Urbek City Builder review | I’ll be honest. I have never been into sim-type games. Whether it is building a life for a character in a game, or building an actual city and maintaining it. These types have games have never been the kind of game that I enjoy, mainly because I suck at maintaining them and panic when something goes wrong. However, Urbek City Builder provides a new way of creating these things and minimizes the risk of things going wrong by employing the use of natural resources. Urbek is a city-building game where you can build your own neighborhoods: from nightlife to industrial. Help educate your population to build more efficient structures and create even bigger cities.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What We Liked!
- The Concept | Natural Resources over money is something I have never personally seen before. But from my experience with other games like it, money is usually the main currency that is used when buying or making your buildings. It’s actually a more realistic way of approaching these sorts of games since in reality, money is used to buy the resources we need to make the structures. But in this case, Urbek City Builder eliminates the need for money and just gives you the resources you need to build providing you follow its in-game rules. For example, houses need to be built by roads, log cabins need to be near woodland areas, and farmhands and farmhouses need to be surrounded by farms. It all makes sense and each of these resources then provides things that your city needs like food, water, and wood. There is obviously a lot more that goes into it, but it’s a good way of changing up the formula without just giving you resources as well. Everything needs to be carefully constructed in order to work.
- The Levels | There are several maps to choose from including the option to customise the starting map. While there is no story to Urbek City Builder, it’s one of those games you can pick up and play at your own leisure. Each level has different parameters you can set and then use those to create your level. It creates a semi-sort of infinite amount of levels for you to choose from. There are snowy levels, desert-based levels, and levels with higher amounts of natural resources such as woodlands and water. It’s a good selection that will keep you busy for hours.
- The Graphics | Graphically Urbek City Builder is nice to look at. It’s a block-based building system similar to Minecraft except you don’t place the blocks yourself. Everything is pre-made but you place them if you have enough resources to do so. Once placed you will start to generate blocky civilians who walk around town and carry on about their day. It’s all very cute looking and fits nicely within the game world.
- Civilian View | One of the surprising features of Urbek City Builder is the civilian view. At any during your creation, you can click the right thumbstick and zoom down into the world through the eyes of a person and walk around your town. There aren’t any things to interact with but it is still really cool to walk around and see everything you made. Taking a walk along the bridge, or going to the football pitch is a nice way of seeing your creations play out in real time.
- Steep Learning Curve | There are quite a few variables to not only consider when playing Urbek City Builder but to also learn through its somewhat invasive UI and heavy tutorials. Throughout your very first level, Urbek will bombard you with a step-by-step explanation of what to do next and how to achieve it. It’s not a huge issue, but the constant popping in and out very rarely lets you stretch your legs with each introduction to a new mechanic or feature. It is a one-and-done situation which can result in forgetting how you did that. I think allowing the user to practice more before moving on would have been a better solution overall.
- The Music & Sounds | The music in Urbek City Builder is okay. There are 5 songs on repeat throughout the whole game regardless of the map you choose. By the end of each map, you would have heard them hundreds of times. They are small, but are upbeat and fit nicely within the game’s look and feel. I ended up turning off the music since I started to find it slightly annoying hearing it so much, so often. Sound effects are very limited and are mainly restricted to being heard on the UI elements, such as moving around the menus and in-game cursor clicking. Other than that, there are no sounds outside of this, nor in civilian mode, where you can walk past cars and people.
What We Disliked
- Difficulty | As with any sim game, there comes a lot of management alongside the continuous building and designing you do throughout the game. Once a natural resource has dried up, like trees for example, the log cabin will become useless and start affecting neighboring buildings. Because the log cabins, watermills, and cole mines play a vital role in the stability of your city, it is important to keep on ensuring that you are constantly updating your city with more of these facilities. Throughout my time with Urbek City Builder, I found it increasingly difficult to maintain these as the cities grew larger. There are win conditions for each map that you start with and each of those have its own challenges. For example, snowy maps have a harder success rate. These can be customised before starting each map though such as increasing more woodland areas, reducing water surfaces, or increasing. These are all updated by the percentage meter showing your rate of likely success. For newcomers, this will be a pretty hard thing to contend with. This is where the money would ideally be a much easier thing to use when it comes to managing your city.
How long to beat the story | There is no story in Urbek City Builder
How long to get all achievements | 100+ hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Sim City, Cities Skyline and Planet Zoo.
Urbek City Builder was a surprise playthrough. With its tight controls, easy-to-understand objectives, and cute graphics, Urbek City Builder was able to capture my attention for hours on end. With the great twist on using natural resources over money, it took away most of the stress needed in order to make my towns and cities flourish. If you are into sim games and are looking for your next fix, then definitely check out Urbeck City Builder.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.