1. Project Highrise PC, SomaSim
Project Highrise is a building simulation game currently in development & will be released later this year. The mid-century modern style of graphics is one that developer Matt Viglione describes as "an architectural drawing come alive". In this game you play the role of the building manager for an ever-expanding skyscraper. You must add offices, apartments, shops, & infrastructure while finding the right balance & between each component. Once you start making a profit, you can grow into a much taller & more complex building. This game is definitely reminiscent of the 1994 game SimTower but the graphics are much more stunning & the game dynamics seem more in tune with modern day buildings & their occupants.
2. Blockhood PC, Plethora-Project, Jose Sanchez, Architect
Block’hood is a vertical neighborhood-building simulator that celebrates the diversity and experimentation of cities and the unique ecosystems within them. Budding city planners have access to 90+ building blocks to arrange, combine, create unique neighborhoods and discover the implications of their designs. The game will embark on a story of ecology & understanding as additional resources are always needed to unlock new blocks, configurations & combinations to create more prosperous neighborhoods. You must understand how each block depends on the others & balance the input/output of each block component as part of the whole to create a productive & symbiotic system. Be careful as seeking a utopian neighborhood carelessly, can lead to dystopia.
3. The Sims, PC, EAGames
I don’t even know what to say about The Sims. It’s a simulation game that simulates life, but that’s not even the best part! All you need to do is type (Control+Shift+C) to enter into cheat mode, enter the word ‘mother lode’, repeat those 2 steps about 50 times, & you’re financially set to build the house of your dreams. There are endless downloadable mods available to edit the terrain or make your own custom items for your Sims so the options are almost limitless. I actually enjoy building & designing the interior of houses so much that I rarely, if ever, play the actual game.
4. Prison Architect, Introversion Software
Prison Architect is a construction and management simulation game where you are in charge of designing, building, & managing a prison. You are responsible for building & overseeing the day to day operations of your prison including building cells, facilities, connecting utilities like water & power, hiring & assigning staff like a warden, guards, maintenance workers, & more while upgrading the capabilities of your prison to advance & gain access to more items. As prison manager you are also responsible for the making sure the prison’s money is managed properly & that your inmates are content. Your role is to be both the Architect & Designer of the prison campus, while managing it daily.
5. Home Design Story, Storm8, Mobile App
Home Design Story is a casual little game in which you earn money & gems by completing tasks. In-game currency can be used to purchase new plots of land or new interior & exterior items. People playing this game have really gone above & beyond what was originally meant for this by using items like carpet tiles & room dividers to create incredible lots. You can play this game using items in the standard way or you can get creative & create a medieval castle or shopping center. New items are posted weekly so you’ll never find yourself getting bored. There is a strong social aspect to this game too, so the more friends you have playing it, the more you earn.
6. Anno 2205, Ubisoft, PC
Anno 2205 is a futuristic city building, resource management, simulation strategy game like no other I’ve ever played. Not only will you be building an empire on earth, but will eventually be colonizing & mining the moon for resources as well by implementing a space exploration program in-game! Just make sure to check out the expansion packs & also make sure your computer meets all of the minimum requirements to run a game of this magnitude before buying… it’s a bit pricey but very much worth it.
Note: I’m currently playing another game in the Anno Series… Dawn of Discovery: Venice. It is only one of many in the Anno Series of games, which have been created in a bunch of different time periods from the 1400’s to the 1700’s to the 2200’s. So if you’re not interested in the high-tech world of 2205, you have many other options in the past that are just as fun!
7. Imagine Earth, Serious Brothers, PC
Imagine Earth is a real-time planetary colonization strategy & simulation game developed by an Indie gaming company called Serious Brothers. Your job as colony manager is to explore and populate distant planets by building thriving communities that turn a profit. In this game you’ll have to deal with threats like meteorite strikes, twisters and wild fires while deciding to create a world dependent on fossil fuels or green energy. In order to be successful playing Imagine Earth you will need to coexist & trade with natives, aliens, and other hostile colonies, dig for crystals & natural resources, pacify riots & make sure your inhabitants are kept well fed & happy through mastering the perfect balance of production, consumption, & technology.
8. Project Aura, Pixel Quality Games, PC
Project Aura is another city building strategy game in which you lead a colony of people who are climate disaster survivors. The Earth is now covered in water but you will use technology to rebuild a self-sufficient community on the water. The game is set in an “uncertain future where human activity has increased the effects of global warming, almost to the extent of life on Earth becoming extinct. Land surfaces are almost completely submerged in water, & groups of survivors now form colonies on the sea’s surface, forced to live under artificial domes that protect them from the harmful atmosphere.”
9. Banished, Shining Rock Software, PC
Banished is a real time strategy & survival village building game in which you control a group of exiled travelers who have been forced from their homes & need to rebuild they‘re lives. They are your primary resource & it’s your job to instruct them on how to keep them fed, happy, healthy & procreating. This will enable your village to grow & become prosperous. This game is fairly difficult at first, but if you’re familiar with this type of game I’m pretty sure you can get through your first winter without you’re entire colony perishing in the cold.
10. Cities Skylines, Colossal Order Ltd & Paradox Interactive, PC
Cities Skylines has completely replaced the SimCity series in my game collection, so much so, that I don’t even play it anymore. This game is a modern take on the classic city building games in which you build & manage EVERY aspect of your city including traffic flow, zoning, neighborhoods, etc. It has so many urban planning & construction features, I don’t even know where to begin describing them. Like Anno 2205 though, this game has a lot of minimum requirements & large expansion packs (Snowfall & AfterDark) so be sure to check that your computer can handle it before buying.