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[Game Review] Cities Skylines — Industries expansion

Some much-needed depth and easy organization adds welcome challenge to a respected if simplistic city builder

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First of all, big thanks to this guide for being a really good explanation of how the new industrial supply chains work.

I loved this DLC a lot more than I thought I was going to. Seeing other people’s reviews about traffic problems initially scared me off since traffic was the #1 difficulty I had in the base game. While I have no idea if this approach is “realistic” or not, the solution I found was simply to build all the stages of a particular supply chain right next to each other as I unlocked each one (think of how you would draw and map a supply chain, from gathering raw resources to finally shipping out manufactured goods, if you were explaining it to a child).

While I can’t speak for other people’s experiences, I personally did not have significant difficulties keeping my industry traffic manageable (relying on the roads with built-in bike lanes from After Dark and using dedicated highway connections near industrial districts helped). That said, it was surreal seeing my industries functioning near-perfectly despite the traffic problems from the base game and other expansions still not being fixed, so each of my industries had its own orderly fashion of trucks going through points A and B and C even while recycling trucks and crematorium hearses still mark their destinations from across town like they’re going on an epic quest. Having lots of roundabouts also helped.

Cities Skylines: Industries functions similarly to the Parklife expansion (which I also recommend getting) in that you’re drawing freeform-bubble district shapes for where you want to place your industries — lumber, farming, ore, and oil. This can get confusing since the base game’s method of marking regular districts for industrial preferences is still present. However, after creating a new dedicated industrial district via the Districts menu, you access the main Industries content through the same menu you use to build garbage and recycling facilities.

Similar to the freeform parks in Parklife, each of your industrial areas has a star rating from 1 to 5, and manufacturing more stuff and hiring more workers helps raise that star rating and unlocks new facilities for you to use, such as the five-star offshore oil-drilling rigs required for one of the achievements. One of your city’s info views tells you where natural-resource deposits are located, but if you’re not sure of which industry to start with, I highly recommend lumber since you can just plant a bunch of trees and have a permanent location to rack up some really good income.

You may want to set aside A LOT of space for whichever industry you pick, about as much as you would need for a five-star zoo, especially for lumber and ore since many of their late-game buildings are as big as some of the fanciest unique buildings. (Note that if for whatever reason you do not wish to use animal products in your farming industry, the game does allow you to use crop and fruit fields from the get-go, though you might have little to do in the late game.) Lumber fields and farm fields allow you to change their appearance among various tree and fruit types and even greenhouses, which is a nice touch, especially if you’re role-playing a weather-prone city or if you’re on one of Snowfall’s winter maps, where greenhouses are mandatory for most field types.

Cities: Skylines — Industries screenshot shared by Steam user dracosummoner
Generating a healthy industrial profit using imported resources, while not recommended, can be a practical approach.

Manually placing buildings makes setting up districts a lot more interesting than just designating zones and watching the game randomly populate them with buildings, but while there’s not a whole lot to do with the buildings after they’re placed, I really enjoyed seeing a full explanation of how many incoming and outgoing resources I have, what they’re being made into, where they’re going, and how much each output contributes to my profit instead of just having a generic income/expense comparison.

Nonrenewable resources (oil and ore) deplete in real time, oil seemingly much more quickly, so I had to move the tiny condo-sized pumps frequently and would recommend leaving that industry for last if you’re looking to five-star all four categories in one city, which isn’t that difficult. These resources can also go toward a successful ChirpX rocket launch, which takes a long time to wait for but is fun to watch. I don’t recommend relying on this, but some industries, especially oil, allow a viable profit even after your resources run out and must be imported.

There’s also a postal service, consisting of a big mail-sorting facility and little post offices, which function like tiny but noisy parks that give some modest boosts with a huge range. There’s not much to do with it, as it doesn’t have its own supply chain to micromanage, but it’s easy enough to set up and forget about (I got the mail achievement an hour or two later while I was brushing my teeth). A bigger complaint I had was that the industry buildings don’t really animate, other than some of the big ore mines, so if you’re expecting your supply chain to look like the Anno games, these buildings are still pretty but don’t have that level of detail. You do get a selection of “once per city” factories that require input across multiple industries (paper + plastic + glass or whatever) but can be placed outside of an industrial district so you don’t have to agonize over which industry to cram them alongside.

I did have another issue with the maps that come with this pack. None of them don’t have a “suitability for building” rating above 70%, and three of the five maps also lack at least one of the external connection types, which to me defeats part of the purpose. One of the maps somehow lacks a connection for airplanes, and another one has no oil in it, and the map I used was rather mountainous, so reaching some of the resource deposits required extensive landscaping since steep slopes and huge excavators and production buildings don’t mix.

Despite a few issues, I had a really good time with this expansion. It starts you off with some decent pop-up tutorials and wasn’t nearly as difficult to learn or to master as I figured it would be, while still bringing a reasonable extra challenge and some added depth. I didn’t find any new unique attractions to build, which was kind of a relief with how difficult some of the ones in Snowfall were to unlock, but both the industries and the post offices seem solid enough to be a valuable addition to most any city.

This review was originally written and published by author Dracosummoner, as “Dragonadamant,” for the Steam digital distribution platform and may not be republished elsewhere without the permission of the author.


Much of this content should have been in the base game, and some of it could still use slightly more depth, but what's here is good

I obtained this game through GameBillet and redeemed on a Steam account. I played probably about six hours of expansion content, after which I had unlocked all of the expansion's achievements.