There’s something very relaxing about building your own functional city. Giving people a place to live, power and services is a simple but compelling gameplay loop, and creating your own unique metropolis is just so satisfying. City builders have been around for a while now though, and it can feel like if you’ve played one you’ve played them all. Tinytopia manages to avoid that problem by making everything miniature, with some delightful results.
As the mayor of a mini city, it’s your job to create a happy and profitable town. Each citizen living in a house needs power and a job at a bare minimum, but you’ll get more taxes from them if you provide services like the Police, a Hospital and a fire department nearby. It’s not particularly revolutionary at this base level, but planning a town to maximise the housing in high tax areas is entertaining nonetheless.
The best way to make the most out of a city is by making the best buildings possible. In Tinytopia you can place buildings together to fuse them into better ones. Each stage has different buildings to experiment with, so get used to pilling things up and seeing what happens. Two apartments with a house on top will make a skyscraper with room for
loads of new citizens, and a two fire stations next to each other can fit a helipad to help save the day from fires.
The standard stages in the Tinytopia campaign generally have one objective, have enough people living in your town to be able to build a special building, and build it. It’s a simple goal, but one that’s enjoyable enough to accomplish all the same. On later stages you’ll have to plan carefully to make sure you’re earning enough skrilla from taxes to be able to afford to expand, and it’s a careful balancing act of property positioning that you’ll need to walk to win.
Zany toy levels
As well as this main objective, there are also side objectives for an additional challenge. Some of these will want you to make your citizens incredibly happy, others will involve you building a certain number of harder to craft buildings. If you’re seeking that extra difficulty it’s fun to aim for 100% completion.
The typical city building levels are entertaining enough, but Tinytopia really comes into its own on the zany toy levels. These stages feature completely different objectives than the standard stages, such as building a functioning town on a spinning record, or making a tower of buildings that reaches a certain height. My favourite of these was the seesaw stage, but all of them are a creative distraction from the standard city building.
We built this city
Like all the best city builders, Tinytopia features plenty of ways to dramatically destroy your town once you’re done with it. Maybe you want to blow everything up with a meteor, or maybe a fierce tornado would be a more entertaining way to destroy the hopes and dreams of your townsfolk. The best method of destruction though is a wind-up dinosaur toy, because it just fits the theme so damn well.
The main issue with Tinytopia is unfortunately due to one of its most unique features. Stacking together buildings to create something new is great in theory, but getting the game to understand when you want to place one on top of another is sometimes a bit fiddly. Balancing buildings without them toppling can be pretty frustrating too, which is a shame.
Tinytopia is a really endearing city builder, with some truly creative mechanics and objectives. It can be a bit tricky to stack buildings together, but experimenting to make a new huge apartment complex is fun and rewarding. If you’re looking for a new city builder that doesn’t take itself too seriously or require a business degree to play, then Tinytopia is a charming option.
City building is satisfying
Toy levels are so much fun
Combining and stacking buildings is fiddly
Standard levels are a bit samey