Cities XXL (PC) Review

By David Lovato 26.09.2015

Review for Cities XXL on PC

When Paris-based game studio Monte Cristo went bankrupt in 2010, it sold its major franchise, Cities XL, to Focus Home Interactive, another Paris-based studio. Known for several other simulation series, it seemed a good match. Cities XL is one of many city-building titles on the market, being released back in 2009, and with its successor, Cities XXL also now out, Cubed3 takes a look to see what sets this apart from the competition.

Cities XXL is, in all fairness, a solid city-building game. This is simultaneously its greatest asset and its biggest problem. Everything expected from a city-builder is present: a top-down, zoomable camera, various tools for constructing a city (namely the ability to place roads, zone areas for residence, commerce, or industry, make several variations of each of these, or tear it all down and start anew), different maps to start on, and the ability to unlock new buildings after reaching certain milestones. Money must be managed, population must be controlled - the usual. A tutorial exists, delivered by screenshots of goofy-looking pre-rendered characters exchanging witty banter, but otherwise the player is left to their own activities.

Screenshot for Cities XXL on PC

All of this is put to catchy, atmospheric music and decent graphics. The frame-rate could be better, the models work (although at times things turn out odd, such as houses sitting atop concrete slabs higher than adjacent houses due to being placed on hills), and the camera and some auto-placements are finicky but mostly easy to figure out. The UI, a source of contention for some, is off-putting at first but reflects a modern style found often in touch-screen interfaces, consisting of flat squares. It's not always easy to find everything, but it does look nice, although the black base comes off as drab.

The major flaw, then, is that Cities XXL doesn't particularly excel at anything. It does exactly what a city-builder should and no more, unlike the superlative Cities: Skylines, which does everything and more. There aren't any captivating or unique features; everything is in place but often must be hunted down, and things are customisable yet might require fighting the camera or auto-placement snapping, and on the whole it doesn't offer much that its predecessor, Cities XL Platinum, didn't already have (despite costing twice as much, or the same with a "previous owner" discount).

Screenshot for Cities XXL on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Anyone who loves city-builders and doesn't own a previous entry in the series will likely find a solid, valuable title in Cities XXL. It's not as snappy or attractive, or even as engaging, as some of its competitors, but it's a worthwhile endeavour in its own right. Those who do own previous entries will likely be upset at the lack of new features and inclusion of bug fixes that should have been free, and while charging for fixes is a practice that should be admonished industry-wide, Cities XXL is still an average, decent title when looked at as its own entity.

Developer

Focus Home

Publisher

Focus Home Interactive

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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