Dystopika Turns Cyberpunk City Building Into A Neon-Soaked Distraction

My latest dystraction.

As someone who revels in the creativity and sense of power afforded by city-building sims but doesn’t particularly care for the immense planning and management that goes into actually succeeding in those games, the recent trend of “micro” building games – games that hand players a very narrow set of tools and boundaries with which to peacefully erect visually-pleasing creations – was absolutely made for me.

Coming in fresh to this family of games and joining the likes of Summerhouse, Townscaper, Cloud Gardens, Tiny Glade and Dorfromantik, is Dystopika.


If you’ve ever looked at or played the other examples I just listed and thought, “I wish this was more like Blade Runner,” you’re in luck. Dystopika gives players a small handful of options to freely build a dark and dystopian future city in just a few clicks, with no real goal and no management-type mechanics to worry about. Just click an empty section of the map, watch a city block pop up, chuck some LED billboards up and then start snapping those wonderful screenshots.

More toy than game, Dystopika makes for a wonderful distraction after a day at the desk. It maybe won’t serve anyone looking for a deep creative experience as much as it isn’t designed with “gameplay” in mind, but for very quickly (and often accidentally) generating gorgeous-looking scenes to fly through like you’re cutting b-roll for a Cyberpunk 2077 trailer, it’s wonderful. 


There is some degree of control over how everything comes together – you can manually select the district-type theme of the blocks you’re placing, and you can even import your own images for the LED signage you place up on skyscrapers, but the whole thing works best when you leave as much as possible up to chance. The best dark, dystopian cities feel like layers built haphazardly on top of layers, with clashes of culture and sensibility at every corner, and that rings true here.

The more you play around with Dystopika, the more added embellishments you’ll unlock, as well. So you can begin to really hone in, use the brush-like tool to paint lights onto your city, add holograms and other neat bits, and get super creative with the very generous suite of photo mode tools and options if you want to make stuff worthy of sharing. Developer Voids Within is promising a lot more to come for the game in future updates, so it’ll be interesting to see how the whole thing involves.


Me, though? I’ll keep on ending the work day by smashing out the most poorly-planned, chaotic, dingy, dirty and garishly-lite cities imaginable and then filling them with metres-high electronic signage featuring photos of my cats.

You can get Dystopika right now on Steam, for less than $10 AUD if you pick it up before July 6th.