“…Snowfall hasn’t been as heavy as I had hoped.”
Cities Skylines is already the best city builder simulation that you could hope to play on the current market. Its first expansion, After Dark, expanded the experience with a day/night cycle, which dramatically changed how your city could operate at different times of day. In an attempt to instil yet another radical change to their game’s dynamics, developers Colossal Order have now released the game’s second expansion; Snowfall.
Snowfall largely adds elements which are self-explanatory in relation to its name. The simple addition of snow however creates some far more complex issues… or at least that is the idea. As well as a visual overhaul allowing for the new weather system to bear a striking aesthetic over your megalopolis, you will now need to keep your city running through all of the cold and inconvenience which comes with it. Your citizens will cry out to be kept warm, putting stress on your critical infrastructure. If you do not properly manage it, then traffic could come to a standstill too, stopping the crucial flow of working citizens and damaging your previously-effective systems.
It is both fortunate and slightly disappointing then that these problems sound far more dramatic than they turn out to be in practice. Keeping the traffic moving is a simple case of having enough snow drop sites and vehicle maintenance buildings to deal with any local problems. The issue of heating the city on the other hand is easily solved with expensive but simply implemented new systems and pipelines. In reality then, there really isn’t that much to worry about as long as you keep things organised from an early stage in the game. Just construct the new buildings and your problems are basically solved.
The game does offer some challenge with these new issues to think about, in the same form as the challenge of keeping the water flowing or the electricity levels in the green. The more your city that you build, the greater number of heat sources you will need to construct along with it. The same goes for keeping the roads clear. To be most effective, you need to have the maintenance sources located in each district for a fast response time. As is characteristic of Cities Skylines, these tasks are easily managed as long as you keep on top of them, and so the extra details do gel well with the rest of the game. The main disappointment comes from the fact that the impact of the snow on your city has been a little too overstated before launch.
Fortunately plenty has been added to the game to help sweeten the deal. The aesthetical impact of the snow in your city is impressive and mesmerising, with the believable appearance of a blizzard having just gone by. Each building model seems to have been worked on to ensure that the all-round visual impact of the expansion is at its absolute maximum. There are also several new snow related green spaces and entertainment venues to enjoy as well, from ski slopes to lodges to skating rinks and more.
One problem that was apparent with Snowfall was the way that the weather graphics reacted to camera movements. Zooming or moving the camera from side to side seemed to make the blizzardy foreground which is placed above your city move at super speed, before essentially resetting the graphic for the new position. This was a little distracting to gameplay, especially when trying to focus on finer details on the ground. It is likely to be a quick and easy fix in an upcoming patch, but it was noticeable enough to be worthy of mention.
Cities Skylines Snowfall is a nice package which gives you an alternative way to enjoy the game, but it doesn’t have the major impact that you might expect from it. Some overstated advertising prior to launch has lessened the potential wow factor of the new style of play, making is difficult not to feel slightly underwhelmed by it. There is also an underlying feeling that it works well as a mod to the game, but perhaps not as solidly as an expansion. This is especially noticeable with a free update adding weather systems and map style editing elsewhere being released alongside it. As much as the new systems are good additions to the game, I can’t help desiring something more. Fun but slightly disappointing, Snowfall hasn’t been as heavy as I had hoped.
- An alternative way to play the game with new challenges and aesthetics.
- The new features gel well with those already present in the main game.
- Visually the snowy appearance gives a striking aesthetic to the game.
- The redesign of each individual building model in game is impressive.
- New structures give you a lot of new options for green spaces and entertainment in your cities.
- The expansion of the game makes for an enjoyable new variant.
- No major impact on the game for a £9.99 package.
- Much of the content included has been partially added for free as a patch.
- New challenges are simply solved offering little added difficulty to the game.
- Feels more like a mod than a fully-fledged expansion.
- Some minor camera bugs need to be worked out.