City Limits review

In these times of colossal updates and install sizes, it’s likely most gamers have a quick blast ‘go-to’ game to play while installing their latest purchase. For me, it’s the Xbox One tile-absorbing city-themed puzzler SubaraCity. It’s a mellow experience that’s easy to jump into. Despite playing it on and off for over four years, I still haven’t unlocked every achievement – giving another reason to play.

When City Limits became available for review, it was a no-brainer – this too is a tile-based puzzler based around city planning. Coincidentally, this is also another low-budget affair available for under a fiver. Is SubaraCity about to be usurped?

My first observation was that there’s little in the way of text, falling back on icon driven menus for navigation. It’s recommended to pay attention to the tutorial, as once it’s finished, there’s no way to replay it. Thankfully, City Limits doesn’t take long to pick up if the tutorial didn’t sink in. It’s essentially a ‘match two’ puzzler set on an isometric grid. Place two buildings of the same type adjacent, and a different building will spring up next to it. Then, using that newly formed building, you can continue the chain and start a combo.

The left of the screen shows potential outcomes, while the right provides four tiles to choose from – meaning there’s a choice of which buildings to place. You’re also free to place buildings anywhere on the grid, allowing you to allocate one area to a certain building type – should that be your strategy.  

When there’s no more room to build, the game ends, and your score is tallied and saved. There’s no ‘Game Over’ or anything of the sort. No win, no lose. You are however encouraged to beat personal bests, with your best score shown on the configuration screen. It’s also on this screen that you can choose map types and increase the building pool from four to twelve. When playing with twelve buildings the potential for new high scores increases as special buildings – such as airports – can clear tiles, helping to expand or fix mistakes.

It’s also possible to dabble with danger and try to build while spike formations spread across the grid. For those who just want to chill and have the maximum area to construct, spikes can be turned off – something the minimalist configuration screen doesn’t make immediately obvious.

Elsewhere, there’s a bit more personality, including background animations while playing and a reoccurring amphibian who emerges from the water. The music plays on shuffle, being appropriately slow and downbeat.

And that’s the takeaway here. City Limits is intended to be a relaxed experience. It isn’t particularly exciting, it doesn’t punish mistakes, and a typical game only lasts around five minutes. Once it ‘clicks’ though, it’ll have you stopping to think about each tile placement to maximise new high score potential. For puzzle game fans, this is a nice little budget buy.

City Limits is developed by SpaceMyFriend and published by Jandusoft. Available now on consoles.