Deck The City Halls: Concrete Jungle Out Now

We talk a lot about spiritual successors to beloved games. “Cities Skylines,” you might say to a friend, “is a spiritual successor to SimCity.” If that’s the case, you might also say that city management deck-builder Concrete Jungle [official site] is a spiritual predecessor. It was released this past Thursday and there’s a launch trailer below.

Concrete Jungle swaps out most of the simulation and micro-management found in your average city developing game and replaces it with deck building. It’s in many ways a simpler metaphor for a city, but it adds an “extra serving of strategy,” according to last year’s successful Kickstarter campaign video. The building-as-card metaphor facilitates puzzle-oriented city planning as, as each police station, home or factory you place comes with allotted points which affect its surrounding neighbouring tiles.

The aim, then, is to ‘clear’ city blocks, gathering enough points along each vertical row of the game world in order to cause it to vanish, the map to scroll, and for new development opportunities to become available. As you expand, so too does your architectural arsenal, but success is governed by how your new patch fits alongside your old one as you wind up fighting against your ten-minutes-ago self. And it turns he/she was an idiot.

You can check out the tourist board-inspired launch trailer below, but I’d recommend the Kickstarter video for a better sense of how it all works. Oh, and Graham checked out an in-development version earlier this year. He liked it.

Concrete Jungle costs £11.99/$15.99 on Steam with a 10% launch discount, $14.40 via Itch.io and £10.79 via Humble.

20 Comments

  1. grimdanfango says:

    I gather this is, in fact, *not* a microtransaction-laden mobile game…
    In which case, it strikes me as rather sad that at first glance, I’ve been made automatically wary of games with this sort of visual style. I very nearly wrote this one off without a second thought, despite it actually sounding reasonably interesting after a closer look.

    Mobile really needs to get bent and stop ruining games.

    • Bernardo says:

      I have to say, I find the visual style quite original, not at all like what I have come to expect from mobile cash grabs.
      Also, while the stores are full of awful stuff, I have found that looking through two or three websites on mobile gaming gives me a lot of really good (usually not too expensive) premium games to choose from. There’s also an app on google play that tries to give you some curation for android games, although it seems that it’s not updated very often, and it’s still in beta.

    • trjp says:

      I can’t decide if you’re some sort of gaming bigot or 9-years-old but

      a – judging things on their appearance is bad, mkay
      b – expecting everything in the world to be how you like it is futile and childish

      Grow up eh?

      • grimdanfango says:

        Erm, maybe try not being a condescending idiot and actually considering what I wrote before leaping to the defence of a game I wasn’t actually judging or criticising in the first place, “mkay”?

        By virtue of pointing out that in spite of my initial reaction, I’ve realised there very well may be more to this game, it seems pretty obvious I’m not judging it by its appearance.
        All I’m doing is lamenting the fact that a whole raft of cynical microtransation-laden dross has caused me to be wary of games that look a certain way.
        The fact that I even consider this a regretable state, surely means I’m definitively *not* the kind of person who passes judgement on a thing based on preconceptions rather than actually trying it.

        Think about what people are saying rather than jumping to conclusions, eh?

        • trjp says:

          That you’re the sort of person who’d tell us you made an initial assumption and then changed it – says a LOT, believe me.

          That you then use that as a excuse to include a rant about something you discovered the thing ISN’T says even more

          and none of this has anything to do with the game which says ever MORE.

          • grimdanfango says:

            What would you prefer someone with a false assumption do then? Blindly stick with it?

            Everyone makes assumptions, and nobody makes the correct one 100% of the time. It would be pretty ignorant to consider that any human being can be free of prejudices.
            To be aware that you have them, and to aim not to allow them to affect your judgement is a lot more balanced than being convinced you don’t have them, and being steered by them without even realising.
            The most you can expect of anyone is to be open-minded enough to recognise their errors and reconsider them.

            It’s the same principle as advertising – if you’re convinced it doesn’t affect you, you’re kidding yourself, and making yourself all the more susceptible.

            I see nothing wrong with the fact that I identify a undeserved prejudice, and seek to correct myself. I see nothing wrong with talking about it either, given that it might just cause other people to consider something they might not otherwise have noticed they were falling foul of too. I can’t see how my initial post could be consider a rant either… the only thing I’ve ranted about is your attitude to someone sharing a thought.

            I haven’t addressed the game beyond “After dispelling my initial assumtion about it, it looks pretty interesting”, because I have yet to play it, and to say anything more about it at this point *would* consitute me judging a book by its cover.

