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New cyberpunk city builder welcomes you to “the dark side of cozy”

If you've ever wanted to create your own, curated version of Cyberpunk 2077's Night City, this neon-bathed city builder is now free to try.

New cyberpunk city builder welcomes you to "the dark side of cozy": A billboard showing a man with glasses surrounded by purple spectral waves, a sprawling metropolis behind it

There’s nothing quite like the flickering neon lights of Cyberpunk 2077’s Night City. The seedy undertones, the rain-soaked alleys, hues of pink, purple, and black – CD Projekt Red created the ultimate neo-futuristic dystopia, and let you walk its bloodstained streets. But what if you could create your own version of Night City, a cyberpunk world inspired by your imagination? That’s what new indie city builder Dystopika allows you to do.

Inspired by “cyberpunk and the wanderlust of cities that never sleep,” Dystopika is a smaller-scale city building game than competitors like Cities Skylines 2, and focuses more on chill, cozy building versus in-depth people and resource management. To use developer Voids Within’s words, “welcome to the darker side of cozy.”

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There are no specific goals or objectives; instead you’re tasked with simply building, creating, and imagining. Your city will remain in darkness until you illuminate it with the Light Brush, and slowly but surely everything will come alive. I’ve been watching the little GIF of the feature and over again, and honestly, it’s beautiful.

As your metropolis thrives, you’ll also be able to customize the advertisements that illuminate the city skies by importing your own imagery. The urge to just put Diablo 4’s Lilith on every billboard is very, very real.

A dark cyberpunk city slowly being illuminated by a red dot

If you, like me, need some chill cyberpunk vibes, you can try Dystopika for free on Steam as part of an ongoing demo. If you like what you play, you can wishlist it – the release date is set for Q2 2024, after all, so it looks like we’ll be able to dive into the full version soon.

Until then, we have a list of all the best cyberpunk games because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little bit of neon. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more hands on a la Cities Skylines 2, we have a rundown of all the best management games, too.

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