Building and running a skyscraper.
Set for a Summer release, Kasedo Games and Somasim’s Project Highrise fills that gap between household simulators such as The Sims and city simulators like SimCity and Cities: Skylines, challenging players to control a medium sized ecosystem in the form of a skyscraper. The classic SimTower obviously stands as inspiration for Project Highrise, and players with fond memories of that game will likely be chomping at the bit to get their hands on Project Highrise. With what appears to be a close to finished version of the game loaded up on the PC, GGUK had the chance to delve into this ant farm and see just what it takes to run a successful skyscraper.
As with most games of this genre, it all starts quite simply, teasing the player into the game before ramping up the complexity. A quick drag of the mouse will result in a floor being built in the skyscraper, and as the little builders get to work in creating the rooms that the player has assigned, the little tower springs to life. The different rooms that are available come in different sizes, with rooms increasing in size as they increase in needs and potential income.
Small offices for various different industries, such as financial or creative, are the simplest place to start. As each office is completed by the builders, players are able to choose their tenants from a list, each of which are willing to pay different amounts of rent and have different requirements. They will all need electricity, which will involve routing power through the floors and, as the building increases in size and population, ensuring there is enough power for everyone. But some will also need water, or a telephone line. Then, as the game moves on, they may need gas or even cable TV. But keeping an eye on the ever growing utility infrastructure is fairly straight forward in the game.
What becomes more complex is when your tenants need certain services to keep them happy. Copy services, or even a dog walking service, will be required as the game progresses, and as with utilities, the more tenants that require them, the more the player will have to build. But then these services will also have their requirements, such as utilities.
As the tower grows bigger, thoughts turn to getting around. Stairs are all well and good, but lifts will be needed once the skyscraper reaches more than a few floors. And then a maintenance team will have to be placed to keep the elevators moving. Once you reach the dizzying heights, there is always the chance to drop a helipad on the roof to save some time for the rich and powerful.
Then there is placement. Aside from the variously sized offices that players will be able to place, there are also apartments that can be placed. From a simple bedsit to a luxury family apartment, having people actually live in the tower rather than just work is a great way to get the money coming in. Of course, they all have their own requirements too, such as recycling bins on their floor, or a certain number of shops or restaurants. But, of course, no one wants to live next to a smelly Taco bar, and while the shops may require placing in an area with high footfall, certain offices will not want the noise of the crowds. It all becomes quite difficult to keep everyone happy, and of course an unhappy tenant will simply move out if their needs are not addressed.
Prestige is required to unlock the better rooms for your skyscraper, while influence can be gathered and used for improvements, and buzz can be spent on limited time campaigns to reduce various costs. But it is the money that really rules the game, making sure that there is more coming in than going out. To help with this, the player can take contracts with certain goals, such as reaching a population target or having a set number of particular offices. These contracts provide lumps of cash, which is handy, but also give the player direction.
The sandbox mode is the obvious draw of Project Highrise, giving the player freedom to create the skyscraper of their dreams. But there is also a scenario mode that will challenge the player in different conditions. As an added bonus, the menu of the game suggests that there will be support for mods, giving the more creative players a chance to tweak the game in all manner of weird and wonderful ways.
My time spent in Project Highrise was great. Even in the unfinished state, the game is incredibly compelling and I came away planning what I would do next, and looking forward to the next milestone and associated unlocks. Project Highrise is one to watch for sim fans, and is set to launch some time this Summer.
Find Project Highrise on Steam.