HomeEditorialCity Building Games: Unleash Your Inner Architect With Our Top 15

City Building Games: Unleash Your Inner Architect With Our Top 15

Building and developing something is a lot of fun. But even in this case, it usually takes a few rough edges and unforeseen events to keep the experience exciting. But it depends on what kind of gaming experience you're after...

City building games can be very diverse and have individual features that don’t suit every gamer. We picked our favorites and made a Top 15 ranking of the Best City Building Games for you.

You might wonder which City Building Games are particularly trendy right now because more and more of them are joining the ranks. This list of selected titles might come in handy.

 

15. Kingdoms Reborn

This title is a classic city-building sim that includes the construction of a civilization along with resource management. Choose the appropriate location for your city and improve the lives of your inhabitants by providing them with food and luxury goods. Thus, expand your empire and attract even more citizens. Another interesting thing about this game is that you can play it online with friends in real-time, either cooperatively or competitively. Hence, Kingdoms Reborn is especially recommended in multiplayer mode.

From an isometric perspective, we look at a city by day, which consists of numerous different types of houses with dark brown corner roofs. The city is located on a coast, which can be seen at the right edge of the image. There, a large river flows into a body of water. The river runs from the upper edge of the picture in serpentine lines to the coast. Three wooden bridges cross this river, and both to the left and to the right of the river are houses with streets. Around the city are numerous yellow and green deciduous trees. This is a screenshot from Kingdom Reborn, one of the very classic city building games.
Screenshot from Kingdom Reborn (Source: Earthshine)

 

Kingdoms Reborn can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

14. Islanders

Many city-building games put you in front of a great challenge. But in Islanders, it is different. Here there are neither research trees, resources, nor trade, but simply the act of relaxed city building on an island. In the beginning, you can choose between various building packages that fill your inventory. Place them at no cost and earn points by doing so. As your score increases, you unlock new buildings to choose from. Try to construct as many buildings as possible to be rewarded with additional points. If there is no more space on your isle, you can expand your empire to other islands. The game ends when you have no more buildings in your inventory to construct. However, if you can permanently find space, this probably won’t happen.

In this game, you calmly build your empire, as shown in this screenshot: We are looking at a green island in an isometric perspective, which takes up almost the entire frame. The graphics of this game are very simplified and comic-like. The turquoise sea can be seen around the island. On the isle, there are two large gray stone plateaus, around which are some green fir trees. In the center of the picture, in front of these mountains, there is a city with many rectangular buildings that have red and orange roofs. A large one sticks out in the middle of the city. To the left of the city are two green fields, and to the upper right above the city is a mill with eight green fields around it. In the bottom left corner of the image, the score is displayed in an orange-blue circle, and at the bottom center of the image we see the player's inventory with the possible buildings he can build. Expand your empire and build as much as you can in one of the most relaxing city building games.
Islanders screenshot (Source: GrizzlyGames)

 

You can purchase this title for macOS, Linux, and PC via Steam.

 

13. As Far As The Eye

Go with your tribe to the world center, which is called The Eye. As a chief, you’ll see yourself in the responsible task of escaping with your people from a great tidal wave and getting to the place of rescue. On your journey, you’ll build a mobile village that you’ll have to manage sufficiently to ensure the survival of your civilization. This game is a roguelike with turn-based resource management, which offers you procedurally generated gameplay with difficult decisions and skill trees. However, the high level of difficulty also makes it very rewarding.

Here we see the map from the game As Far As Ahe Eye. It's an ancient beige map with several waypoints marked with dashed lines that you, as a tribal chief, can walk along with your people to search for resources or food. At some waypoints on this map, there are small red trees that indicate a forest area. The waypoints are very much connected to each other by the dotted lines. At the top right of the map, the destination of the journey, called The Eye, can be seen in the form of a sketched mountain. At the bottom right, in the bleed, we see a blue feather and at the bottom left corner also in the crop, we see a sketch of a compass. In city building games like As Far As Ahe Eye, you have to manage a mobile settlement.
Screenshot of As Far As Ahe Eye (Source: Unexpected/Goblinz Studio)

 

As Far As The Eye is available for PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Linux. You can purchase it for PC and macOS via Steam.

