The city-building sim game is a well-respected classic genre. What makes games like Cities: Skylines or Civilization VI is not just the satisfaction (but that part plays a lot) but the cycle of building, optimizing, admiring and progressing your own utopian world. In fact, I can get so caught up starting mesmerised by my own little world I’m hardly playing at all, just maintaining.
So what makes a city builder great? Well, there’s really no one thing, but I guess we can all agree that Cities: Skylines has cracked a formula. So we’re looking for more city builders that are upcoming to give you some sense of control in this chaotic world.
The Wandering Village by Stray Fawn Studio
Release Date: Spring/Summer 2022
One of the most unique city building concepts I’ve seen in some time. The Wandering Village has you building your city on the back of a giant creature called ‘Onbu’. Together you create a symbiotic relationship to escape the poisonous place that Earth has become. Balance the needs of your survival with the health of the creature you live on. Will you both flourish together? Or will you just be a parasite on its back? In this beautiful post-apocalyptic world.
Farthest Frontier by Crate Entertainment
Release Date: 2022
This is giving me strong Age of Empires vibes, with less war and more farming. Farthest Frontier has one of my favourite types of themes for city building games – medieval rural. Where you go into the untamed wilderness with 4 workmen and build your town. In this game you’ll need to gather your raw materials, hunt, fish, harm and produce items to trade and consume. There are 14 different raw materials from wood to clay that need to be collected. And there’s even a fairly intricate farming system with up to 17 types of food and even more crafted items.
Farthest Frontier looks like an idyllic place to spend the day. But you’ll still need to protect your people from natural disasters from dysentary, invaders and even their water source drying up! Change up the difficulty if you want to make your conditions more brutal. But I’m definitely a more peaceful city builder player.
Kapital: Sparks of Revolution by Lapovich Team
Release Date: 2022
Want your city building game intermingled with economic, political and class struggle? Well, Kapital: Sparks of Revolution might be the one for you. As the mayor of this small European city you’re balancing on the knife edge of social unrest. Supress the working class too much and riots will happen. Not enough and it becomes the Wild Wild West out there. Balance between the bobles, the bourgeois and the working class to keep your economy running well. There’s no way to keepo everyone happy. I personally like this game for the old-timey genre, building train stations, taverns and inns.
LakeSide by Massive Galaxy Studios
Release Date: 2022
Feigning off war and social unrest not really your speed? Then have a look at LakeSide, a more cozy city builder. In this picteresque little town by the lake you can choose to keep your town quaint or sprawl out into a cliffside metropolis. There are various building styles to construct, unique ones to unlock. Did I see a Pantheon in the back? There are wonderfully beautiful places to build your city in. And I’m loving this unique 2D side-scrolling city building perspective, opposed to the regular top down.
Gord by Covenant.dev
Release Date: 2022
Like your city building with a touch of survival fantasy? Then Gord is the game for you. So this game is probably the least like Cities: Skylines on this list. It has completely different gameplay modes but at its heart, city building is quite important.
You’re leading your tribe into the forbidden lands, where old Slavic folklore creatures survive. Complete quests to shape the personalities of your people and ultimately decide the fate of your community. Build your town but also go out on missions to protect your people and get them their required aid. To this, you’ll need to pray to the Gods for powers to cast spells and defend your town. Gain control of beasts or turn them against your enemies. Do everything you can because if you don’t look after your people their sanity will break down. Causing them to flee your rule or worse.
Frostpunk 2 by 11 Bit Studios
Release Date: TBA
The original Frostpunk game is a post-apocalyptic dark survival game. It’s a hard one that has you looking after a town with hundreds during a never-ending winter. It’s a brutal city builder where you have to make hard choices. Do you focus on keeping your people happy at the expense of collecting resources? Do you take a hardline on rule-breaking? It’s one of our ‘Top 10 Wasteland Games To End the World In’ and now they’re making a part 2.
Frostpunk 2 is the sequel to this harsh society survival game. Winter continues and so does progress in the cities. This time you’ve graduated from the coal era into the age of oil. But what does this increased demand mean for your people and factions? How will you handle your politics? How will you keep your people united? Who will you need to sacrifice for the greater good?
Power To The People by Hermes Interactive
Release Date: February 8th 2022
I know this list said upcoming games but this one came out recently so I wanted to put it here. In this city-building game, instead of micromanaging everything, you’re micromanaging one thing – the power grid. So I’m not an electrician or anything but I think the person who made this was. And was unsatisfied with Cities: Skylines portrayal of just dragging lines from one power source to a housing area. Instead, there are a lot of rules and systems needed. Did you know if too much power is funnelled through one place, it will overload and explode? Yeah, I didn’t know that either.
But if you love the intricacies of city building you’re going to love this game. Here you’ll build stable power grids that hopefully won’t fail during a lightning storm. Make upgrades and repairs as needed. Keep it stable in different climates and terrains. And hope that someone mass-mining cryptocurrency doesn’t black out your town.
Kingdoms Reborn by Earthshine
Release Date: November 2020 (Early Access)
Does Early Access count as an upcoming game even though you can play it already? Yeah probably. As someone who’s played a number of Early Access games, things can change quite dramatically over time. Kingdoms Reborn is unique in its own way because it has multiplayer co-op mode. I’ve never actually played a city building game with someone but it sounds cute! Multiplayer goes up to 8 players where you can edit your world in real time. If only I had 7 more friends.
As with moth medieval city building games, Kingdoms Reborn will have you starting in different eras, where you’ll need to research technology in order to progress. There are distinctive biomes, simulated citizens and of course the regular sort of natural challenges. But now with friends!
Industries of Titan by Brace Yourself Games
Release Date: 21st June 2021 (Early Access)
A cybernetic city building game that takes place on Saturn’s moon Titan. This is pure industrial city-corporation expansion at its best. You’ve been granted new headquarters in Titan’s inhospitable atmosphere. There, you’ll need to bear the onslaught of ruthless rebels while keeping your benefactor happy and explore the ruins of a forgotten civilization. The Council expects much from you. Do you have what it takes to truly thrive? With barely any construction materials, you’ll need to salvage, design and expand your city. Some buildings like factories will need even further design to optimise your limited resources.
Timberborn by Mechanistry
Release Date: 15th September 2021 (Early Access)
Some of the best builders in the world belong to the animal kingdom and the best of them being beavers. After the end of mankind’s rule on Earth, animals began to adapt asnd evolve. Beavers have come back to claim the land. But amongst them are the factions. Will you be the nature-friendly Folktail beavers that work together with teh land or the aggressive Iron Teeth that build industrial machinery. Whoever you choose to create your thriving beaver settlement you’ll find plenty to sink your teeth into!
Kainga: Seeds of Civilization by Erik Rempen
Release Date: 12th November 2021 (Early Access)
Bonus round because we love a solo indie game developer. Erik Rempen’s Kainga: Seeds of Civilization is an ancient village builder that has variation at its heart. Things change in your village and depending where you are you’ll encounter different beasts, culture, technology and resources. Giving you different biomes to play with and adpat to. Additionally there’s a fairly unique element called the “Thinker”. This is a person who’s like your King in chess. Fairly weak he needds to be protected at all costs because he’s the only one who can discover new technology. Develop your town with only his help and then move on to a new one!
If you enjoyed this list be sure to check out our ‘10 Upcoming Games if you Love Stardew Valley‘! Or ’10 Upcoming Sandbox Games For You To Escape Into’. If you have any suggestions on this list or if you’ve played any of these games be sure to leave us a comment below!