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Against the Storm perfected the city builder by breaking the city builder

City builders don’t need to be 100+ hour affairs

Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

Against the Storm is one of the best city builders I’ve ever played, but what might be most impressive is it accomplished that by throwing out the city builder formula. Instead of working on a city for hundreds of hours, steadily building it up from a tiny village into a bustling metropolis, you start your city over every 1-2 hours. Its roguelite progression should be antithetical to the city building genre, but instead it revitalizes it.

The secret is that in spite of how much city builders focus on spreading your city across a map, there’s a real joy in starting fresh with a new city. Against the Storm capitalizes on how much fun it is to scout for resources, lay down your first roads, and plan your first city. Its systems elegantly adapt the random run of a roguelike so each one of these cities is a unique challenge.

In the video above, I explain how all that and a bunch of other ingenious systems make Against the Storm such a special city builder. If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out the rest on our YouTube channel and follow our TikTok!

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.