When you think city-building games, what’s the first game that comes to mind? I bet it’s SimCity, which can be expected as it dominated the genre for almost two decades. But things have changed lately. The latest SimCity, released for Mac in 2013, promised to create the most sophisticated and entertaining city-building game ever. But SimCity’s launch was a catastrophe, and the game never fully recovered from that.
Luckily, developer Paradox Interactive was paying attention. SimCity’s awful fumble gave them the confidence to try the unthinkable: challenge SimCity’s 20-year reign. On March 2015, Paradox Interactive released Cities: Skylines for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Want to know what makes it so good? Keep reading.
Enter Cities: Skylines for Mac
Before we get started, there’s something I need to tell you. I’m a big SimCity fan and I too was horrified by the server issues and bugs that came with the botched release. Nevertheless, I still found myself thoroughly enjoying SimCity.
But we’re here to talk about Cities: Skylines. I will start off by saying that Skylines’ release was much better. On April 14, merely a month after the release, over a million copies were sold with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
The game barely suffers of any bugs at all, and the few minor ones that people have complained about are being diligently fixed by Colossal Order. But that’s merely a detail, as the true strength of Cities: Skylines isn’t the polish, it’s the gameplay.
When you start out, you are given a parcel of land that has water running through it and an off-ramp from the local highway. As you are greeted with your plot of land and the endless possibilities ahead of you, you are given a limited amount of options, the main one being to construct a road to connect your city to the highway. After you place the first road, you are given more options and are guided by an advisor in the bottom corner (which you can turn off if you want to).
Remember that this game comes from the developers of a well established traffic management game franchise and that experience is definitely part of this game. As you plan your city’s growth, keep in mind the way the traffic moves through your city, as it will be realistic. You don’t want to build a residential neighborhood right next to the highway entrance and have all the industrial traffic moving through that neighborhood! A lot of the mechanics that are associated with this game revolve around traffic management and it works flawlessly.
One of big ticket items within the gameplay is how you develop your city based on population size, which Colossal has deemed as milestones. As your city expands, you hit different milestones within your city and each milestone unlocks different gameplay mechanics. Starting with the basics of zoning for residential, commercial, and industrial with power, water, and sewage and then be given options to build amenities for your city as you hit milestones, such as schools, cemeteries and special buildings like the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower.
Colossal Order wanted to make sure to learn from the mistakes that EA made with SimCity and that lead to a couple of stark differences. One of them is that there is no need for internet connection to play this game. Another one that many are very, very happy about, is that Colossal Order want the players to enjoy and enhance their games, which lead to official mod support and creation of assets that can be used in the game world.
On the graphics department, the game looks outstanding. You can zoom out all the way and take a look at your city like looking down upon your subjects from Mount Olympus or you can zoom in all the way down to where you can see specific details within a neighborhood and see specific cars and houses.
At both the zoomed out and zoomed all the way in the details and quality are spectacular.
Cities: Skylines Mac Performance
I ran with my graphics settings at the “very high” preset with minimal lag. I decided to set it to “High” and it works flawlessly with no lag and minimal blurring of the details.
Skylines Mac System Requirements:
- OS: OS X 10.9 (64-bit)
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo, 3.0GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+, 3.2GHz
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or ATI Radeon HD 5670 (Intel Integrated Graphics Cards not supported)
- RAM: 4 GB
- Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
- Retina MacBook Pro, 15-Inch, Mid 2014 (latest version from Amazon)
- OS: OS X 10.10.3
- CPU: 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
- Video Card: nVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB
- RAM: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
This is a great game and one of my personal favorites. Whether you want to create a bustling industrial empire or a quaint town with farmland and small houses, this is a great addition to the game library and one that i would definitely recommend to veteran city builders and new entries into city building alike. For a new entry into the city building game, this far exceeds expectations and sets the bar for any future city builder games.
Mac Gamer HQ recommends: Buy it, no matter your what!
You can get it from the Mac Game Store:
Note from Ric: This Review comes from Josh Cunningham, one of Mac Gamer HQ’s most loyal contributors. If you want to join the team, you can find me here.