on just about any PC with minimal settings and lag. I personally am a huge fan of city building simulators, and I have already poured hours into half the titles on this list, so I am visibly excited to get this rolling. Here is the list of video games similar to SimCity that are our recommendations. You can play these games like SimCity on PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, iPhone, Android, mac or even online.

9. The Sims (2000)

Fans of ‘SimCity’ will definitely be able to identify with this game. It is one of the longest running video game series developed and published by Maxis and Electronic Arts back in the year 2000. It is widely regarded as one of the best simulation games of all time, allowing the player to create and customize a ‘sim’ or a virtual person and then control all aspects of their life. You are able to buy houses and build and decorate it according to your desire. The house building system allows you to place parts of the building separately using various materials, thus enabling players to create structures that are unique and exactly according to their wishes. You are able to buy furniture for your house which adds to the customization options for your home. You need to place down everything, right from the bed to the shower so that your sim can perform everyday activities.

At later stages of the game, you need to choose a career for your character so that it is able to earn and pay their bills, just like in real life. And if you manage to achieve all of these without driving your character to the limits, then maybe, just maybe, you can take a chance at finding the love of your life and settling down. This opens up a whole new level of gameplay as you will begin to have kids who require constant attention. Though there aren’t many gameplay similarities to the ‘SimCity’ series, it is definitely a game that fans of the ‘SimCity’ series will be able to connect to and enjoy. We have decided to highlight the first entry in this series that came out in the year 2000 as a kind of homage to the game that started it all, but you should definitely check out the later instalments if you are not into old school graphics.

8. Caesar IV (2006)

‘Caesar’ is a video game series that we dearly miss and really wish that the series will make a comeback, although the chances for that are really slim. ‘Caesar IV’ is the latest instalment in the series and was developed by Tilted Mill and published by Vivendi Universal in the year 2006. It was also the first game in the series wherein the graphics were completely 3D instead of the isometric view of the earlier games. This means that the buildings and structures within the game look extremely realistic and players are able to develop and manage their city more efficiently.

‘Caesar’ is a city building game in all aspects and hence management of space within the city is extremely crucial to the overall functioning of the city. Variable realistic 3D enables players to monitor their city more efficiently. In addition, players are also able to place roads at a 45 degree angle as opposed to the earlier instalments where you were only able to place roads at 90 degree angles. This allows players to build visually appealing cities and also customize their layout to a degree that was not possible before. Set in Rome around the time of Caesar, it is definitely a game that will appeal to fans of ‘SimCity’ and history buffs alike.

7. Banished (2014)

‘Banished’ is a city building simulator that has a lot of survival elements woven into its mix. The preface of the game is that you are banished from your hometown and sent away to an isolated island where you need to make your last stand. Whether you end up starving by the end of the first season or manage to build a sprawling settlement depends entirely on your ability to manage resources and allocate duties to your settlers. At first, the management of resources is extremely crucial to your survival and you need to provide proper provisions to your settlers so that they are able to survive the first winter alone.

The game is extremely unforgiving in this aspect and hence you need to play it a few times in order to even survive the first season. However, once you get a hang of it, a lot of strategic options opens up to you and the resulting gameplay is extremely fun and intense. The gameplay is not exactly similar to ‘SimCity’ but if you like city building games, you will definitely enjoy this one.

6. Tropico 5 (2014)

‘Tropico’ is a massively popular city building and management sim developed by Haemimont Games and published by Kalypso Media. ‘Tropico 5’ is the latest instalment in the series and introduces a lot of new gameplay mechanics into the mix. For those of you who are unaware of the game, it puts you in charge of a settlement and you need to take care of the various activities of the settlers in order to expand it. You need to make strategic choices for your people, which affect the overall gameplay and diplomatic ties with other players in game.

Yes, it is now possible for you to play ‘Tropico’ in a multiplayer setting. You can join games with up to four players and then work together or against each other in order to reign supreme in the region. This is the first time that the game allows other players to build on the same land, so if that’s what kept you away from the series till now, you should definitely give it a try now. It is a game that will definitely appeal to fans of ‘SimCity’ who are looking for a slightly more uplifting experience in a sunny tropical setting.

5. RimWorld (2018)

‘RimWorld’ is a story driven settlement and city management simulator developed and published by Ludeon Studios in the year 2018. The game was originally called ‘Eclipse Colony’ and was successfully funded through a kickstarter campaign in the year 2013. The game is set in a distant future on another planet where you are tasked with building and managing a settlement using futuristic weapons and combat mechanics. Though the game does contain combat mechanics, it is not the highlight of the title. Randomly generated storylines are what set this game apart from other titles on the list.

