Parents' Guide to

Cities: Skylines

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Daunting sim has steep learning curve but also creative fun.

Cities: Skylines Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

Best City Sim Game

I've played, according to my Steam account, exactly 600 hours as of today. There are so many options for expansion. Granted, I don't concern myself with money and focus on pure design. I could spend hours designing a city with intricate detail, and I have. If you buy the Steam version, the Workshop has thousands of mods you can get that will enhance everything from graphics, to lighting, to new maps, new buildings, ways you can tweak your city's traffic or appearance, and even official mods that add new gameplay forms to the vanilla game. There's a lot to figure out, but once you figure it out, you'll see why so many spend hours with this wonderfully detailed game.
1 person found this helpful.
age 5+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (21):

Whether you enjoy this city simulator ultimately has to do with how much you like futzing with the tiniest of details. For example, each and every time you chart out a road, you must decide whether it has an incline and if so, how steep; if not, should it be a two-lane, four-lane, or six-lane. These details cascade and stack, so it'll only be another hour or two before you recognize why that wasn't the move to make. Suddenly, you'll find that more people have moved in and traffic in that area is creating too much noise pollution, triggering a chain effect in other districts. It's a game where strategy is important, and patience is key.

Newcomers will be intimidated by the sheer amount of strategy you'll need to wrap your head around. For example, public policies can be shifted or reversed, if you want, during the nighttime. Different rules can be in effect during the day. Then there's poring over the ledger and tweaking taxes, finessing your budget, and deciding whether you should go green, use coal, or use less eco-friendly power sources. It's all a manic sort of fun, and it will take a few games before you start to survive without being tempted to cheat and continually take out loans to stay afloat. All of this is further complicated by the fact that there's practically no content in the tutorial, so you'll rely on a lot of trial and error, along with multiple gameplay sessions, to figure out how to actually be successful. The difficulty in itself should be enough to give people pause, but on top of that, the game's insistence on having realistic graphics creates an eye-straining effect. You can play for hours and hours if you really want to, but taking in that much detail just gets difficult. All in all, it's a fun and soothing way to spend an evening -- until suddenly catastrophe strikes and you'll have learned a valuable, though costly, lesson for the next time you start building a city.

Game Details

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