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iGBGamesBest city builder games for iPhone and iPad in 2024

Best city builder games for iPhone and iPad in 2024

City builder games have been around for the longest time. Games of this nature give you plenty of freedom to let your creativity flow and exercise your resource management skills. Although most city builder games were available only on Mac, here are some of the best city builder games for iPhone and iPad today.

  1. SimCity BuildIt
  2. Megapolis
  3. Pocket City
  4. Forge of Empires
  5. City Island 5
  6. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
  7. The Simpsons
  8. The Battle of Polytopia
  9. TheoTown
  10. DomiNations

1. SimCity BuildIt – Editor’s choice

SimCity BuildIt city builder game for iPhone and iPad

SimCity BuildIt is one of the most comprehensive city-building games on iPhone. Of course, you’ve got the regular freedom to create and plan your city as the Mayor.

Whether you want to recreate Paris or an amalgamation of London and Venice, the choice is yours. Moreover, the game has an online component, making it more interesting than other city builders. In this game, you can connect with other players online to form Clubs.

Furthermore, you can also battle it against other Mayors in Club Wars. This mode is fun as you’ll have to defend your city from monsters and other disasters like storms. To progress further, you can research and build new technologies to get ahead of the competition.

The game has a steep learning curve, though. The first couple of hours can be frustrating due to the lack of resources.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


2. Megapolis – Realistic economies

Megapolis city builder game for iPhone and iPad

Most city building games on iPhone don’t feature a proper economic system. Even if it has an economic system, the mechanics are usually offshoots of economic concepts. However, Megapolis changes that and adds plenty of depth to the gameplay.

Apart from this, the game has other solid mechanics. You can advance research and create scientific advancements to help your city grow. You also have to plan the infrastructure properly so that it doesn’t create issues for citizens years down the line.

Players can also enter the arms race in a bid for total control over a particular area. Basically, this is one of the best city builder games on iOS, thanks to the deep gameplay mechanics.

Since the game can be played online, some challenges require you to rely on other players for resource donations. This is especially evident at the game’s beginning when you’re lacking resources and have to complete big projects. The developers should make resource management slightly easier for newcomers.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


3. Pocket City – For beginners to the genre

Pocket City city builder game for iPhone and iPad

Not every city building game for iOS needs to have extensive gameplay nuances to attract players. For casual players, or players new to the genre, Pocket City features accessible but enjoyable gameplay.

The game’s simple as well, with basic resource management and the opportunity to grow your city. The more quests you complete, the more experience points and money you gain. You can use these rewards to further your city’s development. Additionally, the game doesn’t feature microtransactions!

However, if you’re a more seasoned player of the genre, the simplistic gameplay might induce boredom.

Price: $2.99


4. Forge of Empires – Highly scalable

Forge of Empires city builder game for iPhone

The reason why Forge of Empires is one of the best city building games on iOS is simple. It provides extensive and scalable gameplay that will keep you occupied for hours.

The game starts you off in the Stone Age. As you develop your trading routes, diplomacy skills, and gather resources, you’ll be able to progress your empire to the modern age. You’ll also have to weigh all the possible outcomes before making a decision. Any wrong move could set your empire back by hundreds of years.

You can also expand your empire through diplomacy or military might. Whether you want to become a tyrannical yet strong-headed neighbor or a trading empire with connections all over, the choice is yours.

The in-game microtransactions are highly expensive, though.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $2.99)


5. City Island 5 – Maximum content

City Island 5 city builder game for iPhone and iPad

City Island 5 combines elements of city building and exploration to provide a game that will surprise you. It has extensive content that will keep you engaged and playing for hours on end.

The game starts by providing you with a few resources and a single island to build your city on. As you progress and advance your city, you can start exploring other islands and examine their resources. You could even expand your control on different islands to create a mega-city. Each island is unique and has something new to offer as well.

Unfortunately, the game’s latest updates have been causing the game to crash far too often. Hopefully, the developers will fix this on the next patch.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $1.99)


6. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI – Extremely detailed

Sid Meier's Civilization® VI city builder game for iPhone and iPad

This wouldn’t be a list of the best city building games if I didn’t include Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. The Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise has been a staple of the genre for well over two decades. It’s a turn-based strategy game that combines elements of city building.

