It’s been a long time since I have played a simulation game, especially one that’s on Nintendo Switch. So I decided to give Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition a spin, even though I usually play simulation games on PC. After spending about 10 hours on it, it’s time for me to give you my thoughts on what this game is.
Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition, as the name implies, is a game where you build your own skyscraper and micromanage it. Project Highrise is not just about building skyscrapers – you have to make sure your tenants are happy, don’t go bankrupt, and make your building attractive to visitors.
There is a lot of depth in Project Highrise. Usually, I don’t really check out the tutorials for simulation games, but because Project Highrise was so overwhelming at the beginning I had no choice but to suck it. There are lots of tutorials teaching you the basics of running your building (i.e. ensuring construction, maintenance, laying out cables) and some advanced mechanics (running a hotel). They were pretty good and took about 30 – 40 minutes to digest.
For games like Project Highrise most of the time I’d go into Sandbox Mode first and build with my heart’s content. For this game I played around with Campaign Mode first, where there are 29 scenarios to complete. Each scenario has different goals to achieve, like hitting 1000 visitors or making 1 million dollars. I highly recommend you to check out Campaign Mode first as it’s also a good way to better grasp the game’s mechanics.
Like I said earlier, this game isn’t all just about building. There are multiple types of tenants you can allocate space in your building for – offices, restaurants, retailers, apartments, and hotels. There are many kind of offices and many kind of restaurants, each with their own requirements. Early in the game tenants are not very demanding but as you seek higher quality tenants, you’ll have to ensure their needs (i.e. low noise, paintings in the vicinity, facilities) are met otherwise they will move out.
It may sound easy to you but trust me it isn’t (even on sandbox Easy Mode) You need to find a right balance of allocating space for the right tenants, ensure you have enough electricity and telephone lines, and there are sufficient facilities. One wrong move and everything starts going down the drain and you can say good bye to your building and money. It nearly happened to me but I got out of it by increasing the rent and expanding slowly.
The beautiful part is once you get the hang of Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition, you’ll feel everything has paid off. It’s a very good feeling, trust me. Seeing hundreds of people streaming into your sprawling complex and making a crazy ton of money off your tenants.
There are many tools at your disposal to further improve your building. Some of these include decorations and lobbies, which really help to make your building look nicer, as well as business-y such as marketing campaigns, buying lobbyists and art curators, and booking celebrities for your concerts. Everything the game has to offer is slowly unlocked through Prestige points, so it will take many hours to 100% unlock everything.
To make things more like real life, you can even take loans from the bank or even sign contracts. I really appreciate stuff like these as it shows the developers have put a lot of thought into making Project Highrise as realistic as possible. It’s easy to understand and not overly complex at the same time.
Now that you’ve heard me gushing over this game I do have a few complains to make. First and foremost is the horrible lag. At some point, the entire game will start to lag very badly because there’s too many people and things inside your building. You won’t notice this happening if you have like, a building with 10 floors. The lag is worse in Handheld Mode and when you’re playing at the fastest speed. In fact, I play at the max speed 100% of the time because normal feels too slow.
Second – save data. While you can build as many buildings as you want in both Campaign and Sandbox Mode, there is a limit to how much you can save in the game. It’s represented by a percentage bar and could go up really fast if you build lots of large buildings. I hope the developers increase this limit in the future as it’s a very huge roadblock.
My last complain is the limit of construction workers. The maximum construction workers you can have is 5, and it takes a very long time to expand your building with just five people.
Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition is a really nice simulator game to play, and something I foresee myself pouring many hours into. The game has a lot of depth and it’s mesmerizing to see how people visit and use your building. It’d be a better game if it was better optimized for Switch. The reason why I avoid buying simulation games on consoles is because of limitations and controls, but Project Highrise proved me wrong as it was quite a decent experience, despite the really bad lag.
- Lots of depth for a simulator game – building and managing the skyscraper
- Many ways to build your building
- Looks kind of pretty, even though it’s based on the 1960s (I think)
- You can play on the go
- Build an office skyscraper, shopping mall, hotel, or everything in one – your choice
- Horrible lag when the building becomes really big
- Limitations to save data
Soup Verdict: Delectable Soup
A review copy was provided by the publisher for this review