10 Best Nintendo Switch City Building Games

Making things on the go is fun with these Nintendo Switch base-building games.

It’s hard to say goodbye to city-building games quickly. Long sessions are possible when you get involved in making whole structures and taking care of the people. A lot of city-building games have even more complex rules that change based on things like politics and the happiness of the people who live there.

You can play games for a long time on the Nintendo Switch because you can take it with you. Not only do long rides not seem as long, but playing outside can give you lots of ideas for your own towns as you build them.

Project Highrise

Two buildings in the foreground with tenants going about their day in every floor

As an engineer in Project Highrise, you’re in charge of lots of different parts of buildings and the happiness of the people who live in them. You can build any kind of building you want, from offices to shops. The different ways the people who come with them act make your building choices more important.

On top of that, if you’d rather let the game decide how creative you are, there is a story mode that gives you different building directions. Find a good balance between building, making sure renters are happy, and getting money to improve your homes.

Prison Architect

Prison Architect Cell With Shower

The art style of Prison Architect is easy, but that doesn’t mean the game is too. If you’re in charge of a jail full of some of the toughest criminals, you’ll need to be extra careful to keep them all in and meet their needs. The jail needs to be strengthened, but if it’s not done right, there could be many dangers or even a prison riot.

You can also play in a few other fun games, such as the Escape Mode, which lets you play as a prisoner and try to escape from a highest security jail. You can spend hours playing one round of the game because there is so much to do.


An image from Minecraft of a Village Watch Tower, that can be placed around a custom village to look out for dangerous mobs

It’s true that you can build more than towns in Minecraft. You can really do anything in this kind of game. Because it’s open-world, there are a lot more places, building materials, and styles to choose from than in most other city-building games.

You can do more when you mine and gather different resources. You can even take care of pets like cats, chickens, and pigs. Though, there are things that will try to hurt you at night, so you need to be well-prepared to fight them. One great things about Minecraft is that you can make it as calm or crazy as you want, which is especially fun when you play with friends.

Cities: Skylines

Different buildings and streets in Cities Skylines

City-building games that have a lot of space are better. Cities: Skylines is very big and very complicated, just like real towns today. It’s not enough to just make the buildings look nice; you also need to think about what your people need to live. As mayor of your city, it’s your job to keep things like water, power, and health care in balance.

You also have to control the traffic, which is affected by the game’s day-night cycles in a way that feels real. Cities: Skylines is, of course, a great game for building cities if you like to be challenged and see how far you can go.

Civilization 6

Mountains, trees, and buildings next to each other in Civilization 6

Many people find city-building games relaxing, but Civilization 6 has more action if you’re looking for something a little different. A turn-based strategy game where you play against the AI instead of just yourself. It starts out as a small group, but the goal is to make it bigger until it includes everyone in the world.

Some people you meet in this game become your enemies, and as you go through it, the world around you gets smarter. The area around you grows full of different groups, each with its own way of doing things. How your people and other territories react to you depends on how you change the rules in your territory.


Different colored buildings piled on top of each other in Townscraper

Townscraper is possibly the best city-building game with low risks. If taking care of everything in your city gets too much for you, this game will take away that stress. There is no hurry here; there are only blocks. When you put those blocks in the water, they turn into buildings. What buildings they become depend on where you put them.

Of course, you shouldn’t play this game if you want to be tense and hard. You can stay in this peaceful space for as long as you want, and the bright art is sure to catch your eye. When you just want to pass the time, Drive Mad is a great game to keep your hands busy.


Building structures on an island in Islanders

Islanders is an easy, relaxing game that is a bit different from other city-building games in how it works. You don’t have to use resources to build things on islands; instead, you have a certain number of those buildings already. Points are given based on how you arrange them. You get points for things like putting a waterfall in a park or near a house. When you reach a certain number of points, more buildings are added to your collection.

It is easy at first, but as you get more items to place, it gets harder. Each type of island, like ones that look like deserts or ones that are covered in snow, has its own set of things and points. Because the game ends when you run out of items, you need to carefully consider where to put them in order to keep it going.

Tropico 6

Building structures mixed with greenery and the sea in Tropico 6

Tropico 6 is a lot of fun because you can make your own paradise in any way you want. You get your own group of islands that you can either turn into a popular tourist spot or destroy and rebuild a whole new city on.

It’s also important to be good at politics in this game, and you need to make sure that everyone is happy. Or shut up the people who aren’t. Whichever you like. You can take the seven wonders of the world and put them in your own city. You can also give talks from your balcony, making it the perfect place to live out your cartoon evil fantasies while building the best place to rule over.

Airborne Kingdom

The kingdom surrounded by rocky terrain in Airborne Kingdom

Don’t build cities on land or water. You can build your city in the sky in Airborne Kingdom. But you’ll need to keep the city in balance up there. In your free time, you can go on tasks to find materials and even help other kingdoms that are already on the ground.

Taking care of your people’s wants by giving them food, housing, and medicine is also very important. As the world changes all the time, you never know what you’ll find. There’s also a “Creative Mode” where you can build a city without having to worry about any of the other things.

Spacebase Startopia

Neon futuristic structures in Spacebase Startopia

It’s cool that you can build cities in different places, but what about in different times? In Spacebase Startopia, your world is set in the future, and smart machines and aliens are all over the place. Because you’re the only average person the AI can find. You get to be in charge of building and taking care of a space station.

You need to make this station bigger by adding more areas and rooms for your alien customers. But it’s not so simple because you also have to protect the area from enemies. The game looks like it’s set in the future. But it also has a cartoony art style that shows it’s funny. Spacebase Startopia is hard, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it less scary and more fun.

mark harper

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