Urbek City Builder It was recently released on Steam, and being a fan of pretty much any attempt at a city-building game, I wanted to check it out. After playing for a few days, what I found was more surprising than I expected!
Outside the efforts of major studios – like Cities: Skylines– modern attempts city builders tend to (more precisely, they are forced to due to lack of resources) keep things simple by focusing on specific things like transport networks.
At first glance (and for most of his tutorials), Urbek seems more ambitious than that! It’s a city builder, but you also have to build farms, cut down trees, mine for coal, and build factories, which I know sounds like a lot when you’re worried about the mundane stuff (building houses and roads). )but the actual experience turns out to be a gang cooler.
Because time Urbek presents itself as a reasonably complex city builder, it’s actually more of a simple puzzle game that asks you to solve some basic problems, such as separating buildings from each other and building a certain number of them. Complete these basic requirements and all you have to do is sandbox fun, especially since this is a game driven by resources, not money..
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I was wondering when I first booted the game up what the deal was with its voxels, since it seemed an odd art style for a genre that’s normally more at home with cartoonish takes on the real world. Playing it soon answers that question, because the main point of Urbek is that you don’t just build a city, you get to watch it evolve in front of your eyes, as your buildings morph and grow as a reaction to what’s going on around them.
Put down a house at the start of the game and it’s little more than a wood cabin. Manually upgrade it (by satisfying some other building requirements, see my light puzzles comment above) and it’s a nicer house. Build a few of them together and it’s a villa. Put a park in the middle of a few more and it’s a condo.
I know most city-builders have some degree of this, but Urbek’s malleability is so much more fluid and noticeable, it’s wild. Throw in the fact that the game is able to slightly customise its look depending on the buildings and their surrounds—so houses near the water/docks will look totally different to those near a coal mine in a forest—and you’ve got something with the potential to let you get super expressive and creative with your builds, which really is all a lot of people are looking for in this genre in the first place.
Some other cool features include progress not being an unquestionable inevitability, as some upgrades and unlocks require difficult moral decisions that you may not want to make, and the ability to pick a “biome” to build your city in creates different challenges depending on the climate.
Urbek City Builder out now on Steam.
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