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The Best City Building Games To Play in 2024

City-building games have been popular for as long as I can remember, but throughout the past few years, there’s been a sudden surge of city builders, making it difficult to choose the best city building games to play in 2024.

From detailed mod-powered Cities Skylines to the more laidback god-wielding city builder/god sim The Universim, there have been plenty of impressive city building games recently, which makes it even harder to choose the right one for you.

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.

Farthest Frontier

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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!

While Cities Skylines 2 is now out, many are sticking to the first game, waiting for the sequel to not only bring out some new content but also become more polished following its rocky launch last year.

Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines is one of the most advanced city-building games ever made, which you can now pick up at a bargain price.

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3. Banished

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.

With very positive reviews on Steam, it’s really worth looking into Banished if you enjoy a challenge.

Banished

Banished is one of the most difficult city-building games ever made, but at least you can now grab it at a bargain price.

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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.

If you’ve played any of the old Tropico games, you will notice that Tropico 6 looks much better than the previous versions of the game, this is thanks to the game moving to Unreal Engine, offering much better graphics and producing a more realistic city building experience.

Tropico 6 is available on both PC and console, so is a perfect choice for console gamers looking for their ideal city builder.

Tropico 6

If you're looking for a city-builder that doesn't take itself too seriously, Tropico 6 might just be the game for you.

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6. Patron

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.

Patron

If you're looking for a more challenging city-building game, Patron takes city building survival to the next level.

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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 choices 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.

8. Foundation

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 of 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 traveled, the more pronounced the road.

9. Timberborn

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, and the Iron Teeth, who have shunned wood in favor 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.

Timberborn

Getting fed up with building cities full of humans? Why not give beavers a chance in Timberborn?

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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 its own unique buildings and units, making the game feel unique each time you play. And with the leveling up and rewards system, you can unlock new monuments as you progress through the game.

Age of Empires IV: Anniversary Edition

Play one of the most notorious city-building games ever made, and at a discounted price.

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11. Townscaper

If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, Townscraper offers a chilled-out city-building experience with no resources, currency, or any other micro-management to worry about.

While Townscaper might be a fairly simple city-building game, it allows players to be creative in a relaxing manner, while building a vibrant and colorful city.

While there is something weirdly satisfying about building towns in Townscaper, I did find myself quickly becoming bored and wondering what the point of continuing was. However, if you’re happy to build a city, without needing resources, goals, or an end game, Townscaper might be the relaxing city builder for you.

Townscaper

Does no resources, no enemies, and absolutely no goals, other than to build sound good? Then give Townscaper a try today.

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12. Cities Skylines 2

While the release of Cities Skylines wasn’t the smoothest, and the game has been riddled with performance issues, it has to be said, the sequel to one of the best city-building games ever made has some serious potential.

Cities Skylines 2 might need some work before it can take the crown of the best city builder, but it does manage to push some of the features that made the first game so great and expand upon them, making it an extremely promising game.

Of course, Cities Skylines 2 is still in its early days, so as more updates come out, and DLC is released, it has the potential to iron out the issues from release, add even more impressive buildings, and recapture the magic that made the first game so special in the first place.

Cities: Skylines II

Cities: Skylines II is the highly anticipated sequel to the hit city building game, Cities: Skylines.

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13. The Universim

One of this year’s latest city-building games, The Universim is an interesting mix of city builder and god simulator, with a splash of strategy thrown in for good measure.

City in The Universim

While The Universim comes from Indie developers, you wouldn’t know it. It’s fun, it’s addictive and it’s honestly one of the best city building games I’ve played for a long time.

For those of you who are a little more seasoned (a nice way of saying older) you will remember Populous: The Beginning, The Universim is essentially a modern spiritual successor to Populous and manages to capture everything that made Populous a great game in the first place.

The Universim

When choosing the best city-building game, why just stop at building a city, when you can build in outer space too.

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