 

12. Before We Leave

Want to play a non-violent city building game? In Before We Leave, you’ll rebuild civilization in the universe and lead it back to its old pride. Build farms and other infrastructure, and make sure your inhabitants are happy. Your society can even expand to other continents and planets. Discover ancient technologies, manage resources and create a magnificent colony network. You’ll have to face not only catastrophes but also planet-eating space whales that search for plant-based food on your worlds.

In this screenshot of Before We Leave, we see a blue planet in the center of the image, on which three green overgrown continents are shown. The graphics of the game is implemented in such a way that the elements consist of many hexagonal honeycomb shapes. Around the planet, there are a lot of white clouds. The planet is located in a dark blue space.
Screenshot from Before We Leave (Source: Balancing Monkey Games/Team17)

 

Before We Leave is available for PS4/PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. Get a copy for PC and macOS via Steam.

 

11. Surviving the Aftermath

If you are more interested in post-apocalyptic city building games, you might like this title. Here, in a deserted world, you’ll have to observe and expand a colony in a procedurally generated wasteland, while protecting it from bandits, wild beasts, and natural disasters. It’s up to you to keep the colony intact as best you can. You’ll also have to make tough decisions, take risks, or even make sacrifices to ensure its survival.

Play Surviving the Aftermath and experience the dangers of the post-apocalypse, as shown in this screenshot: From an elevated position we look at a heavily barricaded entrance to a city. We see a road coming from below leading to a large rusty gate with two large observation towers to the left and right. Rusty high walls extend from the towers and continue around the city. Behind the walls in the background, several different colored roofs of houses can be seen together with many fir trees rising into the sky. In the foreground of the picture, there are steep cliffs and in the distance, we can see a mountain range passing through the picture, which lies in the light blue mist. Above it, we can see the blue sky with clouds.
Screenshot from Surviving the Aftermath (Source: Iceflake Studios/Paradox Interactive)

 

This title is available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

10. Dorfromantik

There are serious, challenging city building games, but there are also much more relaxed titles – like Dorfromantik (German for “village romance”). So sit back and start building your settlement piece by piece with the help of many hexagonal tiles. On these tiles are various elements for your civilization, like forests, fields, or houses. This game is relatively similar to a puzzle since you’ll always be asked to connect certain elements together, for example, to fit 300 trees in a forest. Aesthetic urbanism and puzzles go hand in hand in this title.

Here we see a screenshot from the game Dorfromantik, one of the most relaxing city building games in 2022. We are looking from above at a game world, which is composed of numerous hexagonal tiles. Each tile has certain elements and it is necessary to assemble the tiles according to certain criteria in order to collect points. At the same time, wonderful forests, fields, and cities are created in this way, as seen here on this playing field. There is an evening atmosphere. Numerous small houses with red roofs join together to form settlements, which cover the playing field. Likewise, many orange and magenta polygonal fields, rivers and lakes, and dark green forests form. At the bottom right of the image is shown a stack of other possible hexagonal tiles.
Screenshot from Dorfromantik (Source: Toukana Interactive)

 

Dorfromantik is available for Nintendo Switch, and can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

9. The Colonists

This title is no less relaxed than our #10 but captivates with an exceptional cuteness: Help a group of robots that have escaped from Earth to build a new home in the galaxy. The Wall-E-like robots have the desire to live in human conditions. So we try to build farms, develop technologies and gather resources for them so that the robots can live, eat and sleep like us. A relaxed gaming experience that brings good humor and lots of fun.

In this screenshot from The Colonists, we see a snow-covered forest by day in an isometric zoomed-in perspective. To the left and right of the image are snow-covered fir trees in stylized polygon graphics. A railroad track is shown in the center of the image, running vertically from top to bottom through the image. On the rail, a small blue-gray locomotive with gray steam is driving through the picture, which we see in the center. At the back of the locomotive sits a cute white Wall-E-like robot. Behind the locomotive is a small red train station to the right of the tracks. With this title, you will surely play one of the cutest city building games.
The Colonists screenshot (Source: Auroch Digital)

 

This title is available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and can be purchased for PC, macOS & Linux via Steam.

