Build ’em up.
Project Highrise on PC
Let’s go back to 1994, with the release of SimTower. It was a different time, then, when games would release to a specific niche. Did you want to own a golf course? A theme park? A zoo? These simulation games released in droves during the ’90s era of PC gaming, and they became its bread and butter. Now, 22 years later, fans of tycoons and management games need to clamor at any title that releases scarcely each year, maybe even keeping track of “that one Steam curator” that helps them find these games. Project Highrise is clearly influenced by SimTower and all those games of yesteryear, and is the latest management sim that fans of the genre need to own.
As an avid fan of these kinds of games, I can attest to spending six hours straight playing it prior to this review. It was too good to put it down. It was too good to interrupt my builders. It was too good to sleep. And it’s such a simple concept, too. You just need to build a tower. How dumb, right? There was an iPhone game that did that like five years ago. But the depth, guys, the depth! You can’t just build restaurants, shops, and apartments all willy nilly! The people in the apartments want their peace and to be away from the smelly trash. You can’t just fill your tower with offices because then you won’t get the influence and clout to your prestigious building.
You don’t even need to stick to one tower straight up, by the way. You can choose to build three separate buildings if you wanted to. You can shove things in the basement, which, if you’re a pro player, you’ll know to stick all your services there. That’s right, hide your maintenance, plumbers, dog walkers, yoga trainers, and more from the world. Make it a really cool underground civilization. Go nuts with how you build.
You’re not just throwing shit together and then banking. You have to be smart about how you build. Choose from either apartments, offices, restaurants, shops. These will be the bread and butter for your tower and they’ll pay you rent each day. You can also eventually upgrade these to more luxurious furnishings as well as larger and larger versions of themselves. Inevitably, you’ll be building two floor department stores, headquarters, lofts, and gourmet restaurants. Each will have needs like maintenance, courier services, laundromats, and more. These services won’t net you profit, but they’ll keep your tenants happy making sure they have everything they need to inhabit their spot in your tower.
The only downside to Project Highrise that I could say is honestly the difficulty possibly deterring people from putting in the time. It’s easy to waste away your money in the game, and if you go in debt, take out loans, and put up rentable spaces and you’re still broke, a restart is going to be in order. Also, it does become a bit annoying to, once you have a certain groove going with how you build, have to build the electricity and water and cable and phone every single time. It would be great if these wirings were automated, however, I could see how it’s not possible. Ultimately, giving players control of this is a necessity to make sure each space in your buildings has the appropriate utility they need.
If you’re not very into management games, I could definitely see Project Highrise being an absolute bore as you wait for earnings to come in. I mean, you’re building a tower, not saving the world from aliens. But for fans of the genre or curious gamers, whether you’re playing through the games scenarios or in sandbox mode, this is one of the best management games to come out this year.