980d1cbeb021975d5f841f3c70ed40ff-650-80The latest expansion to Cities: Skylines–a world building sim in the style of classic Sim City games–brings all of the unique challenges of winter weather to the desktops of virtual mayors. Nearly every conceivable snow-related issue has been packed in here except for irate residents furious about snowplows blocking in their driveways. As a real mayor in a Canadian city who deals with this sort of thing for a good four months every year, I’m not complaining.2016-02-19_00004With all that said, there are some limitations here. The biggest issue for me is that Snowfall is pretty much an all-or-nothing proposition. Virtually all of the new winter features are confined to the three new maps: Snowy Coast, Icy Islands, and Frosty Rivers. Each map is all winter, all the time, with so much icy precipitation that you might as well be stuck inside a snow globe. That certainly underlines the wintry focus of this add-on, but it also makes everything a tad simplistic. Progression through the seasons would have been a nice touch, as would the option to play around with the intensity of the winter weather. As it is, you’re either tackling Old Man Winter 24/7 or you’re off to the original game in a map with green grass and sunshine.3023921-0001The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful! At least I hope the fire is delightful—the fire in this case being a burning furniture factory—because that’s the only way my poor citizens are going to stay warm since the power has gone out in the entire city. It’s not the snow causing the problem, mind you, it’s the cold. In Snowfall, the new expansion for Cities: Skylines, snow may slow down traffic on unplowed streets, but cold is the real killer. When the temperature drops, your chilly citizens crank up the heat in their high rises and townhouses, sucking the juice from your overworked power plants.tải xuốngBack in September, the After Dark expansion added the tourism specialization and changes to day and nighttime traffic, yet I never felt much of an impact on how I played. Snowfall, on the other hand, almost immediately affects how I build, grow, and manage my city. For the first time since I deleted a hydroelectric dam and watched in horror as an entire residential zone was flooded in sixty feet of water, I was in a panic. Half the city was sucking up the juice to heat their homes, the other half were freezing, and my power plants were low on oil due to trucks being unable to reach them, thanks to my unsolved traffic problems. I enjoy Skylines immensely, but it’s never felt like much of a challenge. Now, when it comes to power management on winter maps, it does feel considerably trickier.tải xuống (2)Both features add complexity to city planning, but not much in the way of difficulty. I endured life without snow removal for a while at the start of my first game as I couldn’t find it in the interface (it’s obscured in the roads menu instead of tucked in where it should be alongside other public works features like the landfill site), and the impact on my streets wasn’t noticeable. Maybe some cars were slipping and sliding, but if so, nobody complained about it. I didn’t pick up on any problems with transit, people getting to and from work, or even old people slipping and falling on the snow and ice that was clearly building up on the roads and sidewalks. A snowflake icon even tells you when it’s time to call out the plows.snowfallplantSetting up a heating system was a snap. I have to admit I was expecting more of a challenge here, especially given how heating demands more electrical use at the start of a map. But the boilers and geothermal systems were unlocked when I hit just 2,000 residents, so that a strain on my electrical grid was never a problem. Adding in the possibility of a winter disaster, like a city-crippling blizzard or a freezing-rain storm that brought down power for an extended period of time, would have made heating homes and businesses a lot tougher. An opportunity missed.tải xuống (1)This new temperature feature is added to all your cities and maps, though will be far more drastic in the winter-themed maps where the temperatures really dip. Less of a big deal is the actual snow. It’s certainly pretty, and it’ll cover your roads and slow traffic even more than than the line of donut trucks you’ve got inching their way through town. It’s not much of a hindrance, though, and adding a few ‘snow dump’ buildings produces a fleet of snowplows that race around clearing roads for you. It’s a bummer that snow only occurs on winter-themed maps, and that winter-themed maps are eternally winter, though. I would have much preferred a true, yearly seasonal cycle that could be applied to all the maps. Modders: I’ll give you two weeks to make that happen.imagesThere are lots of new winter-themed parks and buildings available: hockey rinks and stadiums, ski resorts and winter-themed hotels, and a new health building, the sauna, which citizens seem excited about sitting in next to their naked and sweaty neighbors. The best addition are the trams, long desired by fans. Plop down a tram building, upgrade roads in your city with ones that have electrical cables running over them, then plan your routes just as you do for your bus lines. (I didn’t know why people wanted trams so badly, but now that I have them, I completely love them.) Even if you don’t buy the expansion, you get some free stuff with the update, like rain and fog, UI improvements, the temperature system, and number of tweaks and fixes.images (2)With Snowfall, Skylines is beginning to feel a touch closer the complex simulation many have wanted. I wouldn’t say it’s a complete game-changer, but it does add a few more frosty layers to your management challenges and options when it comes to power, and it makes having smooth traffic even more important for resource deliveries. Plus, there’s something about a city at night, blanketed in snow, that warms the heart. Even if your citizens are freezing.cities-skylines-snowfall-review-pc-500586-20

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