11 Games Like Cities Skylines

Image credit: Kalypso Media

Cities Skylines is one of the most in-depth and immersive city builders, so where do you go next once you’ve played it?

If you’re looking for games like Cities Skylines, it can be tricky to find titles with the same level of complexity.

However, there are loads of games that capture the same energy with a lot of creativity. These range from historical and sci-fi builders to more relaxing sim titles. 

In this list, you’ll find the 11 best games like Cities Skylines. We’ll start with some of the more well known picks, with some of the most fun and intriguing further down the list.

Going Medieval

The Irregular Corporation

Historical city builders were all the rage once, but what if you want one that’s similar to Cities Skylines? Modern games have much more polish and a deeper level of management than the old Sierra city builders.

Going Medieval is a game that captures both aspects. You get the authentic historical city builder with all the detail of a modern approach. It’s a colony building simulator, with the aim to build a fortress that can defend itself from the wilderness, the plague, and raids from rival powers. It’s set around the end of the 14th century. 

The game has very immersive simulations for villagers and other characters. Each have their own agendas and history, being drawn from the context of the era. This adds realism and a unique dynamic to politics.

Being set in the 14th century, there are obviously not the same expansive options for transport. This is still a game like Cities Skylines though with its deep approach to building a base. You’ll find the city under siege approach provides plenty of entertainment, even without trains and modern technology. 

Prison Architect

Paradox Interactive

Prison Architect is another game from the same publisher as Cities Skylines. They have some major differences, though. Prison Architect isn’t about building a utopian society, you’re building the prison itself and attempting to make sure no one can get out. 

Beyond the surface level, there’s a lot in common. Prison Architect is one of the best games for Cities Skylines fans. Players can take advantage of some less than ethical sources for building up their prison, like bribery and snitches.

It offers a unique twist in letting players attempt to escape these prisons, too! Escape Mode lets you control one of the NPCs in your prison or one built by someone else. This mode lets you really test out how well you’ve built your prison. 

Most city builder games go for a slick art style, but Prison Architect has a simple, cartoony aesthetic. It helps to distract from the fact that your prison is full of criminals and dangerous gangs, and makes a nice change of pace compared to most other games like Cities Skylines.

The title gives you full control of how you want to build your prison. If you want to construct some bizarre cruel maze, you can. Equally, if you want to optimize things and try to make your prison the single most efficient there’s a lot of space for that too.

Prison Architect excels in everything a builder game should. It gives you space to be creative and also the options you need to drill down into management. It even lets you experience your creation as one of the residents. That’s pretty unique even in the best sim games.

Two Point Hospital

SEGA

Two Point Hospital is a simulator game with a few added twists. On its surface, it’s a hospital-running sim putting you in charge of ensuring the health of a community. However, it’s the personality that the game adds that has really grabbed the attention of fans.

Two Point Hospital isn’t just a simulator based around a hospital. With its expansions, you have the scope to make your hospital an entire hub. There are in-depth management options for the hospital that covers all aspects of healthcare. 

You can even try to make the hospital an award-winning facility that pioneers the latest healthcare. Outside of the mechanics, you’ve also got the characters themselves. Everything in Two Point Hospital has been designed to be a bit more interesting than your standard simulation game, and creates a lifelike atmosphere.

The game art style cartoonish matches its tone, with fun interactions and secrets hidden all over the game. Touches like this help to make it one of the best games like Cities Skylines.

Two Point Hospital isn’t the only builder of this type though, Two Point Campus is another great option as well. Two Point Hospital specifically shows what the series can do, though.

Frostpunk

11 bit Studios

Frostpunk is a survival and city building game that takes building a sustainable society to the extreme. The main challenge here is managing your resources in a way that ensures survival. Building a metropolis is possible, but it’s definitely a much bigger challenge here.

The Frostpunk series is set after a blizzard storm wrecked the earth and left the planet harsh with people struggling to survive. This is a survival game, a city builder, and there’s even focus on strategy here. To survive, you need to protect the last city standing on earth.

The strategy element adds a lot to of depth to the title. There are different situations that’ll arise that test your resolve and your city’s strength. It’s difficult to find the right balance to survive all potential threats.

Most city builders work best on PC. Frostpunk, though, has had a decent translation to consoles. It’s one of the top city builder games for PS5, with a great level of performance and user experience. Games like Cities Skylines are rarely fantastic on console, so this is great to see as a city builder fan.

Frostpunk is a harsher world than Cities Skylines, with an unforgiving approach to management. If you’re up for the challenge though, building a city in this uninhabitable earth is a fun change of pace. 

Planet Coaster

Frontier Developments plc.

Planet Coaster does for theme park sims what Skylines did for the city builder.

This game takes the coaster tycoon format and extends it just about as far as it can go. You’re planning and building theme parks here, with levels of control over the management that are staggering.

The title has an impressive level of detail and realism. You get to create an entire theme park from the ground up. There are the options to use specific theming everywhere. You can make a fantasy park like Disney Land or go for something themed purely around thrills.

The construction of the park itself is left completely open. You can build coasters on a piece-by-piece basis. That’s a level of detail replicated everywhere, and the depth that you can control everything from aesthetics to guest experience is astounding.

