Stardew Valley meets Cities Skylines thanks to a new building game which has just launched on Steam, creating a perfect combination for players who relish the pressure of city micro-management, but still enjoy kicking off their workboots to breathe in some serene, pastoral atmosphere.
Civitatem ticks all the boxes for your typical mediaeval civilisation sim, challenging you to build your village, research new technologies, and defend yourself and your people from marauding outsiders. There are dynamic events like natural disasters and wildlife attacks, and an innovative seasons system which determines the success of your ever-vital crops. Visually, it’s simple and sweet, with top-down, pixelated visuals reminiscent of Stardew Valley. But the similarities to Eric Barone’s beloved life sim don’t end there, as Civitatem takes an increased focus on the everyday happenings of Iron Age village life.
Most strategy, RTS, and building sims — like the ones on our list of the best building games — take a distant, macro view of your personal empire, entrusting you to choose the right, overall direction for your civilisation’s future, without worrying too much about the intricate lives of your people. You need to keep them happy, but it’s achieved in broad strokes – lower taxes, increase food, don’t kill them all in a war, and you’ll probably be fine. Civitatem on the other hand is much smaller scale. You’re responsible for your people on the individual level, and need to manage their food, shelter, and access to clean water almost like you’re running a family. The objective here is not to conquer the world, but simply achieve peace and prosperity for your small, closely-connected band of villagers. You start to feel like you know them, which is a real kick in the teeth when they suddenly drop dead from malnutrition.
Civitatem is available now. If you fancy yourself a benevolent leader, you should try out one of the best strategy games on PC. If you’re more of an armchair general, there are the best RTS games, whereas the peaceful among you are bound to find something fun in our guide to the best life games.