 

8. Airborne Kingdom

In this title, you’ll play a sky city building sim, in which you’ll build your own flying empire and explore a vast desert. Discovery and city management have been combined here in a very unique way. Gather food and resources, build houses and explore the desert areas for lost technologies. Be there for your people and lead your air kingdom to glory.

From an isometric perspective, a vast desert landscape is depicted during the day, which consists of numerous plateaus of different heights. The scene is bathed in a red-brown tone. At the bottom right of the image, we can see a floating settlement. It has a similar reddish tint and consists of different buildings. In the center, a kind of cathedral or town hall can be seen as the tallest building. Around it, there are several similar buildings with a round glass dome, reminiscent of generators. On the right is a house with pointed roofs, reminiscent of a farmhouse. The settlement stands on a brown platform, which is moved forward at the sides by large paddles. In city building games like Airborne Kingdom you also explore the vast desert landscape to find valuable resources.
Floating Cities in Airborne Kingdom (Source: The Wandering Band)

 

Airborne Kingdom is available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and you can get it for PC & macOS via Steam.

 

7. Aven Colony

Welcome to another special city building simulation in space. In this game, you’ll be confronted with numerous challenges and obstacles that you’ll have to overcome in order to successfully build your space settlement. Fight against the permanent lack of oxygen, constant natural disasters, and alien life forms like giant sandworms, while you pursue your goal of rebuilding humanity on an alien planet.

Discover and colonize an alien planet, as shown in this screenshot of Aven Colony: We see in isometric zoomed perspective an established colony on another planet in daylight. On the right and in the background green trees are shown, on which orange pumpkin-like fruits grow. In the center of the image we can see a green grassland, which extends into the foreground and background of the image. In the foreground there are several rectangular brown fields, on which green plants grow. In between, several glass domes stand side by side, extending into the background, where more different erected buildings stand. In the distance, a vast mountainous landscape can be seen in the mist and the sun is reflected in one of the glass buildings in the center of the image.
Aven Colony screenshot (Source: Mothership Entertainment/Team17)

 

This title is available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and it can be purchased for PC via Steam.

 

6. Tropico 6

This building simulation transports you to the colonial era. As governor, your goal is to become “El Presidente” of an ever-evolving island empire. Although the game awaits you with enough complexity in terms of city building, it also features a significant amount of comedy, which is typical for the Tropico series. Here, you have to do everything to stay in power. Even if you have to bribe officials or use military means to achieve this. Are you ready for not quite clean business?

The cover of the city-building game Tropico 6 can be seen. At the top of the cover we see the title of the game in white capital letters and slightly curved, and below it, the protagonist of the game "El Presidente" is shown in a typical uniform and glasses in the semi-close-up. He smiles at us with his arms crossed. At the bottom of the image, possible building scenarios in the game are schematically depicted. In the background, there is a purple-pink sky and on the left in the distance, an erupting volcano can be seen.
Tropico 6 (Source: Limbic Entertainment. Kalypso Media)

 

Tropico 6 is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and you can get it for PC, macOS & Linux via Steam.

 

5. Surviving Mars

This title, besides building a city, is also primarily about naked survival because the building simulation doesn’t take place on Earth but on our neighbor Mars. In addition to the development and expansion of the colony and the food supply, it is especially important to continuously provide enough oxygen for the citizens and to protect them from natural disasters like cold waves or storms. Exploration of the planet and research also play a large role in the game since they allow significant improvements to your colony.

The picture shows a clip from the game Surviving Mars. In the long shot, you can see several colonies on the planet Mars, which are enclosed under huge oxygen-giving domes. Between the colonies run various pipelines and a wide stretching green landscape with green fir trees is shown. An orange dusty mountain range can be recognized in the background.
Surviving Mars (Source: Haemimont Games, Paradox Interactive)

 

Surviving Mars is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and you can get it for PC, macOS & Linux via Steam.

