Cities: Skylines erects free trial weekend

Fancy building a little model city to coo at, watching little people and cars zipping around the streets you laid out? You can do that right now with Cities: Skylines, thanks to a free trial of the full game running until Sunday. Colossal Order’s 2015’s game is a pleasant little city-builder, one largely not mega-serious about crunching numbers and honing margins, and that’s nice. Our Alec will tell you it’s one of the best non-violent games but what about the violence of paving over meadows and choking rivers with bridges? Eh, Alec? Eh? You monster.

Head on over to Steam and you can download the full version of Skylines and play it until Sunday at 9pm (that’s 1pm Pacific). If you dig it, the game is on sale until 6pm on Monday too, with a 75% discount bringing it down to £5.74/€6.99/$7.49.

Its expansions and DLC packs are on sale as well. If you’re interested in those, we have written about the Green Cities, Mass Transit, Natural Disasters, Snowfall, and After Dark expansions before.

But if you need a little nudge to get you playing it in the first place, here’s Alec again:

“The core Skylines experience is instead calmly ‘painting’ districts, pipes and roads, the land a canvas for what most pleases your eye. There is time (and slow-time) aplenty to place the powerlines and water pumps required to make it all function – to build a city in Skylines is to gently lose yourself in an unhurried world.”

It’s a bit like doll houses but with fewer little chairs and casseroles that are so beautiful you want to cry, yeah?


  1. Neurotic says:

    Any news on further expansions, DLC, or updates, etc?

    • Imaginary Llamas says:

      The most recent update on their forums says they’re working on something, but no details for now.
      The general impression (from a dev stream, maybe?) seems to be that Cities will be supported up to 2020, so hopefully there are still a number of updates to come.

  2. dontnormally says:

    I hope in the future a city builder thinks about ways to have technological era affect the growth of a city such that there are no universally ideal ways to lay out a city from the outset and instead there are game mechanics that strongly incentivize building less-than-ideal cities so that over time when new innovations pop up it’s less a matter of upgrading existing infrastructure and more of a puzzle wherein working around the at-the-time sensible now-mess you created is the core game loop for modernizing

    specific to cities, though, i hope that in the future they focus on more zonables and mechanics-based simulation and less hand-crafted individually-placed assets as my interest lays almost entirely at toying with a simulation and almost completely disinterested in hand-placing individual items. just my tastes, of course.

    • LewdPenguin says:

      Taking a city from say early medieval through to the near future is indeed a fascinating idea, but my goodness are there also a shedload of difficult design decisions and copious potential for missteps and feature creep.

      Early towns throughout europe were often fortified with the need for defense playing a large part in their siting and size, and whilst extending your town walls seems like a fantastic shoe-in as a in-world way to gate progression and expansion due to the costs involved in even modest works, do you then invest time including actual combat in some form knowing that any effort put into that gameplay becomes totally irrelevant after the early stages of the game, or let players build nonsensical structures and handwavium it because it’s a city builder not RTS/tower defense game?
      How does the game progress? Steady progression through time, player choice to advance era, tasks required to advance through each period that offer mutiple paths in each era that will then help shape the specialisations and weaknesses of your city through time?
      Do you even follow our timeline roughly or go pure fictional? Having to survive multiple event rolls in the mid twentieth century could potentially be an interesting mechanic, until you roll a Dresden, Coventry or Hiroshima style event and have to find a way to make something again from your new empire of dirt.
      Simply how to translate the many social and economic pressures that have shaped urban development over history into both meaningful and fun game mechanics is a daunting task, even if you allow yourself to use sledgehammer design choices like forcibly causing any town road the player tries to build to curve until a certain point in time too faithfully recreate those windy medieval alleys and tangled road networks.
      I’d love to see someone more smarterer than I come up with a game along those lines, but I think it’s also such a huge effort for something that would fill a niche within a niche that nobody is ever likely to bother :(

      • bramble says:

        Actually I think there is some fair potential in what you’re describing here. Imagine if the conceit were you played as the city itself, rather than the mayor or a particular political entity. Barbarians hordes and invading armies could be treated like fires, floods, and natural disasters. They roll through, you can try to mitigate them, but no matter what temporal, man-made force “controls” the city, the city persists and the needs of it’s inhabitants don’t really change regardless of whose flag is over city hall. There’s no need for combat just like there’s no need in Skylines to play an FPS every time you want to arrest a criminal. I think a game showing the evolution of an urban area you manage over a truly historic time scale would be a fascinating game.

  3. Kollega says:

    What I wish someone would make is a successor to SimCity 4: a game that’d sacrifice some granularity in simulation (e.g. not simulating every single car in your view) to instead ramp up the number of interlocking systems and the size of the simulation. Imagine a game that’d let you build a vast metropolitan region where citizenry is more abstracted than in Cities: Skylines, but citizens can travel across several city tiles in a huge region to get to their jobs or some major venue, there are modular seaports, airports, parks, etc., and there are systems like, for example, a resource flow throughout the region (so that big cities need agriculture, mining, and manufacturing to grow) and simulation of production chains where the factories themselves are out of your hands, but you’re capable of facilitating their growth.

    • joe80x86 says:

      That is a game I would love to play. I would actually love to be able to choose between having private or publicly owned hospitals. Where I live all hospitals are privately owned.

      • Shadow says:

        I’d settle with hospitals that actually work like such. In Skylines, among other service buildings, they project a magical aura which prevents people from even getting sick. That means that if you have a good network, medical centers are entirely empty.

        I believe something similar happens with fire stations and police stations, save for the token (1/20) patrol car doing its rounds. Which is strange since education buildings are capacity-based, like the others should be.

        That’s quite a bummer for me. Cities Skylines is good, but the genre could really use a better designed, better optimized entry (Unity blows for any processing-intensive application).

        • ludde says:

          It’s a shame there seems to be such little interest in the genre. Even Colossal Order isn’t really doing much with Skylines despite it being wildly successful. They appear content with releasing minor DLCs that are mostly cosmetic and rake in the money; the game hasn’t really had any fundamental additions or changes since launch.