City building games are one of the popular sub-genres in gaming because of their casual and somewhat laid-back mechanics. Unlike high-intensity games, it is the type that you would want to take out when you just want to chill. City-building games don’t require you to jam those controls to win but will challenge the hell out of your creativity.
Now with more city simulation games popping on the Play Store and App Store, there are more choices for gamers to try. We curated the 15 best city building games, and the best part, these are mostly free games.
Best City Building Games
- The Simpsons: Tapped Out
- SimCity Buildit
- Fallout Shelter
- Megapolis City Building Games
- Designer City: Building Game
- The Battle of Polytopia
- Pocket Build
- City Island 5 Offline Sim Game
- City Mania
- Dungeon Village
- Virtual City Playground
- Forge of Empires
This game is more on the city building aspect with less on the war and invasion part. Townsmen is set in medieval times where you build your village to bring more settlers in. Featuring over 150 town and production buildings, it also has a deep economy simulation and even deep production chains for the more complex gaming experience.
Because the game is set in the medieval period, you literally have to start from scratch and build your humble city to an empire from the ground up. With little to no technology, you will be relying on mining ore, harvesting the crops, and collecting taxes to advance your territory. You also have to keep your inhabitants happy by building amenities and providing them with services.
Developer: IronMonkey Studios
This may not be a new iOS game, but it’s for sure one of the best city-building games out there. Not to mention, this game is getting more players quickly with its monthly in-game events. Based on the long-running The Simpsons TV series, Tapped Out allows you to manage the town of Springfield and interact with other famous Simpsons characters. You can even expand the town and add new buildings to make your own unique Springfield.
Another free iOS game based on a popular city-building series, SimCity BuildIt lets you build a city you desire and grow a prosperous virtual population. As a Mayor, you are bound to provide the best for your citizens. Here, you can start building roads, placing houses, creating stores, and factories to satisfy the demand of your city. Ultimately, with the collected taxes, you can arrange deals with other cities for better benefits. As the game goes on, you can unlock the chance to educate your citizens for more skills. Subsequently, you’ll have the power to control the utility supplies like power, water, sewage treatment, sanitation, and so on. Your action will reflect coherently, so act wisely and start building your city now.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Based on the hit RPG Fallout series, Fallout Shelter is one of the best city-building games that focus on establishing your Vault in a post-apocalyptic world. You must micro-manage similar to a city builder in stocking up food, water, and upgrading facilities for your people. Here, you’ll be able to assign tasks according to their skills to produce more resources and hunt for weapons to fend off vault raiders.
Developer: Social Quantum
This city-building game is both fun and challenging. It will make you think and plan carefully because you will have to conform to strict building codes while developing your city.
Similar that from SimCity, Megapolis features 3D graphics and has over 700 unique buildings that will enhance the quality of your metropolis. Start upgrading your facilities to improve your energy production as well as water supply and oil. Your ultimate goal is to satisfy your residents, so, don’t forget to build entertainment facilities to keep your citizens happy.
Developer: Sphere Game Studios
Focusing more on designing, Designer City lets you create massive skyscrapers to your own liking. If you love architecture and are passionate to channel your passion into an aesthetic masterpiece, now you can visualize them here for free! Customize your unique skyscrapers here and stand out among the crowd. Your goal in Designer city is to build your metropolis paradise by setting up more skylines and putting decorations to make it look great. However, don’t forget that there is still the task of keeping your citizens happy to keep the city progression higher.
Developer: Midjiwan AB
Formerly known as Super Tribes, this city-building game on iOS focuses on being a turn-based world builder that takes inspiration from the Civilizations franchise. Here you can unleash your inner potential to expand and conquer. To advance, players can discover and develop new technologies they can use to invade the opposing cities and gain a competitive advantage. Ultimately, your wins will turn into victory.
Pocket Build features a more simplistic visual to give it a more calm presentation. It has a huge open world where you can expand your settlement and harvest natural resources from your surroundings. The game has a touch of sandbox elements too, which means players are free to build just about anything with no limitations or restrictions. However, instead of modern cities, the game is leaning towards medieval architecture like wooden bridges, castles, and arenas.
Developer: Sparkling Society
The very few from the new iOS games that let you play it offline. City Island stimulates gameplay as if you’re a tycoon who must take care of a city. Initially settling on a small island, you as a tycoon has the goal to expand and prosperous the city. Here, you must complete challenges to collect, upgrade, and decorate the city to achieve the goals. Ultimately, you must utilize the rewards from a chest loot as a bonus to advance your city by building houses, better roads, malls, parks, and everything that you can imagine.
Build, expand, customize, that’s what this free iOS game is all about. Aside from building your city, you can recruit characters with unique personalities to help populate the city and keep it happy. There are also iconic structures such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Eiffel Tower that you can put in your cities.
The City Mania offers everything you expect in a city building game, but what stands out the most is the animation. Featuring a vibrant and adorable animation, you can expect interactive gameplay and your empire surely won’t be bored.
As one of the most classical city building games, the pixelated art of its varied monsters and mountains of loot promise the same amount of fun and gives a different vibe from the typical 3D images. To advance in this game, the player has to select and decide a number of heroes to be deployed for a battle to complete a quest. With every quest completion, a player can set a high score based on the loots, buildings built, and a few other factors. That said, the charm of Dungeon Village lies between the loot drops and the battle of heroes for the rewards.
TheoTown features unique gameplay that is somewhat similar to SimCity with hints of city skylines. The incredibly detailed gaming feature to master in this game is what makes it challenging. Although the learning curve for this game is not to be underestimated, there is plenty of tutorials online to help you get started.
In this game, you can let your imagination run wild wherein if you want to segregate your city into the richer part and the poorer part of a more rural part to the modern part, you can do it at ease. The zoning can be separated by rails, highways, and more. Ultimately, you want your city to be populated with your desirability. If you don’t believe this is one of the best city-building games, try it out and let us know what you think.
One of the best free iPhone games for consecutive years, DomiNations is more on the competitive aspect. You build up your city and develop its economic progression as well as build up your military strength and try to invade nearby cities from players. There is also a chance that you can be invaded as well, so fortifying your base is also important.
Developer: G5 Games
Virtual City Playground puts you in a task to handle an entertainment city. Instead of just residential, you also have to build entertainments centers such as malls, cinemas, mass transit systems, and parks. You also have to manufacture a variety of retail goods yourself to deliver to your dwellers. There are several levels in the game that features four different settings to give up a more refreshing experience.
Forge of Empires is originally a web-browser game, but now it’s one of the best free city building games on both Android and iOS. Players start off in the Stone age era and must develop their cities and armies. Similar to other mobile fantasy city builders, you challenge other cities to loot their resources, there is also a guild vs. guild battles that players can challenge other guilds from around the server.
There you go the best city-building games of all time. They may not be as fast-paced as other genres of gaming, like shooting and action RPG, they’ll surely challenge your wits and strategy. Managing a home, on its own, is already challenging — moreso a whole population. Even though it’s just virtual, always aim to grind for resources to keep you dwellers happy. It won’t be immediate, but reaping the rewards of a successful virtual city would be fulfilling.
Let us know which city-building game in this list is your favorite and share with us your unique tips and tricks to advance.