Most city-building sims see the player gazing over the landscape like a god as they place buildings left, right, and centre to craft the city of their dreams. Believe me, I’ve spent hours with the Sim City series, so I’ve got it down to a fine art. Buildings Have Feelings Too does things a little bit differently though. Sure, you’ll be placing buildings, but they have arms, legs, and… well… feelings.
It might sound a little weird, and that’s because it is! However, it also makes for a charming (and sometimes very frustrating) experience that does things a little bit different with its blend of city-building and puzzling gameplay.
Let’s get one big thing out of the way immediately: Buildings Have Feelings Too isn’t about keeping your population of people happy. Whilst you’ll see the silhouettes of folk going about their everyday business, their well-being isn’t of your concern. Instead, you’ll be keeping your BUILDINGS happy, with the place that they’re located and the neighbours they have around them affecting how successful (and happy) that they’ll be.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to build new buildings or even move them around, so there’s no fuss there. However, working out where they should go and how they can compliment each other is part of the puzzle, with some buildings flourishing in some locations and others facing the risk of closure if they’re too close to something which doesn’t compliment them. Placing a block of flats next to a factory will cause issues thanks to the potential of pollution for example, whereas if you place it next to somewhere social such as a pub or restaurant it will thrive.
“Sure, you’ll be placing buildings, but they have arms, legs, and… well… feelings.”
There are other things to consider too. As you upgrade buildings, they will take up more space, so you’ll have to completely re-arrange your setup to accommodate them – especially since what’s situated around them can affect their success. This can cause problems with the placement of your OTHER buildings, forcing you to revamp your entire city setup just to accommodate one little change.
Don’t look after your buildings or make sure their requirements are met? You can expect to face some closures. I live in a town that has seen SO many businesses close over the years that it feels like a shell of its former self – it’s the last thing I wanted in Buildings Have Feelings Too. It’s a little difficult to avoid it at times though, with some levels of the game proving to be quite overwhelming. There’s little margin for error in Buildings Have Feelings Too and, thanks to the sheer variety and amount of buildings you’ll be dealing with, there were plenty of moments of frustration during my time playing.
It didn’t help that the controls could be a little finicky in places. Whilst the side-scrolling nature of the gameplay works well and suits consoles, trawling through menus and fine-tuning details along the way might have felt a little better with a mouse and keyboard. It’s definitely playable with a controller, but it lacked the finesse that PC gamers will have.
“As you upgrade buildings, they will take up more space, so you’ll have to completely re-arrange your setup to accommodate them – especially since what’s situated around them can affect their success.”
Whilst flawed, Buildings Have Feelings Too still offered enough to keep me invested in its quirky puzzling. The level-based nature of the game brought a real sense of progress to the experience, whilst there’s no doubting that it’s super satisfying to FINALLY figure out the best way to layout your buildings and have them thrive. It’s certainly an original idea and that alone was enough to keep me invested.
It performs really well on the Nintendo Switch too, with the game’s presentation offering a perfect blend of cutesy and realism with its representation of buildings spanning from the Victorian times to the modern era. There’s no denying that Buildings Have Feelings Too is packed to the brim with charm and it’s something that is ever-present with the visuals. I have heard some reports of crashes here and there, but I guess I was one of the lucky ones – whilst there were a few bugs, I didn’t face anything that completely locked me out of the game or wouldn’t allow me to progress.
Buildings Have Feelings Too is a charming and original puzzler, but some aspects of its design could cause a few frustrations here and there. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more satisfying than nailing that perfect building layout, but actually getting there? It could take a fair bit of effort (and a few moments of rage along the way).
There’s no denying that it’s a very clever puzzler with some neat ideas, but the execution isn’t always perfect. If you’re looking for a city-building sim with a MASSIVE twist though, it’s certainly worth taking a look at.
Developer: Blackstaff Games
Publisher: Merge Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Click here to visit the official website.