Before there was The Sims, there was Sim City. The franchise was started by Maxis back in 1989 and has since gone on to spawn multiple titles, including beginning the popular Sims franchise. The entire purpose of Sim City is to design your city, meaning you get to control where schools, hospitals, parks, roads, landscapes, and more are located within your city.
You can't necessarily "beat" the game, but you must try and maintain balance while still keeping residents happy in addition to making an accessible and livable place for your citizens. If you love Sim City, here are some other games you should consider checking out.
10 Anno 2070
Like Sim City, Anno 2070 is another game where you build cities and try to maintain a flourishing economy. Anno 2070 also has real-time elements. It is part of the popular Anno series but this game is one of the best in the series.
It takes place in the year 2070, as the title suggests, in a world where global warming has completely decimated the polar ice caps. Due to an excess of flooding, many of the old cities have been deconstructed and new islands have taken their place. It is your job to settle those islands and create new sustainable civilizations.
If you enjoy RPG games in addition to Sim City, then you might want to check out Towns on Steam. The game introduces some RPG elements into the play as you must manage a settlement on top of an active dungeon, which you can also explore. The developers have sighted other games such as Diablo as their inspirations.
Another fun aspect of this game is you can choose a biome you want to start your settlement in, whether it be grass, snow, or otherwise. However, it should be noted that Towns is an unfinished game that was abandoned by its developers. That said, it's still playable and fun to experiment with if you're looking for something different.
8 Cities XL
Cities XL is a sequel to the original City Life game, and it allows online multiplayer in addition to a single-player mode if you prefer. In addition to building cities, you can also create plenty of different modes of transport in the world, including bridges and tunnels.
You can implement airports, subway, and even buses into the game as well to make it feel fully livable. As far as the actual city aspect, there are different residential lots depending on the class of your citizens, and you can add in commercial and industrial lots too. The game has spawned multiple sequels you can check out if you enjoy it.
7 Tropico 4
Tropico 4 is yet another city-based game, but this one is a little different than some of the others on this list because it focuses more on the management side of running a city in addition to the politics. The Tropico series is a popular franchise, and if you like Tropico 4 we recommend you check out Tropico 5 too.
In Tropico 4, you become the ruler of an island banana republic. There are ten maps created for you, and you can choose whichever you would like. Then you can customize various aspects of your island, such as the type of vegetation and minerals found there. Your goal is to keep your citizens happy.
6 Cities: Skyline
Cities: Skyline is a single-player open city-building simulation. Players must work to maintain the city. This includes everything from ensuring the pollution levels remain low, dealing with zoning, taxes, public transportation, daily lives of citizens, and more. In the beginning, you start with a simple plot of land and an interchange exit from a highway.
Then you must begin to slowly add on to what you have in terms of roads, creating jobs and essential services, and slowly the city will start to grow as people move in which unlocks new assets like public schools and transit. The game offers multiple expansion packs such as Campus, which lets you add university campuses and Concerts, where you can add concert venues.
5 Rollercoaster Tycoon
Rollercoaster Tycoon is not a city-building game but it does allow you to create and manage an amusement park of your very own. The game became so popular it spawned multiple spin-offs and sequels. The most recent release is available for Nintendo Switch.
The main goal of the game is to create an amazing amusement park and that means you get to design roller coasters and in the earlier versions of the game, you could even "ride" your coasters with a first-person perspective. You'll have to watch how guests interact with them depending on their intensity and ensure you keep your park clean of all vomit!
4 Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing is an extremely popular Nintendo franchise and while it isn't all that similar to Sim City, they do share some basic fundamentals. While you're not trying to create a city in this game, you are trying to create a village.
You start off with a small home and soon you can grow it into a multi-level mansion, so long as you pay your loans to Tom Nook on time. New animals will move into your town too as it grows and you can start contracts to build other stores and areas in the game. Plus it is your job to maintain the cleanliness to ensure your town doesn't get overrun with weeds.
3 Stronghold 3
Stronghold 3 is a real-time strategy video game that should please the most avid of Sim City fans. The game has more of a story and plot to follow than Sim City does, but you will still need to understand how to manage resources and care for a village. The plot of the story follows the Boy, from previous games.
The Wolf has cheated death and is seeking revenge on The Boy. You and your allies will have to stand against him. You can play with an economic campaign or a military one. The economic campaign might suit Sim City fans more as it is less story-driven.
Have you ever considered playing a building game that takes place in space? If so, then look no further than Planetbase. The game is a pretty remarkable one that involves trying to establish a livable human colony on another planet. If you enjoy playing Sim City but want a significant change in locale, then Planetbase is the perfect fit.
You'll need to help a group of space settlers build a civilization while contending with environmental factors like natural disasters. You'll be able to add robots into the game to help with some of the tasks too. There are different planets with different environments as well.
1 The Sims Franchise
Obviously, if you love Sim City, perhaps the next best franchise you can get involved in is The Sims. The Sims wouldn't exist without Sim City and although there is more focus on caring for the characters and people than the environment, there are also many opportunities to build.
In The Sims, you won't necessarily be building cities (although in some games that is an option) but if you enjoy building things from the ground up, you can take your time creating beautiful Sim manors and homes. The games are loads of fun and should keep you entertained for hours. Plus they come with many expansion packs to constantly add on new additions.