Industries is not a pack I thought of in regards to expansions for Cities: Skylines which, upon reflection, seems a little naive – of course that part of the game needs boosting! All we had previously was generic pop-ups we could determine by type. Industry should be much more indepth than that. But does this pack give us the goods?
First of all, the expansion offers five new maps – Twin Fjords, Marble Canyon, Woodgarden, Green Peaks, and Pearl Bay. Each of these cities covers a variety of resources focuses and map themes, and feature a good amount of transport option availability. Some look fairly pretty, too – Woodgarden is certainly an interesting look, with its many little islands that reminds me a bit of marshland, and Marble Canyon’s riverside cliffs are certainly…interesting! Twin Fjords and Green Peaks look a bit lazily done though, to be honest, and remind me of something a novice map maker would create. Pearl Bay falls somewhere between the extremes – it has some nice features (and a very curiously Beach City like south island), but some of the rivers look a bit wonky to me. I’d recommend it or Woodgarden if you’re wanting to try out one of the new additions, though.
There’s also a variety of new roads on offer in this expansion. ‘Industry’ roads, which are noisier, cheaper variants of the two lane and four lane roads, as well as a three lane road that has two lanes going one way, and the third the other. Whilst I can appreciate the aesthetic difference between the regular roads and the ‘Industry’ roads, they’re only $10 cheaper, and cost .10c less to maintain, so I don’t really see a point for them beyond that. The three way road, however, is a useful alternative to one-way roads for those times you do need a little traffic coming back. I actually never realised how much I wanted something like that in my cities til now!
Toll roads have also been a long-missing feature. They come in two sizes (the largest more suitable for your main tollways), and can either service two-way or one-way traffic. It’s a nice little buffer that slows down traffic, whilst milking them for cash – Yes please! I like that light and heavy vehicles are charged different amounts, so you can really capitalise off plonking this stuff down on a highway or entrance to your industrial park, but was disappointed to find out that you can’t adjust these manually – would have been nice to help deter different kinds of traffic without resorting to policies (if the prices are too high, some cars just won’t pay). At least you’ll have access to them, expansion or not – they’re part of the recent update.
One other nice addition of Industries is the postal service. Although it’s questionably found under transportation, you’ll find a new post office and mail sorting building to plonk throughout your city – post offices will service local areas with happiness-boosting mail delivery, whilst the sorting facility will collect mail from post offices and help with out-of-city correspondence. It wasn’t the most necessary addition, but it’s still a nice one that helps immersion and boosting citizen happiness, so why not? It even comes with two new policies – Free Wi-Fi and Automated Sorting – that’ll help reduce the need for mail, and boost the effectiveness of the post respectively.
Speaking of policies, you’ll get a few other new ones for your cities: Automated tolls, which make toll booths easier to get through at reduced income (if for some reason you’d want that) and a Worker’s Union, which slightly increases happiness but reduces tax by 2%. There’s also three policies that can only be applied directly to your industrial zones, much like park policies in Parklife – these are Improved Logistics (which boosts your facilities but increases upkeep cost); Improved Work Safety (improves worker health at $1 per worker); Advanced Automisation (which increases output but also upkeep). None of the policies are too overpowered, and can easily work in conjunction with whatever else is law in your city.
But we still haven’t gotten to the major aspect of the Industries DLC: The industrial zones themselves. There’s one for each of the four specialised industries – Farm, Lumber, Oil, and Ore – and much like Parklife parks, once you’ve zoned your area, you plonk down your desired industry building, place relevant buildings inside, and hope to level it up to get access to more and better buildings. Be sure to set up the district with the appropriate specialisation though. I can understand why they re-used the Parklife system, but having to use both a district and zone feels redundant; a park is usually inside a district, but aren’t industrial zones usually what make up the majority of a district..? Anyway…
Industries is a little different in that’s its not a free for all – at least, its not if you want it to be the most effective. Each building will either be an Extraction facility (where you get the resource), a Processing facility (where you’ll refine that resource into something better) and finally a unique factory (where you can refine even further to make very valuable goods – you’ll unlock these as your industry area levels up). Each level of production can sell off the goods it produces, but you’ll ideally want to process it if you want to make a decent amount – also, whilst resources can be imported, refined resources cannot be, so you can’t jump straight from raw materials to a unique factory’s refined goods!
It’s entirely fine to replace generic industry that pops up from zoning with the Industry specific plopables – each will still provide taxes and jobs. Many Extraction and Processing facilities produce one specific type of good (eg. an orchid will always produce general fruits), but you can make them look diverse through a variety of skins (eg. an orchid can look like one for Oranges, Pears, Apples, or a general greenhouse). One thing to be careful of is that some extractor and storage buildings for farms or lumber will produce pollution, so maybe keep those silos a little away from your fields.
The pack also comes with other, less industry specific warehouses – from small cargo container lots to full blown Ark of the Covenant-sized mega warehouses. Each can be tailored to store specific goods, allowing you to stock things close to where you’re going to use them. This includes finished goods – plopping a little warehouse for them near a commercial zone will help supply that zone with profitable goods quickly, which is nice. Warehouses are also an idea to plop near cargo stations for quick export, too. The new cargo airport is definitely something you’ll want to look into as well!
+ More optional micro-management
+ Better looking industry zones
– New roads are kind of pointless
– A little pricey
This expansion pack seemed a little subdued when I first looked into it, but the features – especially the main zone stuff – have more than earned its place. I’m liking the boost to income, as well as the greater immersion the pack offers. My only real gripe is that there’s nothing for the generic industry (unless, of course, that’s where you want to shove all your unique factories) and that the roads feel a bit redundant for the most part. I got the cheaper pack, so alas, I missed out on the radio station, but in all honesty, for $15USD, the pack is already pushing it when it comes to pricing, as much as I love the idea of the 80’s soundtrack in the game. Don’t feel too guilty if you can’t wait for a sale for this one. Overall, I give the Industries expansion pack a solid 8/10.8 / 10
Oh, and Chirper also gets four new hats, if that’s your thing.