          • GeorgeTheJournalist says:

            We all make initial assumptions, generalize and slide down to stereotypes, at least occasionally. It takes an effort to step back, look at what you’ve thought/said/done and to change it. Next time, it’s easier to not fall into the same trap. But you still might.

            So I don’t think grimdanfango deserved such a reaction. I for one see what he meant – the game looks a little bit like some of the mobile games, and if it weren’t for RPS being PC-only, I might have made the same assumption about this game.

            Thanks for the article, Joe, it gave me an idea of what the game is like. I might give it a try.

          • visor841 says:

            I just registered to say that grimdanfango’s beautiful comment here is why I continue to read comment sections.

    • socrate says:

      alots of game(indie mostly) take this kind of artstyle because it require less effort and look quite good and yes its extremely popular with mobile and also a reason for them to choose this since they can port it easily and most have that behind their mind since alots of these game rely highly on touch,drag and drop gameplay mechanic.

      Alots of these game also rely heavily on being random and have potential for mobile market since they can then monetize it easily.

      This btw is a puzzle game and NOT a city build sim and its not also a calm puzzle game,so the visual and the trailer is not really depicting what it actually is which to me seems extremely unfair to the consumer and show a really false impression of the game itself.

  2. AngoraFish says:

    Despite the implication in article and the look of the game, people should be aware that it is NOT a city builder in any significant way. It’s a score-based puzzler, and a fairly unforgiving one at that.

    For people who like the relaxed tempo and forgiving tone of the city building genre, this is almost certainly not going to be your game.

    None of which should be read to imply that it’s not a good game, it’s extremely well done and recommended. Coverage based primarily on screenshots, however, is misleading and does potential buyers a serious disservice.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      Although it’s a puzzle game and its numbers are overt, the decisions you’re making are still born of urban planning and not so dissimilar from that of other city building games. (Eg, placing this park here will increase the value of neighbouring houses; placing this factory here will have the opposite effect, etc.).

      It is not the same genre as Cities Skyines – it’s a deck-building game, as the post makes clear – but it is still a game about building cities.

      • trjp says:

        I’m with the guy above I’m afraid – once you clear a column your interest in it will disappear (and in time it will entirely disappear)

        The game is about arranging pieces in the optimal way – there’s a metaphor of city design but it’s actually a points-scoring multiple-solution jigsaw puzzle

        If this is a ‘City Builder’ then chess is a “Gentry Positioning Simulator” basically…

      • Megadeth dude says:

        Negative — you have to make the distinction between the mechanics and the skin, and in this case it’s a wonderful marriage of a city planning skin with a points based puzzle mechanics.

        I do recommend it like there’s no tomorrow though, played 10 h so far and it’s mind boggling that this Cole Jefferies guy is so talented to do incredible artwork and game design at the same time (plus managing miscellaneous such as the voice acting).

        It’s one of a kind.

  3. c-Row says:

    I have watched the trailer and some more videos on YouTube but somehow I am still not smart enough to actually understand the mechanics. This is one of the few times I wish a game had a demo…

    • AngoraFish says:

      Each building (block) is a “card”. Cards are generally divided into two types, scoring blocks (houses) and everything else (parks, industry, fields, etc.) which either buff or nerf the scoring blocks (or both buff and nerf blocks).

      To progress forward you have to score 3 points in each row before that row is removed and a new row created at the end (later on, the points required per row increase). If you can’t get 3 points in a row you lose a life in order to delete that row and let the game progress. After you’ve lost a certain number of lives the game ends.

      The game includes a solo mode where you have to complete a certain number of rows before running out of lives. There is also a verses mode (hotseat or against the AI) where each player takes turns playing three cards each on a partially shared game board.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Cards are fed randomly forward from your deck with only the top two available to play immediately, with some extra cards visible so that you know what’s coming up in advance.

        The strategy is basically about ensuring an even placement of buff and nerf cards while ensuring that the minimum score is achieved in each row to allow you to progress.

  4. eggy toast says:

    Thank you, RPS comments section, for explaining to me what the RPS article did not. Leaving this on my wishlist but definitely far less interested than I was before.

  5. LW says:

    It’s good, but it gets remarkably hard quite fast. I’m up to stages marked as “extreme” difficulty, and they’re not joking around. I’m not even sure this AI character is beatable.

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      clweeks says:

      I was playing against the first “real” AI and couldn’t win. It went from more or less trivially easy to impossible in one step. So I’ve cleared the history and will start the tutorial over to see what I missed learning. I think it must be a deck-building thing.