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SimCity is one of the original city building games. Although Cities: Skylines now holds the city building and management crown, SimCity holds a place in the hearts of many would-be city planners. And with good reason.
However, if you don’t have the time to play SimCity or Cities: Skylines, why not try a browser-based city building alternative? Online city building games may not have the same depth as SimCity, but they’re great fun nonetheless.
Here are the best online city building games that run in your web browser.
Toy Box Metropolis is a 10-turn city builder with a difference: it’s set on a child’s bedroom floor. Your city doesn’t grow organically. Instead of placing zones and letting residents and businesses flood into your city, Toy Box Metropolis assigns you several placeable elements for each turn.
For example, you can select the Building option, which in turn lets you choose various city buildings such as a house, mansion, office, restaurant, and so on. Selecting Landmark lets you place a gallery, stadium, or statue. And the Utility option has a power station, police station, recycling center, and other city features.
On each turn, you use building placement points to upgrade an existing building. Upgrading a building earns (or loses) points in one of the five objective categories, such as Appearance, Culture, and Wealth. At the start of each Toy Box Metropolis game, you choose from a list of objectives and your actions decide your final score.
The Final Earth 2 is a colony management and city builder game set in the future. Your new city inhabits a rock floating through space. For an unspecified reason, the Earth is now uninhabitable, so this rock is the new home of humanity.
The Final Earth 2 works from a side-on, 2D pixel view. You place buildings to slowly rebuild humanity. Your workers are semi-automated, getting on with whatever task is available from the buildings you have already built. But if you want workers to switch from woodcutting to mining stone, you have to direct them.
There are more fine-grain options, too. One of your initial tasks is to build a woodcutting hut. If you select the Forest where your workers gather resources, you can decide whether to cut the forest down and regrow it, to protect it indefinitely, or to cut it down and uproot.
The Final Earth 2 strikes a good balance between in-depth city building and resource management, and catering to casual city building fans. Fans of RimWorld will enjoy this one.
Micropolis Online is a browser port of the original SimCity. It is very basic. You can place roads, rail, and an airport. You have a choice between coal and nuclear power. Your zones come in solid blocks that you place one at a time. Like modern city building games, your Residential, Commercial, and Industrial zones level up over time, increasing your tax revenue.
If you’re feeling malevolent, you can choose from one of six disasters to afflict your residents. Alternatively, turn your budding Micropolis into a hellhole without any Fire or Police Department.
One important thing to note is that you cannot save your Micropolis city without creating an account. If you close your browser window accidentally, your civilization goes with it.
Micropolis is also one of the games you can play on a Raspberry Pi without emulators.
4. SimCity 2000
If you want to play a city building game in your browser, why not play one of the best of all time? SimCity 2000 is available to play in your browser.
How? Play Classic lets you play any number of classic and legendary DOS games straight from your web browser. The site integrates the DOSBox emulator, allowing you to run SimCity 2000 as if it was 1993 all over again.
The Play Classic SimCity 2000 experience is exactly the same as the original. It is easy to use, boots without any extra input, and, importantly, you can save your games.
5. City Creator
City Creator is another different take on the city-building genre. It is a refreshing take on it, too. In City Creator, you aren’t competing for resources or responding to residential demand levels. Instead, you can select from the elements available to build your perfect cityscape.
City Creator features charming pixel art that you drag and drop into life from an isometric viewpoint. There are three building sets to choose from, each with a unique style. Within each building set are roads, pathways, buildings of all shapes, different roofs, and much more. You can combine different building objects within each building set to create some interesting and (at times) complex designs.
City Creator is great because it approaches city building from a completely different angle and pulls it off well.
Kongregate is well known for its vast array of browser games. Idle City Builder is an extremely hands-off approach to city building. In fact, you don’t have to do much city building at all. Idle City Builder is an idle game, meaning it continues without your input.
In this case, you’re waiting to amass a specific amount of coins to unlock the next building tier, leveling up your Poorhouses, Cottages, Stores, and more.
Idle City Builder won’t fit everyone’s idea of what a city building game is. You’re not placing buildings, dragging zones, or setting tax rates. However, you are leveling up and upgrading your buildings over time, with each upgrade altering the building design slightly. Plus, as it is an idle game, you don’t have to spend hours perfecting each aspect of your city. It just gets on with it, without your input.
If you like the sound of idle gaming, check out these awesome idle games you win just by clicking.
What Are the Best Online City Building Games?
The Final Earth 2 is one of the best browser-based city building games available at the current time. It isn’t a traditional SimCity alternative. But The Final Earth 2 combines strategy, resource gathering, and building elements for a well-rounded and entertaining browser game.
If you want a more traditional SimCity-like experience, Micropolis delivers in abundance, although some may find the slightly slower pace and lack of visual development frustrating.