Cities XXL is a unique and innovative city builder that is among the best, but there is not enough new features or content for returning players to justify buying.
More of the same. Almost exactly the same, in fact. Cities XXL is only worth looking at if you have never played the previous XL titles. And even than, wait for a sale.
Cities XXL is a reasonably good city building game in a vacuum. It offers a decent creative experience, with flexible building options, while looking quite nice. Unfortunately, it performs extremely poorly. Then there's the elephant in the room – the other Cities games. They look the same, they perform the same, and save minor changes they ARE the same. Cities XXL even appears in the taskbar as Cities XL. For that reason, I cannot recommend Cities XXL. Instead, consider picking up a previous entry in the series for far less money to feed your creative self with some city building goodness.
As a sandbox for building stupidly large cities, Cities XXL can be a fun diversion when performance issues aren't rearing their ugly heads. But once the buildings are plonked down, there's little to do aside from plonking down more of them. The management aspects are shallow, and made entirely redundant by how easy it is to reach Scrooge McDuck levels of wealth. And there's a serious dearth of good reasons for veteran Cities players to return. They've seen it all before.
Cities XXL feels more like a sidegrade than a true upgrade, as it offers little more than a performance patch for its $40 price tag.
Cities XXL represents a serviceable starting point for beginners certainly, but is simply far too riddled with bugs, performance issues and recycled content to recommend to anyone else who has sampled the series previously. Much like how Cities XXL encourages the player to build their sprawling domains from the ground up, so too should the developer look to apply a similar work ethic to this tired series.
Part of the satisfaction of a city builder is looking down at your creation, watching it grow and develop. Just whizzing the camera around your constructed world in Cities XXL can be satisfying. It's just a shame it forget the other half of what makes the genre great - management. At its core it's a fun game with some solid tools and the potential for absolutely massive creations, but you'll have to overcome a pretty bland art style and a lack of challenge to get the best out of it. The makings are so nearly there for a great city builder, but Cities XXL just falls short in too many of the key areas.
Anyone who loves city-builders and doesn't own a previous entry in the series will likely find a solid, valuable title in Cities XXL. It's not as snappy or attractive, or even as engaging, as some of its competitors, but it's a worthwhile endeavour in its own right.