Game

best building games

What are the best building games on PC? Building games are a great way to practice architectural creativity, but there are plenty of great building games on PC to choose from. The type of build actually covers many genres broadly. However, here we list the best games that come to mind when it comes to building.

From challenging free games to full-fledged AAA games, building games allow us to claim another world and manipulate it at our will. In Cities: Skylines we can build a large city, or in Ark: Survival Evolved we can build a base to defend against dinosaurs. Here we are looking at both city building games like Cities: Skylines and base building games like Ark together. As we said at the beginning, this is a very broad supergenre and many games can be considered as building games in their own right.

Cities: Skylines

Champion of “realistic” city builders, challenger Paradox’s Cities: Skylines game grew up in SimCity’s shadow and almost completely overshadowed it. Skylines covered many of the topics that are crucial to simulating the construction of modern cities. These are solid systems for road layout and traffic mechanics package, zoning, public transport, and anything else that looks boring on paper. But once you’re stuck, it becomes immersive all day long.

The game is as versatile as possible. There’s also a huge catalog of official DLC and community-created mods that will never end. So you can find new ways to build. You can even make your own map.

Factorio

Factorio

You are not building a city in Factorio. Unless you count automated drones or waves of angry insects, no citizen would call the place you built a home. It is a metropolis planned and built by its sole inhabitant – the elusive spaceman you control – and with one purpose in mind. This is a machine. A giant, mind-bogglingly complex machine that will eventually build a spaceship.

And somehow, thanks to the sheer brilliance of its design, Factorio makes it far less daunting than it should be. The game convinces you of this engineering feat with thousands of small increments. Little Eurekae piling up until you look with full intensity at what you’re doing and feel like a genius. Factorio is a dark magic that destroys time without the player being aware that it has passed. Let the machine draw you in.

frostpunk

frostpunk

You’re in a steampunk, Victorian setting that gets along well with Frostpunk, and you’re in big trouble. The world is getting colder and colder at a frightening rate, and you must somehow build a surviving city from the destruction around you, using whatever manpower you can call. Fear and despair are brutal, but that makes the moments of progress and success even sweeter.

From the little touches like footprints left by workers in the snow, to the crackling sound that appears on the UI when the weather gets really cold, to the enormous soundtrack, the level of sensory immersion is wild. There’s also a great narrative focus to the game, with a clear storyline and a few events whose timing you can pretty much memorize, and this clearly erodes the replay value somewhat. But with several new scenarios and Endless Mode released as DLC, you’ll find it’s a long time before it cools down in Frostpunk.

Planet Zoo

Planet Zoo

Planet Zoo features possibly the most beautifully simulated wildlife in gaming history and is considered a stand-alone management simulation. But where it really shines, and the reason it’s on this list, is its outstanding construction system. Borrowed from Planet Coaster and with a few tweaks and improvements, Planet Zoo’s build tools are unmatched.

When I played the game for review, I spent hours just building landscapes with map modification tools before thinking about animals or tickets. And when I went to build facilities for rough housing, I was delighted to find a large library of individual components and building parts that could be placed in any direction I wanted and connected in any way I wanted. If you can think of an aesthetic, Planet Zoo lets you go with it, from filthy lion holes built into caves within an Immortan-Joe-style mesa to stunning, grass-lined walkways that loop over a Roman-themed palace for turtles.

Anno 1800

Anno 1800

Anno 1800 takes you to build cities on multiple islands. As in the name, you are in the year 1800 in the game. The actual city building is solid but not revolutionary, but what makes it special is the fascinating array of mechanics involved in managing settlements of different development levels across multiple landmasses. And then the real fun begins as the New World opens, allowing you to expand across a whole new map with its own resources and rules.

Along with multiple settlements, you’ll have trade routes to manage, adventure-style mini-games where you choose your own adventure to play, and even limited RTS naval battles. You will be against AI enemies and pirates. But once you get used to the pacing, that means you’ll rarely have a dull moment or find yourself stuck for something to do while you wait for resources to pile up. It’s a lot of fun to play with, with lush beaches scattered all over the place and cities that are really worth zooming in to see up close.

Surviving Mars

Surviving Mars

The extraterrestrial settlement-building game Surviving Mars has undergone a tremendous transformation, especially with the Green Planet DLC, which restructures the game around a terraforming mega-project. If you’ve ever read Kim Stanley Robinson’s classic sci-fi trilogy Red, Green, and Blue Mars, you can be sure that this game is as close to an adaptation of these books as it is to modern games.

There’s a sense of continuous, infinitesimal progress that I like. Replacing the entire surface of a planet is a dazzlingly big job, so you should start it in your small settlement. At this point, it feels like spitting into the wind before the gigantic planetary engineering has what it takes. When you wake up from the water management crisis you’ve been trying to fix for half an hour and see the real green in the landscape, it’s magic and provides the joy of preserving a garden in the most unexpected way.

banished

banished

Banished seems to be a game in the vein of the old Settlers franchise. It reminds us of why medieval life was almost universally gruesome, rather than an idyllic lark in fur and chain armor. Building your settlement here is more about clinging to survival than an inevitable upward trend toward urbanization.

It’s not that hard once you get used to it. But when you’re in the learning process, it’s not forgiving, and there’s something refreshingly different about every single soul in your village starving to death in the spring because you fed it during last year’s apple harvest.

Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is one of the most cleverly designed games I’ve ever played. As the name suggests, it puts you in the shoes of a business competing with a group of maniacs trying to exploit the limitless riches of the solar system and doing the same. Everything in OTC is built on a simulated commodity market beast, and success depends entirely on how well and quickly you can spot and exploit opportunities in crazy fluctuations. There are loads of juicy miners to build and drones to track down the delicious goods amongst your various coin production domes.

There are dozens of excellent, surprising scenarios to undertake, but the multiplayer mode stands out. It manages to deliver some of the most exciting competitive action in the entire strategy genre without firing a single laser, and has the feel of a fighting game entirely built from the fantasies of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Prison Architect

Prison Architect

I must say at the outset that I am a bit conflicted about Prison Architect. The game is a fun game about the prison-industrial complex, although it is well aware of the brutal region it is in and contains well-thought-out satire.

But objectively speaking, Prison Architect is a really fun game. True or false, a prison is the perfect setting to embed the mechanics of a building game, as walls and towers must be built, cell blocks must be adapted to the needs of inmates, and programs must be managed to reduce the odds.

RimWorld

RimWorld

Having said that many games try to be like Dwarf Fortress and fall short, there is one game that is inspired by it and does enough of its own thing to be something different and great. This game is RimWorld. Like DF, it’s about making stories: stories about simulated people whose minds are full of weirdos, living together in the crowded confines of a fledgling settlement. But in some kind of god role, you do the settlement, and that element of the game is a victory in itself, and in fairness it’s much easier to clear your head than DF.

Another feather on RimWorld’s cover is the latest Royal expansion, which adds more toys to play with, including deranged aristocrats, psychic powers, and self-assembled, hostile mechanical hives. The game has always had a strange, pleasant atmosphere between Dune and a western space, and with the information and color introduced in Royalty, the sci-fi stories are a little more compelling.

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