A roman city seen from above

(Image credit: Lion Sheild)

Grab your blueprints, fire up your bulldozer, and start memorizing zoning regulations: it’s a new year, and 2024 is packed to the brim with exciting city builder games. There’s something on the horizon for just about everyone, whether you’re into survival, strategy, or cozy and relaxing building games, or if you want to build on the land, in the air, or even at the bottom of the sea.

2023 was filled with great builders (here’s the four city builders I recommend most out of the 20 I played), and 2024 is shaping up to be even better. You’ve probably already scrolled down to see the list and aren’t even reading this, so why am I still typing? Let’s get right to it.

Nova Roma

Developer: Lion Shield
Release date: TBA 2024

Nova Roma is immediately appealing with its clean art style and crisp color scheme, and it also looks like a lot of fun. A big focus is on water management, as you’ll build dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts to ensure a steady supply for your farms and citizens. Just try not to flood your entire city by displeasing the gods so much they wipe out your dam with a lightning bolt.

Manor Lords

Developer: Slavic Magic
Release date: April 26, 2024 (Early Access)

I’m not alone in champing at the bit for city building strategy sim Manor Lords: it’s currently at number two on Steam’s most wishlisted games. Manage your medieval village while defending against other conquerors in real-time tactical battles. We were expecting it last year but the release date slipped to April 26 when it’ll launch into early access. 

Laysara Summit Kingdom

Developer: Quite OK Games
Release date: Early 2024 (Early Access)

You’re building a working city on the side of a mountain in Laysara: Summit Kingdom. The challenging terrain makes it a real logistical puzzle as you move resources from different parts of the slopes to where they’re needed most, all while contending with disasters like avalanches that can bury your city. There’s a demo on Steam you can try now.


Developer: Overseer Games
Release date: TBA 2024

In Kaiserpunk, you’re not just building a city in isolation, you’re also using that city to support your efforts in a global grand strategy. Manage citizen morale and supply chains as you navigate battles and diplomacy in a world locked in a massive, endless war.

Airborne Empire

Developer: The Wandering Band LLC
Release date: TBA 2024 (Early Access)

According to the devs, Airborne Empire isn’t just a city builder but an “open world city builder RPG.” Construct a massive flying city, do battle with fleets of sky pirates, complete quests for civilizations on the ground, and explore a beautiful world in this follow up to the excellent Airborne Kingdom.

Frostpunk 2

Developer: 11 bit studios
Release date: TBA 2024

After the campaign of the original, Frostpunk 2 leaps ahead a few decades. The world is still a frozen ball of ice and humanity has discovered a useful new resource: oil. Unfortunately, that leads to a civilization on the brink of tearing itself apart, which sounds plenty familiar.

Metropolis 1998

Developer: Yesbox Studios
Release date: TBA

There actually isn’t any indication Metropolis 1998 will launch in 2024, but the demo got me so excited I’m including it here anyway. You don’t simply zone areas and watch buildings pop up, you can design, build, and decorate them yourself. All of them, from houses to restaurants to schools to the fire department. A free demo on Steam and Itch.io will whet your appetite. 

Also coming in 2024 (and beyond)

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this year’s city builders. There are plenty more planned for 2024 and 2025:

City builders currently in early access

There’s no need to wait: if you’re looking for something to play right now, there are plenty of excellent city builders available in early access. 

  • Fabledom: Storybook looks, fairytale charm, and lots of little surprises. 
  • Moons of Ardan: Build a city that spans a solar system after crashing on a remote moon. 
  • Microcivilzation: A little tiny strategy city builder clicker that will eat up huge chunks of your time. 
  • Workers and Resources: Soviet Republic: A deep and highly detailed resource management sim. 
  • Foundation: This beautiful and engrossing medieval city builder is nearing a 1.0 release.
  • Terrascape: Enjoy a chill challenge in this city-building strategy puzzler. 
  • Farthest Frontier: Challenging survival city builder in a medieval-inspired world.

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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.

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