15 Best City Building Games To Play In 2021

Whether you are bored with the city building game you are currently playing and looking for another one or you are new to this gaming genre and want absolutely the best game to start with. Whatever is your situation, don’t worry, we have you covered.

In a typical city-building game, the player has to plan the entire city and is responsible for its development and growth. While many features vary game-to-game, the core play remains the same throughout; plan and build. Often some of these games are considered construction and management simulation games.

Here we have compiled an interesting list that includes compelling city building games for all platforms that you should check out this year.

15. Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom

Rise of the Middle Kingdom

Developer: BreakAway Games/ Impressions Games
Platform: Windows

Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom is the 6th and the last installment of the City building series. Unlike its predecessors, Rise of the Middle Kingdom focuses on a totally new continent. This time its China. The game spans roughly from 2030 BCE to 1240 CE, covering a vast period of ancient and Imperial China.

Your objective is simply to keep the city running. Take care of its economy, provide food and other necessary goods to settlers. The level of food supply affects the number of citizens – more food means more settlers in the long run, which in turn means more taxes.

Since you will be serving under several ruling dynasties throughout the game, you may need to build various monuments and buildings according to their demands. Also, military and defense strategies play an important role here.

14. Prison Architect

prison architect

Developer:  Introversion
Platform: Windows, macOS, PlayStation, Xbox

Although Prison Architect is not a “city” building game, its similar gameplay makes it a fun and interesting choice. The game allows you to be in charge of the entire prison. You will be responsible for almost everything that happens in the prison, from building new facilities to hiring guards, officials, and much more.

But beware, do not run out of cash! You have to look out for riot breaks inside cells and other compartments. The game also allows you to micromanage along with tons of other features.

13. Megapolis

Developer: Social Quantum
Platform: Android

Megapolis is a popular mobile-based city-building strategy game featuring realistic graphics, a comprehensive economic structure and tons of other cool stuff. You can start by building houses for your citizens, then shops, roads, factories, power stations, parks; the list goes on and on.

Be careful about finances. Moving on, you can take your city to the next level by building a railway network, airports, and seaports. A wide variety of ancient building choices are also available.

12. The Settlers IV

the settlers

Developer: Blue Byte
Platform: Windows, iOS, Android

The Settlers IV is the pinnacle of the entire Settlers series. While it’s predominantly a real-time strategy game, many of its superb city-building features make it a viable option for gamers. There are two game modes; single-player and multiplayer both of which start with the player having few tools and raw materials and some settlers.

The main objective is to build a thriving settlement with a strong economy and military, which will help you to fend off enemy attacks and conquer new territories.

The original game offers three playable civilizations/race; Romans, Vikings, and Mayans. Trojans are available with an expansion pack. All four races have their strengths and weakness and start with different ratios of raw materials.

11. Anno 2070

Anno 2070

Developer: Related Designs/ Blue Byte
Platform: Windows

The game takes you to the year 2070, where a dramatic rise in oceanic water level is now causing floods all over the world. As a result, most of the world cities are now gone. However, the new opportunity appears as several highlands are now converted into small islands. And it’s up to you how you make it count.

10. Townsmen

Developer: HandyGames
Platform: Android

This one is one of my personal favorites. Townsmen is a free to play, a town-building strategy game set in medieval times. As a player, your prime objective is to transform a sluggish backwater town into a thriving empire and to do that you must take care of your townsmen’s needs.

Build houses and farms to feed a growing population and marketplaces, taverns, jousting grounds to keep them happy. The game features a complex production and supply chain, which would give you a really hard time.

You also need to build guard towers and recruit soldiers to defend your town from raging bandits and endure reoccurring natural calamities. An unchecked sandbox mode is also available in case you want to test your skills before starting a real round.

9. Zeus: Master of Olympus

Master of olympus

Developer: Impression Games
Platform: Windows

Zeus: Master of Olympus is the 5th installment of the popular City Building Series. As its name implies, the game focuses on the economic and political settings of ancient Greece. Like other games in this series, as a player, you are responsible for distributing basic amenities for you.

In order to fulfill citizens’ demands, you need to set up farms and fisheries, locate mines for extracting marble and bronze. You also have to take care of the military and religion. Religion or mythology plays a much significant role in this game than any of its precursors.

8. SimCity 2000

simcity 2000

Developer: Maxis
Platform: macOS

I should warn you beforehand, you may never be debt-free again. SimCity 2000 is one of the unforgiving city building games ever. Just like in most of the city buildings, management games, you are responsible for everything going on with the city. Setup industries, food sources, and most important houses.

