When the sun goes down…
Colossal Order’s Cities: Skylines turned the head of many an armchair city planner when it launched earlier this year, providing the city building and management experience that many players were looking for. At launch, the game was great, but the evolution of Cities: Skylines was never meant to stop there, with a massive community of modders waiting to add to the game. And then there are the official updates from Colossal Order themselves.
A recent update added an incredible day and night cycle to the game. Life moves at a speedy pace in the city, and being able to watch the transition from day to night is really quite spectacular, making the city at night very beautiful. Thankfully, it is possible to turn off the night time splendor for building purposes, but if you are taking a break from the ongoing expansion, watching the city hum at night is a great way to spend some time.
To go alongside this update, Colossal Order have also launched the first expansion for Cities: Skylines – After Dark – bringing some handy new tools to make the most of your city when the sun goes down.
With the coming of night, the city will change. Traffic calms down and the city is noticeably quieter. The After Dark expansion allows the player to make the most of this quiet time. With the reduction in general traffic, deliveries move more easily, emergency vehicles will respond quicker and public transport will be far less busy. Players are able to set things to happen at night, during the quiet time, rather than during the busy day, such as garbage collection. This will obviously ease the traffic during the day, something which every city needs at some point.
Public transport is expanded in After Dark. Dedicated bike paths can make entire areas transport free, and adding both bike and bus lanes to roads can go a way to ease the traffic and give your citizens options. A new bus terminal adds a central hub to the bus routes. Then there are taxis, sprouting from taxi ranks and running all over the place.
As with most places in the world, when it gets dark the criminals come out. Crime increases when the sun goes down and the city police force will find themselves working much harder to keep it under control. Repeat offenders will find their crime sprees that little bit more desperate with this expansion and the inclusion of a new prison building. Criminals will be transported from the police station to the prison and rehabilitated before once again being released into the city.
Then there are two new specializations for the commercial areas of your city – leisure and tourism. Once a commercial district is assigned to leisure, all manner of night clubs and foody places will attract business through the night, allowing the player to create massive leisure hubs to attract citizens when they are not at work. Likewise, the tourist specialization will allow for the building up of shorelines, adding the likes of marinas and fishing tours to attract the business during the day.
The great thing about the After Dark expansion is that the added mechanics and buildings don’t over complicate the game, instead just expanding on what is already there. Admittedly, the expansion doesn’t make any great strides and it is not an essential purchase for enjoying the game, but it does give the player more options as to how they develop their city, and it makes the most of the day/night cycle update.
Cities: Skylines – After Dark is a good expansion, but it does feel a little light on content for the price. Of course, Colossal Order could have included the excellent day/night cycle in the expansion rather than as a free patch to increase the expansions worth. However, I am glad that all players can enjoy the city at night, rather than just those that buy the expansion. What the expansion does offer players is more choice, especially for those enjoying the night time city, and more options are always a good thing. After Dark is not an essential purchase, but it still comes highly recommended for this great city simulation game.