REVIEW: Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition

REVIEW: Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition

A successor to the classic game Sim Tower has appeared. Project Highrise is reaching for the skies with a much more sophisticated simulation and the Architect Edition comes with all the DLC in a single bundle.

Steam(tested): Released
Type: Single-player
Genre: Tower Building Simulator
Developer: SomaSim
Publisher: Kasedo Games
Release date: 13 Nov, 2018

The new succeeds the old

The tower simulation SimTower is an old classic stuck behind many hurdles. Unlike the more well-known genre relative Sim City, tower sims are focusing on an ecosystem within a tower. Thanks to Project Highrise we now have an easy accessible Tower simulation ready at hand without any extra hurdles to overcome. The good news is it’s great.


The game comes with three modes:

The tutorial shows you the ropes on how to build and manage the building. Learning how to turn it into profit is something you have to find out yourself.

Scenario: In here you will find 30 different challenging scenarios to finish. Each of them comes with three goals you have to reach.

Freeplay: Let your creativity flow and make your tower on your own terms. Here you can decide on difficulty, size, unlimited size and resources, advanced settings for the backdrop, random events, and the initial random state.


Proper planning is the secret to success

The tenants
Though you can just jump in and try your luck, it is recommended to properly plan your next few moves ahead of time.
Starting with floor pieces the next step is to decide what to put into the empty floors, but first and foremost is whether the access to higher levels is either by conventional stairs or elevators. The choices are plenty: Shops, Restaurants, Apartments for rentals or Hotel Rooms. The latter is rather something special and most likely needs separate planning. At later stages, you get access to additional versions for all the options, like bigger shops or rooftop restaurants. Everything is linked to higher requirements and slowly increases the complexity of your tower.

The basic needs
Nothing is simple. Every single one of them has specific needs. Depending on who you are giving the free space, you also have to keep the basic requirements or else it will be a short rent, due to not being able to operate correctly. Electricity, water, gas, phone, cable TV and HVAC, these are the bare minimum. Each one has its own stock and requires a kind of tank that provides them. When things are overloaded, you will need either more or bigger ones. Not only that, but you also need to wire them to your requested rooms by putting closets on each floor to connect to the base network.

The higher the rent, the more requirements have to be fulfilled. There are a lot of services you can offer: janitors, water bottle services, or storage rooms for shops. Shops need storage space, Apartments need trash cans and these need to be connected with its trash collection services. The higher the rental ladder you go, the more complicated it can get. One of the most important basic needs is maintenance. In the beginning, you can put up to two maintenance spaces into your tower to repair and renovate all kinds of things. You need to keep an eye on it, though, because the standard version requires manual spending.

Running costs for the upkeep
In addition to planning how to build your tower, you will also need to keep the upkeep costs in mind. Almost everything requires upkeep and that prevents you from wanton spending. When I say almost everything, I mean it. Elevators, closets for wiring, maintenance rooms, and even stairs have upkeep costs. Once you run into the red it can spiral down really fast.

Keeping your residents happy by watching their feedback
Outside of basic requirements, you will also get feedback from your residents. This helps you in deciding what to put into your tower next. Sometimes it’s a pub while other times it’s a place for dinner.

Prestige, Influence and Buzz

The Prestige is presented as a star rating. The more prestige you have, the more expensive things you can unlock. You can build it up by making your tenants happy, decorate your building with art or reach a high tenant number. By moving your mouse over the star you can keep track of your Prestige.

Influence and Buzz are generated passively through your tenants. Influence can be used to unlock things to boost your tower. Before you can use influence, you will have to build offices for each category. Influence can be used in four categories: Aesthetics, Tourism, Politics, and Operations. Each of them offers a wide arrangement of bonuses. Aesthetics unlock artwork, Politics can unlock height limits (49 maximum), Operations can optimize your maintenance crew, Tourism can unlock Casinos. Each subsequent unlock increases the influence cost. This is just a small look into its uses, as each category has six unlocks.

Buzz is something you can spend for a 24-hour bonus. There are five categories and each one has four options. Once you spend it, make sure to use it to the fullest. Just like Influence, each time Buzz is used the cost rises.

Loans and City Contracts
Loans are available at any time and it depends on you on how to use it. You can try using it to save yourself from imminent bankruptcy or fast lane your expensive plans. The amount of funds you can loan depends on your prestige. Each loan needs to be paid daily and obviously, you will pay an extra 20% once you sum up your loan payment.

City Contracts are optional missions you can take on. Most of the time they can be used as milestones that give you some extra cash and extras like Prestige or Influence. Once you take them up, you also get a little bit of money up front to kickstart your plans.

Hotel/Resort (Las Vegas expansion)

As part of an expansion DLC Project Highrise Las Vegas adds Hotel/Resort options to the game. Unlike the other DLC, it adds a different economy into the existing gameplay. Part and parcel of it are new Hotel options and even comes with it’s own Hotel Management information report that reports reviews and other things like booked rooms.

Random Events
To add a little bit to the simulator aspect. There are also a few random events happening outside of your reach. Things like a recession or boom.
I did not experience any catastrophes or disasters like earthquakes, flooding, etc. that could devastate your tower yet.

There is a lot more to write about, but this is the gist of it. In short, you are managing an economic microcosm within your buildings and there are a lot of interlinked things you will keep track of.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics are kept simple and clean. Which results in a game that should be able to run close to any system. It just works and keeps everything easy to oversee. This helps the gameplay a lot. As things can get really big. The music is rather relaxing, making you feel like the hours playing it are just melting away.

DLC and Mods

As mentioned in the beginning. This is the full and complete package with all the DLC. The DLC is already integrated into the gameplay and is effective in all scenarios, even the old ones. Those who want to look outside of the basic offerings can take a look at mods. The game specifically has Mod support making things easier for the user.


Project Highrise Architects Edition is a great successor to the classic SimTower. At this time, I see no reason why anybody shouldn’t take a look at it. It’s also a great entry point into the sim genre. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and even gives you a cheat option in freeplay to let you do whatever you want. There are quite a few scenarios to go through that should last quite some time. If that’s not enough, you can add more value to it by using mods from the community. For the PC Version, I’m giving it an Autosave for the lower price point and mods adding even more value. In regards to the console versions I begrudgingly have to give it a Save in comparison to the better PC price and options.

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December 2018

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