Townscaper Review

Screenshot of a town at sunset in Townscaper
Hey, big guy... sun's getting real low

Quick Info
Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
Developer: Oskar Stålberg
Publisher: Raw Fury
Release Date: 27 Aug 2021
Time played: ~3 hours

Fun for the whole family

Townscaper is a casual city builder or, as its Swedish developer Oskar Stålberg likes to describe it, a "procedural town building toy", that is now available on a multitude of platforms, including mobile. Like SimCity there's no real goal here except to build a town that you find visually appealing, although unlike SimCity, you don't need to worry about fiddling around with taxes to fund your endeavour nor do you need to worry about providing services: in Townscaper it's purely about the aesthetics and letting your imagination run wild.

The game was actually purchased as a gift for my daughter since I wanted a family-friendly game that she could play that wasn't too hard to pick up and was also one that fostered creativity. Ultimately, I think Townscaper ticks all these boxes and not only did her (9) and her younger 5 year-old sister enjoy the game, but I did too.

In Townscaper you start off with the ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see. By clicking on the ocean, you'll be able to place a small cobblestone island. Clicking on this island will place a house and if you click on the house, you'll add an extra storey to it. Clicking next to the island will expand its size and similarly, clicking next to an existing house will increase the size of the house. Besides being able to change the colour of the houses, that's pretty much the game in the nutshell.

Another neat aspect of the game is that it has full controller support (it worked fine on my Logitech F710s) and you're able to play the game on the Steam Link meaning you can have a go at it on the big screen.

Screenshot of a purple stilt town in Townscaper
Young kids can let their creativity run wild

A game made for screenshots

While the game employs a simple, cel-shaded aesthetic, you can build beautiful islands in this game and are encouraged to set the scene for that perfect screenshot to share with on your favourite social media platform. The game comes with tools where you can set what time of the day it is and the angle sunlight falls on your town.

Also depending on how you place houses in your town you will be treated to little pleasant surprises akin to easter eggs. For example, walling up an area using houses will cause grassy fields or backyards to fill up the space. Playing around with colours will also have an effect such as placing a red and white tower out in the middle of the ocean: this will usually result in the tower being transformed into a lighthouse.

Screenshot of aerial view of town in Townscaper
You can build whatever you feel like. This island has a lighthouse, docks and a church

No challenge

The game is great for young kids or those wanting something to tinker away at to relax, a bit like colouring or painting, but for those seeking a challenge, you're obviously going to be disappointed. And that's the thing. After I played the game several times, I felt like I could do all I wanted to do with it and thought it was time to move on to something else. I didn't feel much of an urge to come back and play the game again.


Townscaper is a creative toy for young kids or a calming distraction for others wanting to relax by building colourful island towns on a serene ocean. The game comes with tools that allows you to create the perfect screenshot by allowing you to set the time of day and angle of the sun.

The only criticism of this game (if you can even call it that) is more of a warning: don't purchase this game expecting it to be a challenge. Townscaper is a casual game in the purest sense of the word: the only thing holding you back is your imagination.

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