Preview: Pile up! – Relax and build a skyscraper city


Pile up! reminded me of old mobile games where you need to put one floor on another and pray that the bizarre structure does not collapse. But this city-building strategy offers much more diverse gameplay: here you have to build an entire skyscraper city on a small island. What came of it – I tell in the review.

  • Developer: Remob
  • Publisher: Next in Game, IndieArk
  • Release Date (Early Access): June 2, 2023

In Pile Up! there is no plot, and at the time of early access, you can only try out two modes (standard and sandbox) and build up two unique islands.

Before starting construction, we are offered to choose a name for the future city, as well as figure out how the local residents will be called. A nice little thing that allows us to imagine that we are creating our own city or something fictional from our imagination.

Building process in Pile Up! simplified and similar to a puzzle, and the gameplay itself is turn-based – the game will end when the population grows to 5000 people. Or if there is a riot – even though the developers position the title as “relaxing”, you can also lose.

At first, we see only an empty square arena – the basis for the future skyscraper. It will have to place various buildings, presented in the form of cards. In one turn, you can place a certain number of buildings, after which a new day begins.

The buildings are diverse – there are multi-storey buildings and very tiny dwellings, casinos, schools, prisons and many others. In general, they can be divided into non-production and production – the latter include factories, gas boilers, power plants, and the like.

Buildings can and should be placed on top of each other, and you do not need to worry about the space between them, stairs, and at least some logic in the construction. The casual construction process allows you to build both neat skyscraper cities and chaotic megacities as if from dystopian works.

There are only two main indicators in the strategy – the population and the level of happiness. The first, as mentioned, is needed to achieve the goal of the game, and the second will not allow you to do this so easily. Residential buildings attract new settlers, but they have a need for water, electricity, gas and nature (it is enough to build a park here). If the number of unfortunate residents exceeds the happy part of the population, then the game will end in a couple of moves.

But with such rules, the game would be too simple – build yourself a skyscraper, install gas, and watch the population grow. However, the placement of industrial buildings will have to be approached with caution, since gas boilers can explode, and water tanks can break roofs. As a result, people will die, and it will be much harder to achieve the required level of happiness.

The atmosphere is disturbed only by the camera, the control of which turned out to be wildly inconvenient. So much so that I was not able to go through this stage in the tutorial due to a bug, and in normal mode I had to do a lot of mouse manipulations to set up the desired view. Camera in Pile Up! plays an important role, but so far this is the weakest point of the title.

Behind the guise of Remoob developers is a group of Turkish high school students who just love games – so they can be forgiven for translation flaws. They are not averse to chatting with the community on Discord and getting feedback from the players there – it’s nice that the guys are burning with the project and intend to develop it.

Pile up! looks ambitious, but in early access it is unlikely to attract a large audience – so far there is little content in the game, the camera needs to be improved, and the program code often skips in translation.

However, there are more advantages. The game skillfully combines strategy with a puzzle, there is a global progression, the gameplay is clear and simple, the number of buildings at the current stage is impressive, and watching the nice animation and how our city grows is a pleasure that cannot be expressed through text. Recommend and hope Pile Up! gets to release.

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