Cities: Skylines has the mechanics, the rigour, the detail – it feels like you’re an architect and a city planner. But it lacks, if you like, the flavour. Laying roads and digging foundations is all well and good, but it’s not exciting like lasers, robots, and a flying city – like BioShock. So this is where Sphere – Flying Cities comes in, a dystopian, sci-fi building sim which effortlessly combines those seemingly disparate games, and now has a new trailer and confirmed release date on Steam.
Sphere – Flying Cities went into Early Access back in October, and has already impressed us owing to its combination of simulation and survival mechanics, and smart, new take on the city builder genre. In the wake of the apocalypse and destruction of Earth, the last remnants of humanity have managed to escape to a final, remaining safe place – not under the sea or among the stars, but perched above all the global devastation in an anti-gravity forcefield high up in the sky.
Your job, as commander of this final city, is to basically keep everyone alive. The debris from natural disasters and meteor showers continues to hammer your colony, so the anti-gravity shield has to be kept online at all costs. Some buildings – and people – are less essential than others however, and you’re often confronted with the difficult choice of saving the many by sacrificing the few.
It’s a clever inversion of the typical building sim dynamic, where the focus is on growth, and the objective is to become ever bigger and bigger. Sphere – Flying Cities is more about hanging on, trying to preserve the resources that you’ve been left with, and forge the best possible outcome from a dire situation. You can play the Early Access version now, but the full game launches on September 20 on both Steam and GOG. It’s definitely worth a go, but in the meantime, take a look at some of the other city builders out there courtesy of our best city building games guide, or, if you’re more a BioShock, sci-fi kind of person, you can also check out our guide on the best FPS games on PC.