10 of the Best City Building Games to Play Right Now

Did you know that city building games have been popular among gamers for decades? These simulation games allow players to design, build, and manage their own virtual cities, challenging them to balance budgets, infrastructure needs, and citizen happiness. With the advancement of technology, city building games have become more immersive and realistic, providing players with a truly interactive experience.

One of the most iconic city building games, SimCity, was first released in 1989 and quickly became a classic in the genre. Since then, numerous other city building games have been developed, each offering unique features and challenges for players to explore. From managing resources and zoning areas to dealing with disasters and keeping citizens happy, these games provide hours of entertainment and strategic thinking for players of all ages.

For those looking for a more modern take on city building games, Cities: Skylines has become a fan favorite since its release in 2015. With a focus on realistic city planning and management, players can design intricate road systems, manage traffic flow, and balance the needs of residential, commercial, and industrial zones. The game’s modding community also offers endless possibilities for customization and creative expression, making it a top choice for city building enthusiasts.

According to a recent survey, city building games are not only a fun way to pass the time, but they also have cognitive benefits. Players are required to think critically, make strategic decisions, and problem-solve in order to build successful and thriving cities. This mental stimulation can improve cognitive function and problem-solving skills, making city building games a great choice for those looking to keep their minds sharp while having fun.

Another popular city building game, Banished, takes a more realistic approach to city management by challenging players to settle a group of exiled travelers in a new land. With limited resources and harsh climates to contend with, players must carefully manage food, shelter, and infrastructure in order to help their citizens survive and thrive. The game’s focus on survival and sustainability adds an extra layer of strategy and difficulty for players to enjoy.

What are the top-rated city building games for creating your urban empire?

City building games are simulation-based video games that allow players to construct and manage their own virtual cities. These games typically involve tasks such as managing resources, planning layouts, and balancing budgets to create a thriving metropolis. Players are often given control over various aspects of city development, including zoning, infrastructure development, and citizen happiness.

One of the main advantages of city building games is the opportunity for creativity and strategic thinking. Players can experiment with different city designs and see how their decisions impact the growth and success of their virtual city. These games also offer a sense of accomplishment as players see their city evolve and expand over time.

Additionally, city building games can provide insights into real-world urban planning principles. Players may learn about the effects of different policies and decisions on a city’s population, economy, and environment. This can be both educational and entertaining, making city building games a popular choice for gamers of all ages.

In the next section, we will delve into some of the best city building games available on the market, discussing their features, gameplay mechanics, and overall player experience. Whether you’re a seasoned city planner or a newcomer to the genre, there is sure to be a game that will captivate your imagination and challenge your strategic skills. Stay tuned for our comprehensive reviews and recommendations for the top-rated city building games to help you create your urban empire.

SimCity 4

SimCity 4 is a classic city-building game that allows players to design, build, and manage their own virtual cities. With intricate details and advanced gameplay mechanics, this game remains a favorite among city building enthusiasts.

Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines offers a more modern and realistic take on city building. With a massive open-world environment, advanced infrastructure options, and a dynamic economy system, players can create sprawling metropolises with intricate detail.

Anno 1800

Anno 1800 is set in the Industrial Revolution era, offering players a chance to build cities with a historical flair. With a focus on production chains, trade routes, and colonization, this game provides a unique city-building experience.

Tropico 6

Tropico 6 puts players in the role of a dictator on a tropical island, tasked with building and managing a city while navigating political challenges. With a humorous tone and engaging gameplay, this game offers a different take on the city-building genre.


Banished is a city-building game focused on survival and resource management. Players must guide a group of exiled travelers to build a thriving settlement in a harsh wilderness environment, making strategic decisions to ensure their survival.


Frostpunk offers a unique blend of city-building and survival elements, set in a frozen post-apocalyptic world. Players must manage resources, make tough decisions, and keep their citizens alive in the face of extreme cold and societal challenges.

Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars challenges players to build and sustain a colony on the Red Planet. With a focus on resource management, exploration, and terraforming, this game offers a futuristic twist on the city-building genre.


Foundation is a medieval city-building game that emphasizes organic city growth and layout design. With a focus on zoning, monument construction, and economy management, players can create intricate and visually appealing towns and cities.

The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom

The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom combines city-building with real-time strategy elements, offering a complex and engaging gameplay experience. With a focus on resource management, trade, and military conquest, players can build thriving kingdoms and conquer their rivals.


Banished is a city-building game focused on survival and resource management. Players must guide a group of exiled travelers to build a thriving settlement in a harsh wilderness environment, making strategic decisions to ensure their survival.

1. What are some of the best city building games available right now?

  • SimCity
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Anno 1800
  • Banished
  • Tropico 6

2. Are there any free city building games to try out?

Yes, some popular free city building games include:

  • Forge of Empires
  • SimCity BuildIt
  • City Mania: Town Building Game

3. Can I play city building games on mobile devices?

Yes, there are several city building games available on mobile platforms, such as:

  • SimCity BuildIt
  • Township
  • City Island 5

4. What features should I look for in a good city building game?

Some key features to consider when choosing a city building game include:

  • Realistic graphics
  • In-depth city management options
  • Challenging gameplay mechanics
  • Dynamic environment and weather systems

5. Are there multiplayer options available in city building games?

Yes, some city building games offer multiplayer modes where you can collaborate or compete with other players to build and manage cities together.

6. Can I customize my city in city building games?

Many city building games allow players to customize various aspects of their cities, such as building placement, road layouts, decorations, and city services.

7. How challenging are city building games?

City building games can vary in difficulty, with some offering more complex city management systems and challenging scenarios to test your skills as a city planner.

8. Are there modding options available for city building games?

Some city building games support modding, allowing players to customize their gaming experience by adding new buildings, features, or gameplay mechanics created by the community.

9. Can I download additional content or expansions for city building games?

Many city building games offer downloadable content (DLC) and expansions that add new gameplay features, buildings, scenarios, and challenges to enhance the gaming experience.

10. Are there any city building games with a historical or futuristic theme?

Yes, there are city building games that explore historical eras (such as Anno 1800) or futuristic settings (such as Surviving Mars) for players to build and manage cities in unique environments.


In conclusion, city building games offer a unique and engaging gaming experience that allows players to become the ultimate urban planner. From managing resources and finances to implementing infrastructure and services, these games challenge players to think strategically and creatively in order to build thriving metropolises. The sense of satisfaction that comes from watching your city grow and prosper is incredibly rewarding, making these games not only entertaining but also educational in teaching players about the complexities of urban development.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored some of the best city building games available, each offering its own unique features and challenges. Whether you prefer the historical setting of games like Civilization VI or the futuristic world of Cities: Skylines, there is a city building game out there for every type of player. The detailed graphics, realistic simulations, and endless customization options make these games immersive and enjoyable for hours on end. Overall, city building games provide a fun and engaging way to escape reality and dive into the world of urban planning, offering endless possibilities for creativity and exploration.