Cities: Skylines allows you to build your own thriving metropolis. But what if you took a similar concept and shrunk it down to focus exclusively on a single skyscraper? That’s what Project Highrise is all about. Here, you’re tasked with being the manager of your very own building. You’re free to turn it into whatever you want, such as an apartment complex, major mall, five-star resort, major office building, or a mixture of all the above. I found myself getting wrapped up in this game far more than I initially thought I would.
As the building manager, you’re tasked to oversee literally everything. You need to make sure all the utility lines are flowing to every unit, have trash bins on each floor, and hire the right services to cater to the tenants in your building. This all especially becomes hectic if you choose to have a multi-purpose building, such as a hotel mixed with a shopping complex. Of course, finances play a big part in your progress. Keeping your tenants happy will ensure that rent money continues to flow. They will not hesitate to leave if their needs are not properly met. And the bigger your building grows, the more tedious micro-managing will become. But that’s exactly what you sign up for with a game like this.
Random events such as a heatwave can cause the electrical grid to be overloaded, thus bringing down your building’s productivity. Sometimes the market crashes, so tenants will move out due to a lack of business. These random (and very realistic) occurrences add to that overall stress level. And really, that’s where the main challenge comes in. Your job is to ultimately see your building through the ups and downs, just like a real manager.
Build High, Build Smart
Playing through the scenarios is especially challenging due to them requiring you to hit specific goals before being allowed to proceed to the next. Hitting these goals can take quite some time, so you can expect to be playing Project Highrise for a while before you start making any serious progress. Thankfully, there is an option that allows you to create your own building from scratch with unlimited resources, so you’re free to experiment with everything right off the bat. Every tenant type has their own quirks, so I’m not quite sure which was my favorite to manage. Still, once things start falling into place, it becomes kind of enjoyable to watch all the little characters buzz around your structure like ants.
The Switch version is the Architect’s Edition, which includes various DLC packs that add quite a bit of content to the game, such as the hotel and mall tools. Really, these aren’t just more stuff, as they actually add totally different features than what’s available in the base game. So, it’s cool that the Kalypso team opted to include all of this as one complete package.
If long-form strategy/sim titles are your cup of tea, then Project Highrise was made for you. This is certainly not an everyman’s game, as those without an acquired taste may likely become very bored. In fact, one of my friends watched me play it for a few moments and (seemingly sarcastically) said: “Wow, you must have a lot of patience.” And they had a point: You need patience in this type of game, especially if you plan on going through all the scenarios. Still, it’s a rewarding experience once you get the hang of it all.
A review code was provided by the publisher.