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Niche Games to Watch in 2021: City Builders and Management Sims

Timberborn

Last time, I highlighted a small selection of the strategy games coming out in 2021. If you missed them, be sure to also check out our articles covering some of the RPGs, shooters, and strategy games releasing this year.

Today, I’ll be focusing on two specific subgenres of strategy game: the city builder and management sim. Once again, I’ll be taking special care to highlight some of the more niche, indie, or middleware games that you might not have heard of yet.

Regardless of if you wish to construct grand cities in ancient times, build a criminal empire during the Prohibition era, or run your own dinosaur zoo, then chances are you’ll find at least a few games that catch your attention.

Here is Niche Gamer’s selection of 20 of the most promising city building and management sim video games releasing in 2021:


Builders of Egypt
Developer: Strategy Labs
Publishers: PlayWay S.A., CreativeForge Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Q1 2021

Builders of Egypt

Builders of Egypt is a economic city builder set between the birth of Old Egypt, and the death of Cleopatra. Construct a thriving city in Ancient Egypt’s Nile Valley. Trade and negotiate with other cities, build vast monuments to appease the gods, and deal with catastrophes like famine, civil unrest, or war with rival nations. You can try the game out for yourself with the free prologue on Steam.

The same publishers are also creating sister games set in Greece and China, though they do not currently have firm release dates.

 

Pharaoh: A New Era
Developer: Triskell Interactive
Publisher: Dotemu
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Pharaoh: A New Era

On the subject of Egyptian city builders, the classic Pharaoh series is returning with Pharaoh: A New Era.

This remake seeks to re-release the original game; along with the Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile expansion, upgraded 4K visuals, an improved and modernized UI, and a robust map and scenario editor.

 

Nebuchadnezzar
Developer: Nepos Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: February 17th, 2021

Nebuchadnezzar

Rounding out the list of historical city builders of 2021 is Nebuchadnezzar, a city builder that covers the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, up to the region’s conquest by Persia.

One of the game’s highlights includes its freeform monument editor, giving you complete control over the design of your buildings and great wonders. This customizability extends to robust mod support, allowing anyone to create new content and share it with others.

 

Spacebase Startopia
Developer: Realmforge Studios
Publisher: Kalypso Media    
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Spring 2021

Spacebase Startopia

Spacebase Startopia is a reboot of the classic space station management series by the developers of the Dungeons series.

As with its predecessors, Spacebase Startopia tasks players with building and managing a major intergalactic trading hub. You’ll need to balance the needs of the eight major races of the galaxy, keep the space station operating smoothly, and fend off raids by space pirates and hostile alien forces in RTS-style skirmishes.

 

Evil Genius 2: World Domination
Developer: Rebellion
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Evil Genius 2: World Domination

Another colorful and comedic management series getting a new installment this year is Evil Genius. Much like the original, Evil Genius 2: World Domination allows you to live out your Bond villain fantasies. Build an elaborate secret lair, train an army of henchmen to send out on missions across the globe, and devise a devious plot to force world governments to bend to your will.

 

City of Gangsters
Developer: SomaSim
Publisher: Kasedo Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

City of Gangsters

City of Gangsters is a crime management sim set during the Prohibition era. Start out as a small-time smuggler, and gradually build up your own criminal empire as you gain favor with contacts and expand into more lucrative markets. Create distribution chains, and guard your territory from rival gangs seeking to steal away your clients.

 

Cartel Tycoon
Developer: Moon Moose
Publisher: tinyBuild
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Early 2021

Cartel Tycoon

Cartel Tycoon is another crime management sim releasing sometime this year. Become a drug kingpin in 1980s Latin America, during the height of the narco trade.

Create production and distribution chains not just for drugs, but also legal goods to disguise your real operations. Hire hitmen and enforcers to take out the competition, and defend your supply lines from the police, military, and even foreign interlopers like the CIA.

 

Hell Architect
Developer: Woodland Games
Publisher: PlayWay S.A.
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021   

Hell Architect

After you are done disposing of all of those rival cartel gang bangers, you’ll need a place to send them. Hell Architect is a satirical management game about building your own version of Hell. Stock your Hell with elaborate torture devices, and welcome sinners from across the world to their eternal punishment. You can try out a free demo on the game’s Steam page.

 

Starmancer
Developer: Ominux Games
Publisher: Chucklefish
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Starmancer

Starmancer is a space station management sim where you assume the role of an AI overlord tasked with reviving humanity after a catastrophe on Earth.

Design the interior of your station, grow clones to house the human consciousnesses saved in your memory banks, and negotiate or trade with other space stations. Alternatively, you can roleplay as HAL 9000 and find amusing ways to screw with the hapless humans placed in your care.

