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Townscaper review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Raw Fury
Developer: Oskar Stålberg
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

I get why some people are so crazy about Townscaper: it’s a nice-looking, relaxing game (if you can even call it a game), and we live in distinctly un-relaxing times. I understand that impulse completely.

But I’d be lying if I said that I found Townscaper even the slightest bit interesting. It’s a city-builder of sorts, where you simply build and build and build…and that’s literally all there is to it. There are no goals, no time limits, just endless building.

In some respects, you could say that this resembles real city-building more than games like Sim City or Cities Skylines — after all, most cities tend to grow organically and chaotically, with only the slightest regard for zoning or buildings and streets being placed properly or any of the concerns you get in more complex city-builders. So if you want to replicate that feeling, you’ll be able to do that here.

But if you want anything more substantive than just building, Townscaper doesn’t offer that.

That said, my bigger issue with Townscaper is how empty it all feels. Sure, you can build up this huge city on the water, you can create multicoloured neighbourhoods that aren’t bound by the laws of physics or structural integrity, you can let it grow in whichever direction you want — but it will all feel lifeless, since there aren’t any people, or even any signs of life. You’ll come across park benches, and shrubs, and the odd bird, but that’s as close to a living, breathing city as this game comes.

Again, if you just want to build, there’s nothing wrong with that, and Townscaper will provide you with exactly the kind of non-directed gameplay you’re after. But if you want anything of substance, or even just a city-builder that feels like you’re creating an actual city, keep on looking, because you won’t find that here.

Raw Fury provided us with a Townscaper Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+