TMGR [4]: Cities Skylines

Onwards with another 20min review with a game in a similar vein to last week’s review. Cities: Skylines is often lauded as the game that SimCity’s 2013 reboot should have been. Here’s what 20mins with it is like!


I loaded up Cities: Skylines and was in to my pet city New Plymouth in next to no time. I’m beginning to really appreciate games with short load times when I’m doing a 20min review. As an adult gamer with all the responsibilities that go with being adult, I don’t always have that much time to spend on a game – every extra minute spent waiting on a loading screen counts! I’m looking at you GTA Online.

I’ve only spent about 6 hours growing up New Plymouth, but it’s already a flourishing city of over 30,000 people with a very dense and busy central business district. I’m quite attached to it at that, and I especially like how you can track individual people’s lives through your city – from work, to home to wherever. It’s gets you a bit more involved, it feels a bit more alive than just watching ants from up on high.

The first problem I had to deal with in my 20mins is one that plagues nearly every city in existence – traffic.

I had a chronic traffic problem, particularly on one major road heading into the city centre. I’d attempted a couple of small projects and even built a park and ride style train line to ease the congestion, but the roads I originally built just simply weren’t big enough for the traffic volume coming in to my city. It was time to get creative and widen that road. I had to knock down a few houses to make room for the much wider road, which didn’t exactly make for happy residents, but the benefits of much eased congestion made most people happy overall thankfully!

A very busy road in the middle of New Plymouth
A very busy road in the middle of New Plymouth

I really enjoy the challenge of city builders, and Cities: Skylines is great for that. Sorting the traffic out was a great challenge. That said, it wouldn’t have been possible without the massive array of mods out there on the Steam Workshop for the game, especially some very handy traffic info tools. I love how open the developers made the game for mods, it keeps it alive and vibrant, and most importantly lets the community improve on the base game.

Second task in my 20mins was to get a business park I’d been trying to get going out by the inter-state motorway and airport to grow. It had originally been just a handful of small dodgy businesses when I first started growing it, but with some encouragement – including a snazzy new University, it’s now off the ground and going places. I’m hoping it’ll turn in a high-flyer’s area, a sort of silicone valley of New Plymouth.

And; that was it for my 20mins. I got 2 big projects done, but the real magic of Cities: Skylines, and other sandbox builders like Prison Architect, is the bug it gives you. I have a thousand and one ideas going on in my head of where I want to take the city next. It often won’t go to plan, and there’s even more magic in how it develops when it goes off-piste. I really like the sandbox bug, but it can be a cruel mistress.

Last but not least for the 20min review I have to do a rating!

I really enjoyed playing Cities: Skylines for 20mins, but I’m not sure I could actually play for much longer than an hour at the most. That’s good when it comes to a 20min review, I felt like I got a decent amount of stuff done and felt happily rewarded, but I think if you had more than an hour it might not be the best game as it would potentially get dull.

I like a game that I can dabble in though, and based purely on my 20mins and whether I’d play it again in another 20min slot, I’ll give Cities: Skylines a very solid 4/5. Plus, I’ll chip in with my personal opinion that I think it’s the best modern city builder out there.

Digital Salad –


3 thoughts on “TMGR [4]: Cities Skylines

  1. Will_GSRR July 7, 2015 / 10:17 am

    I love Cities. It’s a great game. What I love about games like this is that they can be so east to get in to, but so complex to master.

    They’re also a nice casual change from all the shooting and blowing stuff up. A nice game to chill out with.

    Nice review.

    • Digital Salad July 8, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      Thanks for the comment!

      Cities and games like it are fantastic for that, you can just pick them up and get totally sucked in in no time, but you can always leave them and come back.

      They’re chilled out and relaxing. It’s like the perfect guilt free easy going game!

      Have you ever tried Prison Architect? Although its pretty different from Cities in a few ways, I find it hits a lot of the same notes for me, so you might like that as well.

      • Will_GSRR July 8, 2015 / 8:04 pm

        Yea ive played prison architect. Love that game too. I’m a bit of a sucker for management and building games.

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