To make this happen, the developers programmed three different AI units that affect the overall gameplay. One will take randomly generate negative events at set intervals which will reduce as the game continues, thus building pressure on the player; another generates brief periods of peace in between the negative events while the third one randomly generates events with no set intervals. This mixes up the gameplay to the point where no two games are similar. These events may range from good events such as new settlers joining your city to bad events such as pirate attacks from enemy factions which will require you to draft your settlers and set up defenses. The game has received a lot of appreciation from critics due to its variable gameplay and is definitely one that fans of ‘SimCity’ should definitely check out.

4. Anno 2205 (2015)

Anno’ is a city building sim developed by ‘BlueByte’ and published by Ubisoft which has managed to receive a lot of instalments due to its high popularity. It has also received a lot of positive reviews from critics due to its varied gameplay mechanics and in-depth customization options. ‘Anno 2205’ is the latest installment in the series and is a direct successor to ‘Anno 2070’. Set in the year 2205 as the game suggests, it allows players to build futuristic settlements and then manage the various economical and strategic aspects of the same. One of the main objectives of the game is to manage the various needs and wants of your people which affect the overall population of your city.

There are various moral decisions that you need to make, such as going for quick results which will degrade the environment, or investing in long term environmental options that will provide you with a lot of benefits in the long run but are very costly to build. As you advance through the game, you will have the option to send space exploration vessels and set up bases on the Moon. A new game mode called the session mode allows players to simultaneously maintain bases on the Moon as well as on Earth.

There are a lot of features that fans of the ‘SimCity’ series will find familiar, such as an ‘addition’ mechanics where you can add different parts to existing buildings which increases its potential and productivity. If you like games like ‘SimCity’, then you will definitely love ‘Anno’ as it is one of the few city building simulator games that allows its players to build in any age of their choice right from the 17th century to the 23rd.

3. Surviving Mars (2018)

We have been waiting patiently for a game that allows us to build a settlement in Mars as it seems it is the latest sensation in the space exploration race. When you really come to think about it, we’ve had games that allow us to build settlements in far away galaxies and mining its resources but the red planet which is much closer to home has been widely neglected. So it was only a matter of time before developers added both together and developed a game wherein we are able to build and manage a settlement on Mars. ‘Surviving Mars’ is exactly that and we must say that the developers are quite straightforward when it comes to naming their games, as the title sums up the entire gameplay.

You are in charge of a settlement on Mars and you need to mine for resources and provide provisions for your people so that you can survive in the hostile environment. The game came out just recently on the 15th of March, so we will provide you further details once we play through the entire game. However, as it seems from the first look of the game, it is quite realistic and has been modeled after real data from Mars. If you like games such as ‘SimCity’ but are looking for a more ‘out of this world’ experience, why don’t you give this one a go?

Read More: Games Like Poptropica

2. Cities XL (2009)

‘Cities XL’ is a game that plays very similar to that of ‘SimCity’ but set in an online virtual world that is shared by other players. Though the multiplayer aspect of the game is long dead, the single player sandbox mode is still playable and we must say that it is quite a polished experience. The developers wanted to build a city building MMO that allows players to build cities in a shared world while trading resources and cooperating with each other to progress through the game. It’s really a new aspect when it comes to city builders such as ‘SimCity’ and the developers were totally on the right path except that they introduced a subscription system into the game that drove players away. Monte Cristo, the developers of the game, had to shut down the online servers due to low subscription and traffic, eventually killing off the online community. However, they have released several updates for the game that optimizes the single player experience for regular players.

1. Cities: Skylines (2015)

Cities: Skylines’ is everything ‘SimCity’ wanted to be but could not. This is one of the best city building experiences on a modern console and we really must hand it out to Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive for perfecting a genre that long demanded attention. Everything in ‘Cities: Skylines’ is detailed, so much so that I sometimes lose myself in the game following a random citizen for hours on end. It looks extremely good on modern consoles and ever since the update for the game came out where it introduces a dynamic day and night cycle, it has really set the bar high for other games in the genre. We highly recommend this one to fans of ‘SimCity’ and if you haven’t played this game yet, you really are losing out on something.

Read More: Games Like Second Life

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