This formula has kept the franchise fresh, and Civilization VI is no different. It features some of history’s most iconic characters. You can interact with them as you continue advancing your empire from the Stone Age to the Information Age. How you advance your empire is up to you. You can either create wars or make peace. The game gives you enough freedom to make these choices.

Moreover, the game supports cross-platform saves. This means that if you’re playing on your iPhone and save the game, you can boot up the game on your iPad and start from where you left off!

Unfortunately, the free version of the game is highly limiting, as you can only take 60 turns before having to buy the game.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $1.99)


7. The Simpsons: Tapped Out – For casual players

The Simpsons™ city builder game for iPhone and iPad

The Simpsons is an iconic show and deserves a good game. With The Simpsons: Tapped Out, you get the most Simpsons-esque premise for a city building game on iOS.

Unfortunately for Homer, his antics have caused a meltdown and destroyed most of Springfield. Now, it’s up to you to rebuild Springfield in your image. It is based completely on your creativity and ideas. The game comes in the typical The Simpsons aesthetic as well, making for a nostalgic game.

The gameplay mechanics are simple enough and will be straightforward for most casual players. Moreover, since you’ve got a lot of freedom in the game, you can either rebuild or ruin Springfield on a whim!

The game suffers from glitches, though. Players have reported being logged out of the game randomly.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


8. The Battle of Polytopia – Minimalist and elegant

The Battle of Polytopia city builder game for iPhone and iPad

This is another turn-based strategy game that incorporates the city building elements. However, the visual style is the first aspect of this game that you’ll notice immediately.

Unlike other city builder games for iOS, The Battle of Polytopia has a minimalist, pixel art style that will catch your attention immediately. It’s easy on the eyes, and the gameplay also complements the aesthetics. The game’s premise is to build and expand your group while competing with other groups online in a turn-based competition.

It’s got some surprisingly deep gameplay mechanics without making the gameplay inaccessible to newcomers. If you want to try out the games from this genre, this should be one of the first games.

However, the game can be too simplistic for veterans of the genre.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


9. TheoTown – Time to micromanage

TheoTown city builder game for iPhone and iPad

If you’re someone who likes to control each aspect of their city builder games on iOS, this is the game for you. TheoTown is simplistic and elegant and features gameplay mechanics that will challenge you endlessly.

However, the challenge doesn’t come from overly difficult gameplay. In fact, it arises from the fact that every little detail needs to be managed. The type of structures you build, how you build or connect them – each aspect deeply impacts the overall gameplay.

Moreover, this game has a huge modding community that adds features and aspects to make the game more realistic.

Unfortunately, the game’s visuals aren’t all that good and could do with a rework.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $0.99)


10. DomiNations – Detailed strategy elements

DomiNations city builder game for iPhone and iPad

There’s a reason why DomiNations is one of the most popular city builder games on iOS. It makes you a veritable part of the virtual world history through gameplay.

Of course, you start small with a settlement, intending to convert this settlement into one of the greatest civilizations on the planet. However, it’s no easy task.

As you progress through the ages, you can enlist the help of historical figures like Leonardo Da Vinci or Catherine the Great. Moreover, you have the freedom to build World Wonder monuments too.

The online gameplay aspects are pretty good as well. You can form alliances to strengthen your nation’s foundations with other players online. You could also wage war against other players in a bid for supremacy.

My only gripe with the game is the extensive list of microtransactions. While they make the game easier, it seems more like a cash-grab opportunity than an extension of the game.

Price: Free (In-app purchases start at $3.99)


The takeaway

So, what did you think of my list of the best city builder games for iPhone and iPad? I’ve tried to include games for both veterans and casual players. If I’ve missed out on your favorite, share it in the comment section below. I’ll be sure to look into it. Until then, happy city building!

In case you missed!

  • Anirban

    Anirban is a literature post-grad who delves in philosophy and postmodern novels when not writing on tech and gaming. His love for research is only trumped by his love for chai and heavy metal.

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