 

4. The Wandering Village

With the newly released The Wandering Village you’ll play city building games of a very special kind: Try to survive with a group of nomads in the post-apocalypse. How? On the back of a gigantic slow-progressing creature (hence the name). The world around you has become lifeless and poisoned. The land growing on the creature’s back is fertile and offers a safe place to settle. Explore different biomes and numerous resources as you decide whether you’d rather act as a parasite or form a symbiotic relationship with the creature.

From the air, a huge dinosaur-like creature is shown from the side in a long shot, taking up almost the entire frame. It walks on four legs and its body is made of brown rocks. On its back is a huge plateau, on which a green miniature landscape consisting of tiny forests and a medieval settlement is depicted. The creature strides from left to right through a poisonous, foggy landscape. In the background, we can see green trees of different shapes.
Screenshot of The Wandering Village (Source: Stray Fawn Studio)

 

The game is available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and it can be purchased for PC, macOS & Linux at Steam.

 

3. Townscaper

If you are looking for new kinds of city building games, you might want to take a closer look at this title: There is no real gameplay in this game. Instead, you can go ham with your creativity and build picturesque island cities. Block by block, you can expand your dream city in all imaginable shapes and colors. A lovingly and warmly designed city-building game for PC, which has rightly taken its position in our list due to its innovative design.

Titles like Townscaper are very good city-building games, as seen in this image: In the long shot, we look at a huge, colorful island city consisting of numerous small houses with different colored facades and orange roofs in daylight. Around the island is a calm turquoise sea. At the top left of the picture, several seagulls circle above the island. On the right, the island becomes higher and a kind of castle with a white facade clearly stands out. The scene looks very stylized and colorful. Cities like this can be easily built in this game.
Townscaper (Source: Oskar Stålberg, Raw Fury)

 

Townscaper is available on Mobile, Nintendo Switch, and you can buy it for PC & macOS via Steam.

 

2. Frostpunk

This building sim is also a survival game, in which you’ll have to protect your society from the merciless cold. Heat is the most important resource in this title. Frostpunk offers you impressive graphics paired with sophisticated strategic gameplay. Demanding challenges and an exciting story await you. With the Console Edition, this original survival experience is now also available for consoles.

From above, we look down on a circular snowy canyon, which is completely surrounded by steep icy cliffs. In the center of this gorge is an equally circular steampunk-like metallic settlement, illuminated reddish by the generated heat. The buildings it contains are arranged radially, and in the center is a massive tall chimney from which red-hot steam emanates. On the left side of the image is depicted a kind of crane on a rocky outcrop.
In Frostpunk the cold is your constant enemy (Source: 11 bit studios)

 

Frostpunk is available for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, and it can be purchased for PC & macOS via Steam.

 

1. Cities: Skylines

This city builder has great depth and richness of detail that puts most other games in the genre to shame. Cities: Skylines is all about creating a breathtaking and fully functional urban metropolis where life blooms. You must build roads, create and maintain zones for different industries, manage taxes, and much more. The roots of Sim City are clear but developed further in a very clear direction. Those who like a high level of micromanagement will definitely have found a very suitable city building game with this title. On top of that, the game has a lot of remarkable mods available, with which the game experience can be extended at will.

Here we can see the cover image of the Cities Skylines game, which is considered to be one of the best city building games. In this image, the logo and title of the game "Cities Skylines" are shown in blue and in capital letters. Behind it, we can see a huge modern metropolis and several glass skyscrapers. On the left and right, two yellow construction cranes rise into the sky. At the top right, an airplane is flying in the sky. In the foreground of the picture, we see a railroad track running from the front left of the picture in an arc to the right out of the picture, and below it a traffic circle with green areas where trees are planted.
Cities Skylines (Source: Colossal Order, Paradox Interactive)

 

The game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and you can purchase it for PC, macOS & Linux on Steam.

 

Are you looking for genres other than city building games?

We hope that this list might have supported you in the search for your next favorite city builder. We wish you a lot of fun! Feel free to also check out our lists for the best free RPG games, the best free FPS games, and games like It Takes Two.

Did we miss any great city building games that belong on this list? Feel free to drop a comment below.


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