Civilization 6 is the benchmark for expansive, sprawling, and highly detailed strategy sims. You take its in-depth systems and attention to detail and combine them with the survival-based, often grueling aesthetic and style of Frostpunk, then maybe throw in a bit of Cities Skylines 2 and its focus on developing complex urban centers with a real sense of life. If that sounds like a mix for success – and if you want something else to look forward to, as well as Firaxis’ upcoming Civilization 7 – then Synergy, a new strategy-based city builder coming soon to Steam is precisely the game you’re after.
So here’s the deal. You’re on a hostile planet. The weather and the environment are constantly shifting in ways that risk destroying you and your modest band of settlers. Just like Frostpunk, the primary objective in Synergy is to simply survive – the grand ambitions and huge construction projects that often form the basis of strategy games will have to come later.
The first thing you need to do is build a city that’s strong enough and safe enough to keep your people alive. Choose carefully, because the terrain in Synergy might turn on you at any moment. The idea is to strike a balance, a city that caters to everyone’s needs without expanding too far into the hostile wilderness, hence the eponymous synergy.
Next you need to learn more about the strange, unforgiving world that you’ve come to inhabit. Start research projects, analyze the flora and fauna around you, and unlock new construction options to help better survive your increasingly harsh surroundings. The planet in Synergy is often trying to kill you, but if you can learn, adapt, and discover its softer and more bountiful side, you can develop a cooperative equilibrium, where you extract what you need to live without disrupting the ecological harmony.
This is what makes Synergy unique to other city building games. The goal is not endless expansion – you’re not trying to get bigger, and bigger, and bigger until you’ve consumed the entire map. Success in Synergy means balance, and respecting the world around you. If you’re too timid, your people likely won’t make it, but push things too far and the planet will retaliate. Beneath Synergy’s warm, welcoming aesthetic is a sensitive tale of environmentalism. Scheduled for release in Q1 of 2024, you can wishlist Synergy on Steam right now.