Finally, a city building game where utter failure is completely justified

BalanCity wobbles and topples your town, plus there are aliens and Godzilla. Attention, mayors: you don't have a chance.

I've messed up many cities in my term as mayor in any number of city building games, but I've finally found a game in which my dismal failures are completely justified. BalanCity, developed by Fernando Cordoba, finally gives me the perfect excuse for creating a horrible disaster and ruining the lives of my citizens.

In BalanCity, your entire city sits on a giant teeter-totter, meaning that if you build too much one one side, the whole thing starts to tip, and you'll have to hurriedly add to the other side to quickly balance it out:

Residences and offices can be dropped in as little cubes. Provided you've got enough power and mutual support—residents need a place to work, and offices need workers—the blocks combine into cubes, and the cubes combine into towers. Eventually, your BalanCity will have skyscrapers—add elevators so people can reach the upper floors—and the height of your city increases by building specialty items like monuments and landmarks.

Not only is it tricky balancing everything, but you'll obviously need to stack new buildings on top of existing ones, and finding a spot for anything that's not perfectly square, like police stations, hospitals, and your mayor's mansion is difficult. In fact, once you've been building for a while, finding room for anything new at all can be a challenge, such as when I had to pile up a police station, fire department, and mayor's mansion on top of each other. Or, when I attempted to find the absolute perfect little spot to build my train station:

Sorry, commuters! As if that weren't enough of a challenge, there are also monsters, aliens, fires, crimes, and even meteor strikes to throw your city into wobbly chaos. One city of mine was struck by a meteor and promptly collapsed. Another time, flying saucers invaded and started abducting all the trees I'd planted to help solve my pollution problems. I've seen my citizens being mugged and have had to quickly build a police station, typically on top of some other building, to arrest the robbers. When fires break out—such as when a the police station topples onto a power plant and explodes—fire copters need to be dispatched. Provided you can find a spot for it.

It's just a huge hectic nightmare of things constantly going wrong, but as mayor I feel like I can always deflect the blame. "Yes, citizens, I'm aware that several skyscrapers slid into the ocean this morning, and that some of your homes are now in a different part of the city, and are upside-down, and are on fire, but what did you expect to happen when you moved onto a giant see-saw? This is as much your fault as it is mine."

It's almost a relief when something attacks the city to distract everyone from my poor building and planning skills. When a Godzilla-like monster arrived in the wobbly-ass version of San Francisco I was building, I had to quickly add a bunch of military rocket launchers to take him down.

While I think it's cool that my environmentally friendly solar plant was outfitted with a rocket launcher, it didn't do much to quell the tide of destruction the monster caused. Not that my San Francisco was doing particularly well before the irradiated beast showed up. It was a mess of shoddy houses built on the Golden Gate Bridge and offices too far away for citizens to reach. After I managed to dispatch him, everything fell apart anyway:

Like I said, I'm no stranger to having my cities fall into ruin, but at least in BalanCity I don't feel like I'm entirely to blame. The odds are stacked against me in a giant, teetering, wobbly pile.

You can find BalanCity on Steam. It's fun!


The first PC game Chris owned was Choplifter in 1982, and since then our staff writer has played at least three other games. He has a love/hate relationship with Early Access survival games and an odd fascination with the lives of NPCs.


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