City Life

Game review by
Jeremy Gieske, Common Sense Media
City Life Game Poster Image
Smart game lets kids build cities -- and skills.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game features social classes, such as the "Have Nots," which may trivialize real-life problems.

Violence & Scariness

Mob violence, riots, and arson are all possible, but rare. Close-up views of the violence are possible via the city media.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game has many educational aspects and can teach some of the basics of city planning, economics, and so on. Players may experience riots, acts of arson, and other forms of violence -- including organized crime -- if tension between social classes gets too high.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byabbategocubs April 9, 2008

Danger - Installs Starforce software on your PC

This looked like a great game from what I read on this website. I was going to buy it for my son. Then I checked out & there were numerous co... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


There is no damaging software on this game. The Starforce software installed does not even access your system directly.

What's it about?

CITY LIFE gives players a chance to build, grow, and run a city. They manage the city's finances and services, keep an eye on pollution and traffic, and assign plots of land for development. But City Life players must do more than grow the city and keep it in the green. What makes this game different from others of the genre is its focus on social hierarchies.

Players must work hard to keep the peace among the different classes -- which range from the poor \"Have Nots,\" who do the city's dirty work (like cleaning up parks and running the town dump) to the \"Elites,\" who can put serious cash to the city's coffers but also require a multitude of city services to stay happy. Players who let tensions rise too high may experience riots and acts of arson -- or even an infestation of organized crime, requiring the skills of an expensive SWAT team to root out.

Is it any good?

Players will find this game challenging and fun. And it's beautiful, too. The 3-D graphics allow players to look at the city from almost any angle; they can even go into a first-person mode to take a stroll through their streets. It's also possible to view the city at a variety of times of day, from the twinkling lights of night to the hustle and bustle of daytime.

The game can grow formulaic, which may reduce its long-term play appeal. Also, in contrast to the design, the text and dialogue boxes are sloppy. Overall, though, this game is structurally sound. Kids and adults looking for new challenges in playing mayor will find it with City Life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they like about this game. Is it fun to have control and build buildings -- and even watch tensions spark between different classes? They may also want to talk about how a game like this is different from a shooter game. Are creative games like this getting more difficult to come by?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Monte Cristo
  • Release date: June 2, 2006
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: E for Mild Violence, Use of Alcohol
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate