Bite-sized Review:
Highrise City

Developer: Fourexo Entertainment

Release Date: 4 September, 2023 

Platform: Windows

Genre: Citybuilder

By Chris Picone, 12 September 2023

I grew up with games like Sim City and love the genre.  I've played a bunch of other titles since, but they've all featured different themes - different time settings or focused on rail or some particular aspect of the economy.  I really haven't played a full-scale modern world city builder since Sim City 2000.  So I went into Highrise City with pretty high expectations. 


Highrise City is gorgeous.  The predominant view is isometric, reminiscent of the original Sim City games, but Highrise is a modern beast and comes with all the mod-cons.  That means you can freely pan and zoom - and also rotate, both vertically and horizontally.  This allows you to keep an eye on the big picture while you're planning out future developments while also allowing you to track the various needs and notifications across the city and you can also zoom right in to check out all the lovely details of your city:  While your "employee" class live in big apartment buildings, your "craftsmen" often live in little mansions with backyards full of trampolines and pools and all sorts.  You can see vehicles and people scooting about everywhere, the city really comes to life, and you can even "possess" a vehicle and drive it around town so you can see what it really looks like on the ground.  


The core gameplay is pretty similar to most citybuilder sims kicking around these days.  You start small and of course have to set your town's services up first, installing power plants and water tanks and establishing pipelines and power for your town, then building residential areas to attract your first craftsmen who will tend your early vegetable and fruit farms, fisheries, and so on.  After that, it's as much a battle for survival as growth, as you have to carefully juggle the need to expand with meeting your population's needs.  As you grow you need more food, more jobs, more services, which in turn requires more workers and more land - but every piece of infrastructure (road, pipeline, powerline, etc.) attracts a maintenance cost.  If you aren't careful you'll build yourself into an economic bottleneck that can be your undoing.  The game throws little "quests" at you - targets to reach,  and at each milestone new or improved buildings and services become available.  Before you know it, you'll have a huge sprawling city and looking to buy new chunks of land to expand into.  The land's worth mentioning too; Highrise City offers some really interesting landscapes to build on, where you need to work around (or utilise) forests and waterways that push you toward  creative expansion.  The game's a little inconsistent in its approach to the amount of micro-managing you need to do, but it favours a lenient approach, allowing you to focus on expanding rather than trying to plug power and water into every building individually.



I was hooked on Highrise City pretty quickly.  It was nostalgia at first but the game's quest & reward feature prompts you to build and grow quickly, and the constant stream of new buildings, services, and upgrades can get addictive.  If you enjoy citybuilders, I'd definitely recommend checking this one out.