Cities: Skylines – Better than Sim City?


Recently I got a chance to try out the hugely anticipated City Skylines from Paradox Games.

The game features amazing customizability, large depth of detail and most importantly bridges the gap between casual and hardcore gamers of City Simulators universe.

In this article I will be looking at the similarities and differences between Cities: skylines and Sim City whilst looking at where the future may take us.

Where Sim City has failed, Cities: Skylines has succeeded

The SimCity franchise has long been the leading competitor in the bid against such games however there is a new kid on the block: Cities: Skylines. The game offers a refreshed stance on the popular genre that many users have been searching for since the gradual decline of quality in Sim City. From hands on time with both games there is a striking difference between them that may leave the users questioning themselves why Sim City, or other such games, never had the most basic of features that are now being praised by gamers all over the world.


With so much detail within one small 1.5GB download (available across Windows, Linux and Mac) it can be hard to highlight all of the interesting aspects that sets such a game apart. From districts to one way roads the game allows for more customization than has ever been explored before giving new opportunities to create a game that can closely represent the feeling of a real city without putting too much pressure on casual gamers.

The difference between Cities: Skylines and Sim City?

Cities: Skylines took all that people wanted from Sim City, took what is good, removed the unnecessary and crafted the game that should have been

How long will the hype last?

However great my first impression of the game is, I can’t help but take a more cynical stance to what seems to be a technically masterminded genre. Time has proven that the initial hype around a game can sometimes lead to unexpected situations that Colossal may never have thought of.


Such can be seen with the initial love for Sim City and its revolutionary features that were first introduced in February 1989 – over time the game slowly depreciated in value as it became a repetitive cliche in the gaming world. Maxis & EA were comfortable, too comfortable in their position as one of the largest grossing City Simulators, this lead them to forget about making strides in the genre that could ultimately keep them on top for many years to come.

However as seen with the likes of internet explorer, user demand prevailed and many gamers sought elsewhere to find what they needed. With a mix of disappointment and lack of satisfaction gamers have now latched on to the new with a hope that it may drive their experience forward from a developer who has proven they want to listen.

What am I missing?

I’m not going to lie, within hours of receiving the game I found myself glued to the desk planning out every meticulous detail of my future city (profoundly named Lord Daniel’s City of Awesomeness). The game is hugely addictive and leaves me with a burning desire whenever I must tear away from my citizens and actually get some real work done. However, this said, I couldn’t help but think of the few features lacking from the game.

Modular Buildings:

As you may be able to tell, I’m not a massive fan of Sim city, but one thing I did really like was the modular building system that allowed users to upgrade buildings to house more services for their city. In my eyes this allows the game to relate more closely to how a real city may operate.


If the government were to place a new educational facility down every time it needed the ability to house a few extra students, our society would not function (not that it functions very well anyway). It seems unnecessary to have to build a completely new bus station that will take up large amounts of space and budget when all you need is another bus or two to keep your citizens happy.

Customization of Commercial buildings

We have been given the ability to refine our industry areas down to specific niches such as: Oil, Quarries, Farming and Forestry but there is a distinct lack of such specifics within the commercial zones.


The ability to create a large gambling district that could be rife with crime, tourism and money would allow the small pieces of extra detail that could make the game that little bit better. Allowing users to paint out specific districts that could directly support the development in technology or medical advances will allow a player to craft their city around how they want it to develop in the future.

It is the careful options that a user makes to their districts with specific planing that should have an overall impact on how their city develops over time.

 The features that make the game

EA once said that they would never be able to implement large scaling cities spanning across multiple regions. Their answer? To make a series of smaller cities that can be interconnected in some way or another. But this is where they started to go wrong.

Spacious city planning:

Gamers didn’t want this – gamers wanted to be able to build large scale cities that could closely replicate the feeling of  real life cities. This is one feature that has been greatly appreciated by me and gamers alike. Unlocking the supported 9 tiles will leave 36 square km of vast space to be explored and build upon.


Yet it doesn’t seem to stop there! From day one release users have the ability to unlock the Full 25 tiles giving an incredible amount of space to play with (providing your pc hardware can handle it)

Full modding support:

Although using mods will disable the ability to earn any in-game achievements, it is the extensive support from the modding community that will make the game. In a time when more and more developers are choosing to integrate the steam workshop into their games, this move from Colossal will surely carve out their expanding existence within the Simulator universe as more and more mods find their way onto the workshop front.


It will be great to see what crazy mods people come out with for the game, which ones will stick as the must have mods and which ones will provide a bit of humor a game like this needs.

The list goes on

As mentioned in my introduction, there are so many great features packed into Cities: Skylines, so much so I have found myself having to limit myself on the size of this article (and not just because you are keeping me from tending to my city).  Colossal have something good going on here, and its the test of time that will prove whether or not the game will carry on  meeting  expectations with feature updates and releases.


I personally look forward to seeing what future developments may come from Cities: Skylines and how the Sim City franchise may develop with this new fierce competition. Maybe this will be the catalyst EA needs to kick-start the development of an even better City Simulator.

Have you played Cities: Skylines? Or are you just looking to give it a go? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a tweet to @DoubleUpGaming

So it begs the question? Is City Skylines a Sim City Rip off? Most certainly not.

Cities: Skylines is available on steam now for purchase at its lowest price of £22.99 or £29.99 for the deluxe edition

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