Town Building Game Offers Moments of Pandemic Zen

Townscraper, a new "casual town building" game earned good reviews among early adopters this summer.

November 30, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Marie Patino shares news of a game called Townscraper that is getting great reviews and will appeal to the city building instincts of planners and urban designers.

Users say they enjoy Townscaper’s calm ambiance, with no background music apart from the occasional plips and plops of material falling into the digital ocean, and they derive particular pleasure from the simple mechanics of the game — left click: you build something, right click: you destroy it.

Patino's coverage includes soundbites and insight from the game's creator, Oskar Stalberg, who describes Townscraper as a toy, rather than a video game. The inspiration from children's books illustrators, like illustrators Jan Loof and Sven Nordqvist, is also obvious, along with the work of the Japanese Studio Ghibli.

"The buildings in Townscaper are inspired by the architecture of Scandinavian cities like Stockholm, Malmo, Uppsala and Copenhagen, where houses are often made of colorful brick and stone, but also by Italian hilltop towns," adds Patino to describe the colorful and playful aesthetic of the game.

The game costs $5.99 and is defined by a lack of check-ins and goal-oriented tasks as common in other games that have achieved high levels of popularity during the pandemic (e.g., Sims 4 and Animal Crossing).

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