Cities: Skylines (Xbox One) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 03.12.2017

Review for Cities: Skylines on Xbox One

Cities Skylines… a game that garnered a huge following on PC after the tragic case of EA's SimCity reboot. Free from the world of always-online requirements and small map limitations, it was, and still is, considered a pretty much perfect city builder and management sim. In 2017 the choice was made to port it to the current generation of consoles, so, Cubed3 delves into the Xbox One port and sees what's changed.

It goes without saying that there is very little competition for Cities Skylines on both PS4 and Xbox One, and it's a worthy, if very slightly flawed, port that suffers from occasional frame stuttering and passable, if slightly odd, optimisation choices. The controls mapping to the controller isn't bad at all, it's simple and functional, but it is also harder to get a neat city layout like you would get with a mouse and keyboard, and ultimately the gameplay remains the same as in the PC version.

Use the various management systems to build the inner workings of the city such as electronics and water supplies, then build a road network and divvy up the different areas of the city into industrial, residential or commercial districts. It's very cathartic and it's easy to find yourself losing many hours in what feels like minutes. One thing that may put this down on people's wish lists is the lack of challenge modes! That said, there is a progression system here and it's quite fun.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines on Xbox One

This runs on a system of milestones, usually built around how many citizens a city can support. These unlock new building options such as landmarks, education, fire departments and the like, making which increases happiness and draws more people into the city. Once the player reaches a certain point they can purchase more land for their city, meaning you aren't locked to the single small square you begin with. Speaking of land, each area has a set of stats depicting natural resources and the like, which adds an element of strategy to it all, as buying an area of water can be bad for expanding the city to accommodate new residents. It's a really fun balancing act.

Another important feature of city management is the setting of budgets and taxes. Bigger budgets mean better services for the residents, but it requires a lot of money to be made. Therefore bigger budgets typically mean more tax, and tax makes residents unhappy but if balanced correctly, they can be happy and have good services. This is the ultimate politics simulator in regards to simplifying town management, and it's oddly captivating!

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines on Xbox One

With a reasonably basic UI, this is easy to get stuck into. The faster the city is built the more likely it is that players will need to rethink and rebuild their infrastructure. Overall, it does a lot of smart things, like showing the traffic moving around, all calculated smartly to take shortest routes according to NPC daily routines, it has pedestrians and more little visual flair that really makes each city leap into life as a living breathing playground.

The game's sandbox can be altered to let players have things like infinite money. This can help new players get the system down and also lets more experienced players build the cities of their dreams. The presentation in the game is generally great bar a few muddy textures and some framerate issues. Especially at night, the cities can look fantastic, and this coupled with the ambient sounds and the background music, can make for some memorable moments.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines on Xbox One

When a game port is made it's important to consider the changes that have to be made for less powerful systems. When porter Tantalus Media tackled this it opted to leave out all the DLC except for the After Dark expansion. This choice caused a small but quite obvious negative fan feedback, but Snowfall is upon us, as well as some patches that fixed up issues found in the initial release. Okay, so, what's not so good?

In comparison to its PC sibling, it struggles visually with some lower than needed polygonal models with muddy textures, and the occasional, and very noticeable, huge framerate drop. It's a shame that the game suffers from this, as the PC version will run smoothly on a computer equivalent to the Xbox One, as it has better optimisation. On its release there was also a missing fast forward function that was much needed, yet this has since been patched in alongside a few other optimisations and fixes.

Screenshot for Cities: Skylines on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

For anyone who's looking to experience Cities Skylines and doesn't have access to a PC, this is the version to purchase. It's a thoroughly enjoyable game that really captures the old-school simulator catharsis. It's very addictive and with promises of more patches and potential for more DLC, it's probably going to be the long term leader of the city building genre on consoles for a long time to come. Heartily recommended to all who are interested!


Colossal Order







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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