There’s something rather satisfying about building a home from the grass up, isn’t there? Even lining the roads with litter bins and fresh paint can bring some level of accomplishment in most modern-day games. I mean, sure, it might shave a few hours from our daily schedules — but building and maintaining our own worlds has never been more enjoyable and fulfilling.
It’s 2021, which means developers are going above and beyond to try and secure some truly outrageous concepts. Of course, city-building will always be the go-to area — and it will always sell incredibly well to fans of the genre. But then, if you drift a little further away from your average metropolis, you’ll soon start to notice the madness shaping around the alternative hits. With dinosaurs, death-defying coasters, and outer space playing a crucial role in some of these games — it’s no wonder people are flocking to their side.
5. Hotel Giant 2
If catering to a few thousand guests is more to your liking, then you’re going to want to invest in Hotel Giant 2, the sequel to the internationally praised hit. Here, you’ll notice that maintaining your guests’ happiness is one of the highest priorities in running a superior establishment. And then, of course, there’s keeping your staff in check, ticking over the funds, and branching out your hotel in order to attract even more income. So, not exactly an easy task set out for you then.
Hotel Giant 2 gives you the keys to a whole new world where luxury is fundamental, and progression is somewhat unbalanced. As the manager of a chain of prestigious hotels, it is up to you to raise the stakes and escalate the company’s reputation to unimaginable new heights. Build your lobby from the ground up. Create fine dining restaurants and glimmering spa retreats. Open a one-of-a-kind hotel that leaves guests crawling back for a second vacation. Built it — and they will come.
4. Construction Simulator 3
If you think construction sim games in general fall short on the manual labour front, then fear not — because this one definitely isn’t shy about hard work. In fact, you can rest assured that no building can be outlined and erected in a matter of seconds without even a moment to consider the placement of it. That’s because you, the lucky player, will be in charge of building it…from scratch.
Construction Simulator 3 lets you patrol a box-sized European town in search of contracts to help build your firm. As the go-to expert, you must rebuild roads, houses, and properties — making sure to establish the company name and rake in maximum income. By using a fleet of vehicles and an arsenal of tools, you’ll be able to make a name for yourself and build bridges with some of the most respected landmarks in town. Just don’t expect any sixty-second jobs.
3. Planet Zoo
As the spiritual successor to Zoo Tycoon, it’s only right that we showcase Frontier Developments’ ambitious little number, Planet Zoo. Even as one of the fresher-faced entries to the construction simulation genre, it’s clear that the original charm that made the Tycoon saga celebrated has still been implemented — and then some. In fact, we’d go as far as saying Planet Zoo is a remarkable achievement and a staple to the city-building world overall.
Whether you’re a world-class designer or just an animal lover with a hunger for insider knowledge, Planet Zoo lets you live out your wildest fantasies as the owner of your very own borough of land. With endless routes to explore and branch out from, you can take the reins and build in any way you see fit. Control the population, evolve your animal kingdom, and develop a legacy where only you oversee the conclusion.
2. Jurassic World: Evolution
Sure, we might encounter the odd earthquake or typhoon here or there in the genre — but it’s not very often we have to tranquillize a T-rex. That’s something only Jurassic World: Evolution can pull off, to be fair. Of course, it keeps us on our toes — and living with the fear of seeing our established park crumble between armed teeth can be the edge we all need to keep pushing forward.
Jurassic World: Evolution ticks almost every box on the city-building checklist. It sets aside plenty of time to focus on the managerial aspects of running a park — but also aims to plaster the quirks at the forefront of the experience. While building a park is the main aim of the game, it’s the deep-sea expeditions and fossil hunting that keep the game fresh and exciting. It’s having the ability to patrol our park in a ranger vehicle in search of any potential hazardous outcomes. It’s all there — and we love it.
1. Planet Coaster
While there might be hundreds of theme park simulation games out there — nothing quite comes as close to perfection as Planet Coaster. Even if you’re scouring through the bite-sized console version of the enormous game, Planet Coaster has so much to experience that you’ll likely never run short of things to do. Plus, if mind-boggling creativity is your area of expertise — then this one should definitely be at the top of your list.
Similar to most city-building games in the genre, Planet Coaster puts you on a timeline of themed parks, each of which has a set of goals to accomplish and master. However, you’ll come to learn that, even with the goals well and truly out of the way, you’ll still be sinking dozens of additional hours into final touches and open-ended gameplay. Creativity, above all, really is your only limit here — and we urge you to explore it to its maximum potential.