One thing I’ve learned from Cities Skylines on Xbox One is that I’ll never make a good mayor. Despite all the fancy patterns of my city road layouts and my excellent placement of Industrial, Home and Office Space, I just couldn’t seem to keep everyone happy.
My early experience of the game saw me raising taxes or lowering them to no effect because there was always someone complaining and a mountain of debt building up despite my best efforts to keep things under control. With sewerage backing up and electricity seemingly not covering the entire city and not enough cash to sort this out, you could probably guess why my city wasn’t the greatest place to live, but hey, it did have a sea view, so there was that.
Thankfully, the more I played Cities Skylines, the better I got at managing a bustling city, to the point where I unlocked landmarks and even expanded into surrounding areas, all while rolling in the cash and at least keeping the majority of citizens happy. When things go well it’s great being mayor, but it never takes long for things to go bad again.
Running your own city isn’t easy, you have bus routes to plan, parks to build, essential services to manage and roads to upgrade. All while trying to find the correct balance between your budget and what you’ll tax the people, businesses and the commercial giants who’ve have set up shop in your town.
When the game first starts out and once you get to grips with it, managing a smaller city is pretty straightforward – as long as everyone has clean water and electricity then you’ll have smiling faces. The problem is, as your city grows the people become more demanding, they want better education, lower taxes, more hospitals and transport. The growing size also takes a toll on the water and power services, meaning you’ll need to expand these and pump more money into them. You’ll also unlock a massive amount of options the more successful you become, allowing you to create districts, which allows you to assign certain areas to specific industries (i.e Farming, Forestry), build landmarks, shopping centres and even choose which part of your cities has all the office space.
There are so many tricks to get your city the way you want it. I discovered that if I built a road in the hills then all manner of posh housing would pop up, so I figured that popping a tennis court nearby would keep those people happy and it seemed to do the trick. It also seems wise to keep your power station far from industrial areas as this results in less complaining, no-one wants to live near a cloud of pollution after all.
Mostly it’s about trial and error, which for me took around four hours before I finally figured out the best layout for my small city, at which point it just seemed to expand at an incredible rate. This was made all the more exciting thanks to the addition of the “After Dark” expansion, which you to see your city come to life at night, while this doesn’t really make a huge difference to how you play, since it is mostly visual, it’s still pretty great seeing your creation all lit up.
As far as the controls go, Cities Skylines is a breeze to use on Xbox One. You’ll use the right stick to control the cursor and the left stick for the camera. You can also zoom in and out with the triggers, while the other buttons are used to control the vast amount of menu options which will see you carrying out tasks from building roads and important services to demolishing abandoned buildings. It’s all very easy to pick up and play.
There’s not really another game like Cities Skylines on console at this time, but even if there was, it’s hard to see how it could possibly be more feature packed than this. Cities Skylines is addictive, fun and very challenging, so if you are in the market for a city sim, look no further.
Review Score: 4/5
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