7. Caesar III

Caesar III

Developer: Impressions Games
Platform: Windows, macOS

Caesar III is the third installment of the city-building game series, Caesar, in which you will act like a Roman governor. Your main objective is to build a city from the dust and keep all your citizens safe and happy at all costs while doing favors for the emperor.

The game has two modes; main campaign mode, in which you progress after completing a given set of goals, and Free build mode, where you don’t have to worry about any emperor or goals, however, invasion and attack threats are still there.

The game’s interface is quite simple: it has dedicated tabs for different aspects. “Empire Map” feature can be used to fix trades with other Roman cities. A load of other features is also there which will surely enhance your gameplay experience.

6. Pharaoh


Developer: Impression Games
Platform: Windows

Pharaoh is much similar to Caesar III in many areas. It shares the same ideology and game physics. The game takes the essence of Caesar III and changes the backdrop of ancient Rome to ancient Egypt. However, it features interesting new additions that eventually make it slightly better than Caesar III.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward, you need to attract more settlers in order to grow by giving them home, food and jobs. The game also emphasizes strongly on religious and entertainment aspect once your settlement gains a considerable amount of population.

Pharaoh challenges players with its complex production chain. Resource distribution further tests the level of management skills you possess.

5. Anno 1404

Anno 1404

Developer: Related Designs/ Blue Byte
Platform: Windows

Anno 1404 or Dawn of Discovery (in the U.S) is one of the most dynamic and popular city-building games out there. It’s the prequel of Anno 2070. While the events in the game are purely fictional, creators have based them on various aspects of medieval Europe.

Like other games in the Anno series, you must colonize new islands, set up farms and factories to fulfill the various needs of your folks. One of the most important aspects of the game is trade. Without an effective trade system in place, your city might never grow after a certain level.

4. Tropico 5

tropico 5

Developer: Haemimont Games
Platform: Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One/360

Tropico 5 is the fifth installment of the popular Tropico city building and management series. At first, the game may look similar to its precursor given its identical graphics, characters and sound effects. However, Tropico 5 brings a lot new to the table. It became the very first game in the entire series to provide a multiplayer feature.

Read: 35 Best GBA Games OF All Time | Bring Your Childhood Back

3. Banished


Developer: Shining Rock Software
Platform: Windows

Banished is a unique city building game that will test your resource management skills in the direst situations. Here you are in charge of a small group of exiled travelers, who are now looking forward to building their community, have their own homes and a family.

You must take care of these citizens by keeping them well-fed and happy all the time in order to grow. You need to assign the population to do specific jobs such as fishing, farming, mining, and teaching, etc.

The game also has no skill tree, which means any type of building can be constructed at any point in time, provided that workers already have all the needed resources. Instead of currency or money, a barter system is used to trade resources.

Overall this is one hell of a fun game, especially if you like hardcore management games.

2. SimCity 4

simcity 4

Developer: Maxis
Platform: Windows, macOS

SimCity 4 is perhaps the most popular installment of the SimCity franchise. Like its precursors, SimCity 4 also project players as mayors, who are responsible for the development of the cities. However, cities are divided into regions and each of the regions can be developed separately.

In order to be successful, players have to carefully manage finance and resource distribution for its citizens. For the first time, features like day and night cycles were added.

1. Cities: Skylines

SkylinesSnapshot taken from IGN Review

Developer: Colossal Order
Platform: Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PlayStation

Cities: Skylines is perhaps one of the best city-building games out there. Since its initial release in 2015, the game has become one of the fan favorites. It features a mixture of new and old elements that enhances the overall city building experience.

As a player, you will be in charge of your city’s public amenities, transportation, road placement, taxation, and almost every other responsibilities. To succeed, you need to regulate the economic, social and environmental state of the city.

Read: 15 Best Business Simulation Games | Learn Economic And Strategy

Cities: Skylines is a modern take on the classic city simulation. The game introduces new gameplay elements to realize the thrill and hardships of creating and maintaining a real city whilst expanding on some well-established tropes of the city building experience.

Written by
Bipro Das

Biprojit has been a staff writer at RankRed since 2015. He mainly focuses on game-changing inventions but also covers general science with a particular interest in astronomy. His domain extends to mobile apps and knows a thing or two about finance. Biprojit has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delhi, majoring in Geography.

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