It's a great week for city builders: 3 new ones are coming to Steam on Wednesday alone

A city built near a bay
(Image credit: Bitfall Studios)

City builder fans have a lot of reasons to be happy these days—we're in a real boom at the moment, with lots of exciting-looking city builders planned for this year including the recently announced Cities: Skylines 2.

Just look at what's coming this week: there are three (potentially four, really) new city builders coming to Steam just on Wednesday, April 5. That's a lot of builders crammed into the same day! And they all have different styles and represent different takes on the city building genre, from survival to puzzle to strategy and tower-defense.

(Image credit: Bitfall Studios)

For my money the most interesting city builder entering early access on April 5 is TerraScape from Bitfall Studios. It has a sort of Dorfromantic look and feel to it, with enchanting visuals and procedurally generated maps made out of hexes. It also runs off cards, rather than tiles. Each card in the deck has a certain type of building, like sawmills, cottages, farms, and taverns, and you play them on the map as you build your city.

"Each building has certain requirements, be it other buildings, natural resources or the right terrain," reads the official TerraScape site. "Gain bonus score by fulfilling as many requirements as possible, but beware: There are also negative influences!" As you earn points from playing cards, you level up and unlock new decks. 

Unfortunately, the teaser trailer for TerraScape is incredibly brief, but at least we don't have long to wait until we can play it for ourselves. It looks lovely.

Also coming to early access on Wednesday is Grimgrad, which looks like a more traditional medieval survival city builder—though it definitely has its own spin on the genre. As you build your settlement and try to keep your villagers safe from illness, foul weather, and predators, there are bigger forces at play: In Grimgrad, you'll also have to contend with gods.

Your citizens may occasionally meet creatures and deities based on Slavic folklore. You can build idols to these gods in your town to try to raise their disposition and gain blessings for elements like fertility, harvesting, and livestock. You will also face decisions when encountering a deity, and making the wrong choice may negatively affect your village.

If, like me, you often wind up with dead citizens when playing survival city builders, I've got just the place to plan your next city: in a massive graveyard. Entering early access on April 5 is NecroCity, where you build, manage, and expand a kingdom of the undead. 

But there's no rest for the wicked: you'll also need to defend your city against pesky living warriors and adventurers who want to wipe you out. "Expand the bureaucratic glory of the Undead Kingdom across all the lands by establishing new outposts. Summon workers, mine bones, capture souls, and protect your Ziggurat at all costs. Place traps, employ ghosts and skeletons, use magic" reads the game's page on Steam

(Image credit: Gameparic)

NecroCity looks like a far more action-oriented tower defense-type game than a typical city builder, but I have to admit it's fun to play the bad guys sometimes, and I've never (deliberately) managed a city of the dead before.

As a potential fourth city builder arriving on Wednesday—though this may be stretching the definition of the genre—there's Forests, Fields, and Fortresses from 9 Eyes Game Studio. It's billed as a "mix of a puzzle game and a board game" as you take on "the role of a ruler, piece together your lands and ensure the prosperity of your people." 

There are two modes to try, a puzzle mode where you play on manually-crafted levels and try to solve them while earning the required amount of gold, and an adventure mode. "Start the game with a randomly created field and an endless supply of pieces of territory. Earn enough Gold before the playing field is full to successfully complete the game season and move on to the next one," reads the Steam store page. 

Forests, Fields, and Fortresses has an appealing pixelated board game look and a relaxing feel to it, if you'd prefer that to battling hordes of invaders or dying of starvation. But whatever you're looking for in a city builder, April 5 looks like a good day to find it.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.