Everything down to the paths your guests use can be customized to make them perfect. If you’ve ever had a dream theme park in mind, you can probably build it exactly here.

This game is more of a creative sim game than a challenging one, but you can play it in a way that makes it more challenging if that’s your thing. If you enjoy building excessive or creative cities in Skylines, then this is the perfect theme park experience for you. 

Civilization VI

2K Games

The Sid Meier’s Civilization Series is one of the most iconic strategy games, but this particular installment brought in some very enjoyable city building elements. Civ is one of the better games like Cities Skylines if you want more competitive gameplay.

Civilization VI features a robust system for planning out your cities. As you make progress, you’ll have to direct workers to gather more resources for the city. Districts and buildings will need independent work, and you’ll need to plan space and prioritize in each city.

The expansions for the game build on this even further. Population happiness becomes a major part of strategy. You’ll have to build cities that further your goals of domination but also keep a happy populace. 

The city building aspects are newer to the series, but Civilization still has its deep strategy elements. Civilization VI is one of the best turn-based games on PC for its complexity and the level of control that it gives players.

Civilization might not be as focused on city building as the other games in this list, but each city that players build is one step towards building an empire from a single settler unit. This is a unique and fun alternative to Cities Skylines.

Tropico 6

Kalypso Media

Tropico is a more light-hearted take on the city building genre, but one that’s become quite sophisticated. It’s modeled on the idea of a banana republic. Over multiple ages, you’ll need to build your island from a colony to an independent and strong state.

Tropico 6 has added unique mechanics with a Leader character being built up by the player. With greater developments to each citizen on your island, you can build a power base among the population.

Tropico 6 has some brilliant mechanics for transportation and infrastructure. That’s alongside a focus on economic development to achieve an independent island. The game even gives you control over policy and government. 

Tropico 6 has a lot of funny dialogue and story elements in game, which make it feel fresh and lifelike. It’s this unique approach that makes it one of the best building games on PC, as well as fitting many of the requirements that players will be searching for when hunting down more games like Cities Skylines to try out.

Railway Empire

Kalypso Media

Cities Skylines is a great city builder all-round, but its traffic management is one of the most impressive parts of the game. If you’re looking for more of this specifically then Railway Empire is probably the best pick for you!

This game is a full immersive sim based entirely around railways. It offers a similar level of depth and complexity to the traffic system in Skylines, but with a lazer focus on the transport. There’ll be no more buildings getting in the way of your amazing traffic system.

This is a game that offers much more variety and depth than a standard city builder, due to the unique focus and gameplay. You’re building more than one city and can even build a fully functioning transport system on a major scale.

Planet Zoo

Frontier Developments plc.

Much like Planet Coaster, Planet Zoo brings a new level of depth and immersion to zoo-based gameplay. It has the depth of options and control that you’d expect as a Cities Skylines fan, but a lot of new content and features.

Planet Zoo features a lot of animals. You might end up building a zoo with a more varied ecosystem than any you’ve seen before. There’s a strong focus on creativity and player freedom, with heaps of tools to help you customize your zoo.

Playing through this game is a relaxing and almost meditative experience. You can build up the perfect habitat for your animals, and work on keeping your visitors happy. There’s the potential to create some truly unique maps, making this an ideal pick for Cities Skylines fans who want something more laid back and creative.

Dyson Sphere Program

Gamera Games

Changing pace from the last recommendation, Dyson Sphere Program is a game is for the player who likes breaking down the details.

This game focuses on the idea of a Dyson Sphere, or superstructure. This is a hypothetical megastructure that could be constructed around a star itself. The project would allow for energy harvesting, and came about to explain how an advanced society could fuel its energy needs.

This game puts you in charge of actually making that theory a reality. Not an easy task. If your main concern building in Cities Skylines is trying to make your city as efficient as possible, this is the game for you.

Dyson Sphere Program is a city builder for those chasing perfection. You can attempt to make your megastructure look good, but it’s a big challenge just getting things running. Once you do you can level up your project to begin producing all you need to fuel space exploration.

This pick won’t be for everyone, but it’s a fun futurist twist on the city building genre. It’s a fantastic sci-fi take on a game like Cities Skylines and is worth checking out today.

Surviving Mars

Paradox Interactive

If you’re a big fan of Cities Skylines then chances are that you’ve already heard of Surviving Mars, as it’s from the same publisher. If you’re not, this is one of the closest games to Cities Skylines on the market right now.

Surviving has some very similar systems for city building but with unique twists. The main difference is that the game is set on Mars. The cities are under domes since there’s a bit of an oxygen problem building skylines on the red planet. 

The game has stronger survival elements that you’ll find in Cities, but the same depth and creativity. Making Mars a liveable place for your citizens is a big task. The game has a lot of different systems, with great management options for resources and financing.

You can get support in game via various space agencies. But you’re going to need to find a way to get more supplies and oxygen, then use these supplies to build cities that can stand up to the harsh environments of Mars with just their limited input.

The game goes a bit further than just building cities. There are some sci-fi elements in mysteries you’ll find on the planet. Building a fully-fledged utopia on Mars is going to be difficult in any scenario, but this is a challenging and rewarding city builder.

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