 

Honey, I Joined a Cult
Developer: Sole Survivor Games
Publisher: Team17 Digital
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021 (Early Access)

Honey, I Joined a Cult

Honey, I Joined a Cult is a management sim about creating your own cult in the 1970s. Design your funky cult compound, complete with snappy uniforms and fancy hats. Make sure your cultists are well taken care of to ensure their loyalty to your cause, and send out emissaries to local towns on missions to recruit new followers, gather resources, and undermine your detractors.

 

Idol Manager
Developer: Glitch Pitch
Publisher: Playism
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Idol Manager

Now for a cult management sim of a different sort. Idol Manager places you in the shoes of a rookie manager for a budding Japanese idol talent agency. Plan events for your idols, defuse tense situations and meltdowns within the group, network ad deals and collaborations, handle PR scandals and gossip, and gradually get to know more about each idol through visual novel-style conversations.

 

Fata Deum
Developer: 42 Bits Entertainment
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: April 2021 (Early Access)

Fata Deum

Fata Deum is a god game inspired by old classics like the Black & White series. Become a fledgling deity and shape your followers through you actions. Be a kind and caring god that leads your people to prosperity, or become a tyrant that rules through fear and demonic enforcers.

 

TFM: The First Men
Developer: Gathering Tree
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Q2 2021 (Early Access)

TFM: The First Men

TFM: The First Men is a fantasy city builder set at the dawn of civilization. Create your own custom Adam and Eve, and guide their descendants through the ages. Expand your villages, send townsfolk out on expeditions, and defend yourself against monsters and rival settlements.

 

Timberborn
Developer: Mechanistry
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Early 2021 (Early Access)

Timberborn

Timberborn is set long after the fall of humanity, when the world has been inherited by bipedal, sentient beavers. Build elaborate multistory settlements using intricate lumberpunk technologies. Shape the flow of rivers so your society can thrive, and care for the needs of your busy beaver townsfolk.

 

Prehistoric Kingdom
Developer: Blue Meridian
Publisher: Cryptivo
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Q2 2021 (Early Access)

Prehistoric Kingdom

Prehistoric Kingdom is a new zoo management game about building your own amusement park stocked with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

Create aesthetically pleasing habitats to house your prehistoric pets, and keep them happy and healthy enough to hopefully deter them from breaking out of their enclosures to devour your guests. Research new technologies to allow you to resurrect more diverse species of extinct creatures to attract even larger crowds.

 

Learning Factory
Developer: Luden.io
Publisher: Nival
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Learning Factory

Learning Factory is a factory management sim about building luxury items for cats. Build automated production lines to quickly and efficiently create products and ship them out to feline friends across the globe. Plus, the game will teach you the fundamentals of machine learning. You can try the game out via a free demo on Steam.

 

Night is Coming
Developer: Wild Forest Studio
Publisher: Ravenscourt
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Night is Coming

Night is Coming is a survival town builder based on Slavic mythology. Gather resources and build a small village in a dangerous world where humans are at the bottom of the food chain.

Take care of your villagers’ basic needs, ensuring that they have a roof over their heads, a fire to stay warm during the harsh winter months, and enough food to stay alive. You will also need to fend off attacks by hungry beasts every night to ensure your town’s continued survival.

 

Dream Engines: Nomad Cities    
Developer: Suncrash
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: March 2021 (Early Access)

Dream Engines: Nomad Cities

Another survival city builder releasing this year is Dream Engines: Nomad Cities. Design a flying city using lost technologies and weird science in a post-apocalyptic nightmare world. Land your city to gather valuable resources, and build defensive networks to fend off bizarre shadow creatures. Learn when to stay and fight, and when to use your city’s flight capabilities to escape and find a new place to establish a base.

 

The Wandering Village
Developer: Stray Fawn Studio
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

The Wandering Village

The Wandering Village is a city building game set on the back of a gigantic, nomadic beast in a world that is slowly being overwhelmed by toxic spores. Form a symbiotic relationship with your mount, ensuring that both the village and the beast can thrive and benefit from each other. Explore a variety of unique biomes, each with their own benefits and threats to overcome.

 

Distant Kingdoms
Developer: Orthrus Studios
Publisher: Kasedo Games
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Distant Kingdoms

Finally, we come to Distant Kingdoms, a fantasy city builder set in a world where humans, dwarves, elves, and orcs must learn to coexist in a distant and unfamiliar land.

Not only will you need to build a thriving kingdom, but you’ll also need to make sure the races can overcome their differences and work together. Send adventurers out on expeditions to gather resources, uncover ancient secrets, and deal with threats to your budding kingdom.


That’s all for our latest batch of articles highlighting some of the promising games coming our way in 2021. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at some of the platformers and Metroidvanias releasing this year. Until then, which of these games are you looking forward to? Are there any other city builders or management sims you are excited for in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

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Frank Streva

About

Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.




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